Final Destination Review

by Gary Jones (gary AT bohr DOT demon DOT co DOT uk)
July 2nd, 2000

Final Destination (6/10)

These days, teen slasher flicks are expected to be self-referential and ironic. But in a strange reversal, Final Destination seeks to defy the new convention by approaching the genre straight (although the writers couldn't resist naming characters after film-makers such as Hitchcock, Lewton, Browning and Murnau). In this return to pre-Scream horror movie making, characters just go about the traditional business of getting hacked to bits without spending half the time discussing what would happen if they were in a slasher flick.

The story has a premise that could have come straight out of The Twilight Zone. A group of high-school students is about to leave on a school trip to France. While in the aircraft on the tarmac waiting to take off, Alex (Devon Sawa) has a premonition in which the aircraft explodes after take-off. He panics and is removed from the plane, along with a few fellow students and a teacher. Sure enough, the plane explodes, and all onboard are killed. When bizarre and wickedly entertaining accidents start disposing of the survivors one by one, Alex realises that the killer is not one of those Freddie Krueger or Candyman amateurs, but is the scythe-wielding Big D himself, determined to restore natural order by dispatching those who cheated death in the aircraft.

As the film progresses, we wonder not only which member of the young cast is next going to meet his or her end, but what grisly new twist on slicing, mangling or skewering is going to be involved. Some of the deaths are ludicrously protracted and involve everyday objects taking on a life of their own, controlled by the unseen killer like a deadly and perversely funny game of Mousetrap. Just to keep us on our toes, director and co-writer James Wong, who cut his teeth on the X-files, gives us one death that is shockingly abrupt.

Final Destination is a formulaic horror flick for the Saturday night popcorn crowd, with flashes of inventively gruesome fun.

Gary Jones <[email protected]>

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