Final Destination Review

by Lars Lindahl (sidspaced AT aol DOT com)
March 19th, 2000

Review by Lars Lindahl

Final Destination (2000)

Grade: ***1/2 (out of four)

Starring Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, Seann William Scott, and Tony Todd.

Directed by James Wong
Written by Glen Morgan, Jeffrey Reddick, and James Wong

Even if I did not know that director and co-writers James Wong and Jeffrey Reddick of the creepy Final Destination helped create the hit television show The X-Files, I would have inevitably made a connection. The similarities are very apparent from the inexplicable phenomenon- like plot, to the mysterious characters, to the overall dark, ominous settings. It would have been perfectly fitting to see FBI Agents Mulder and Scully investigate this case, they witness stuff like this on a weekly basis (in fact Mulder and Scully would have been a much more welcome change to the bland one dimensional FBI agents seen in this movie). Another more important similarity, is that both succeed in entertaining and thrilling at the same time. This is a great accomplishment for a teen horror movie, especially when compared to some of the trash, of the same genre, released in the last couple of years (Urban Legend and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer are classic examples from the bunch).

What helps Final Destination is its unique premise. Unlike your average horror flick in which some invincible psycho with a knife chases blonde cheerleaders, the villain presented is unusual, it's the Grim Reaper. This being already has predestined when and how you will die. According to the brief history lesson given in this film, everyone was meant to die at a certain time, some people at 100, others at 17, whatever Death chooses. What is unique about Death is that it's already dead, so you can't really kill it. The only way to defeat Death is to cheat it; the question is how do you do that? This dilemma is what faces Alex and a group of teenagers. Alex has been having some dreams that the airplane which will take his class on a trip to Paris will crash, leaving no survivors. Alex begins to realize that his dreams are a little too real and eventually gets himself and six others kicked off the plane right before it takes off. Shortly after, the plane does indeed crash leaving some of the seven survivors confused and others feeling immortal. However, Death isn't through with them yet. It gradually kills off the seven one by one, leaving those currently still alive frantically trying to trick Death again.

The plot allows for some of the most creative, original death scenes I have seen in a while. Some scenes build up the perfect amount of tension until an elaborate climax, others are so unexpected they will leave your jaw wide open in shock. Creativity and originality are two adjectives lacking in most horror films nowadays but Final Destination is not like most horror films. Sure, it has your traditional share of jerks and outsiders (Ali Larter's character is particularly annoying), but the shocks, from the beginning to the end, are extremely entertaining. Also director Wong has the sense not to take the movie too seriously. He knows its just another entertaining guilty pleasure that won't win any Academy Awards (not even a Golden Globe). The myriad of inside jokes and gags (the characters are named after famous horror directors, one character who plays a jerk is named Carter, like X-Files creator Chris Carter, and a song by John Denver, who died in a plane crash, plays whenever Death is near) show this movie is a bunch of guys having a good time making a movie. And from this, I had a great time watching the movie.

Lars Attacks!
A teenager attacks a movie every week.

2000 Lars Lindahl

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