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Final Destination

MovieMeditation presents...
total movie count ........... current day count
228 .......................... 247


July 19th

—— 2000 ——
—— horror ——

In death there are no accidents,
no coincidences, no mishaps, and no escapes...

The destination for this review is going to target towards the first film about those damned final fatalities, which moreover consists of five collective films, coming from the same never-dying franchise called 'Final Destination'... This film series has more or less successfully killed off people in creative ways for more than a decade, and though you may either like or dislike this franchise, you cannot deny the dominating influence or overall success it gathered within the genre – especially since it has been fairly consistent from beginning to end, with the exception of that god awful fourth entry. Looking at this franchise as a whole, it is damn impressive how it basically took the same concept and used it for five consecutive films – merely granting each of the individual stories with a tiny little twist or change of themes – as well as upping the grisly creativity of the overcomplicated coincidences used in the deathly Rube Goldberg contraptions, which of course are controlled and designed by Death himself. A conceptionally exceptional and immortal idea, with one hell of a killer concept on top of it, but is the execution merely a shadow of the exemplary set-up?

Looking at the aftermath of 'Final Destination' it did really well for itself, but obviously the film was going to make some money considering the cast and concept. Well, maybe not the cast, but more because of the fact that it looks to be a teen slasher terror type of film, which is always something that turns into a box office hit. It wasn't even a hit and run either, since it spawned countless sequels as well, though the first one was definitely dying to have more than one movie right from the start. But why is this a little out of the comfort zone of the dead cold hands of Hollywood? Well for one, the killer isn't even visible, and second, the cast was more or less stripped from big timers apart from Seann William Scott in his prime. And of course, how can one forget the legend Tony Todd in one of his best roles ever, though he unfortunately never had his entire story told. But he was a fun character in the first one, a strangely mysterious figure looking like Devil’s right hand man, and despite working death people on a daily basis he knew a little too much about plots and patterns of the underworld.

But people knew nothing about Tony Todd being in it when taking off to see this film, so what really made them head for the theatre? Well, undoubtedly, what truly had people holding their breath in the seats was to see other people lose theirs up on the screen. Those creative and nerve-wracking death scenes have basically caused the popularity of the franchise, and it is also the most interesting thing about it. The characters are passable but painfully cliché and the story is basically a death trap within itself, rolling away and crushing things from left to right without further course – except for the curse of death that drives the film and plot forward, of course. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is you don't really need further convincing; once you see that first death scene you don't have a care in the world for well-written plots or fleshed out characters - well you do want to see these characters fleshed out, but not in the typical sense of the word. Instead we are impatiently waiting to witness the next person getting impaled, burned, decapitated or whatever excellent executions Death has in his back pocket. This film is just so much fun, though we aren't cheated for slightly frightening scenarios either, even if those are never meant to be more but merely a cold chill down the spine. Because this movie is clearly about the thrills and kills and certainly it deserves the attention for delivering deathly great fun for most of its runtime!

As mentioned before, this film does have some unnerving elements to it, which works tremendously well for the atmosphere and overall experience. That said, it is clear that it wants to be more fun than fearsome, since there are many silly scenes where it plays it all for laughs or thrilling screams. It is a weird contrast though, since the opening death scene is freaking terrifying and extremely realistically executed, while seeing Alex trying to triple-safe his surroundings comes off as super silly; pretty much appearing like a spoof on itself. On the other hand, here the director has a chance to show off his skill for creating tension out of pure nothingness, making eating a can of tuna more terrifying than ever. This proves that he can create a scene with tension and has a flair for triggering fear within his audience. He can work with pretty much anything, even stuff without climax or build-up and still make it scary. So despite the lighter tone it still holds a darker core, which never fails to interfere with your mind when you think you can foreshadow Death's next step in his master plan. The fact that Death can come creeping when you are least expecting it, presented as this uncontrollable and inescapable element, which is always lurking in the shadows when the time has come - that is freaking unsettling!

Unfortunately, the film looses its tight grip on death-defying battles towards the finale of the film. Here, the movie dives into horrible heroism and laughable character decisions, which makes the movie come across as even more unbelievable than those deathly puzzles of perfection we previously saw. It seemed like the studio wanted more romance and dramatic strength, but it only ruined the set-up in my opinion. But thankfully, we are granted an epic epilogue to the film, having the story reach a surprisingly effective little send off, which shows a sign (literally) of strength from the directorial department, wanting to leave the audience with something more than the usual… This ending smashes the romantic aspect and instead finishes with something way more fitting for the franchise – a fatal finale, which comes swinging out of nowhere and makes us all hungry for more. This first ‘FD’ feature is good enough to avoid both F and D ratings in my opinion, but it is definitely cheesy and has that late nineties feel to it. But just for the concept alone, 'Final Destination' was destined to become a great success.