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The Final Destination

The Final Destination

Alot of people may see this movie as another tired piece of a horror franchise that should have ended through straight-to-video. Perhaps it would have if DVDs were capable of transferring faithful 3D effects and director's intentions. But fortunately for us horror movie fans, The Final Destination opened in theaters last Friday and we got to see this latest installment in a new dimension.

First the bad; The film's plot is a simple rehash of the previous three films. The Grim Reaper has come to collect his victims in the order they were supposed to die at a brutal speedway pile-up that infiltrates a concrete spectator grandstand. Young cutie Nick's graphic premonition of the event encourages him to gather up his friends and head for the exits just seconds before the real tragedy occurs.

As with all FD films, the fun begins when Death tries to reclaim his rightful bodies and instead of just giving everybody a heart attack or aneurysm, he constructs elaborate devices disguised as freak accidents. Blood and gore ensues.

I was actually surprised by The Final Destination. Now most of you proper film critics out there may shrug this movie off and that might be a shame. Director David R. Ellis really pumps up the tension and suspense in this installment. He winks at the audience by utilizing the formula from the last three films to manipulate the audience. He leads you into thinking one set- up will deliver what's expected, distracting you from the real outcome which you may have figured out, but forgotten. A segment involving a stylist trimming someones bangs near the eyes, sharp scissors, a loose ceiling fan and hairspray too close to a straightening iron has Alfred Hitchcock written all over it. Seriously.

Of course it's these sort of set ups that enhanced my experience of the film. The 3D effects are used to full effect here. More work could have gone into the CGI, but overall the blood is in your lap and you will find yourself pleased and laughing after each bit. It's fun. Ellis seems to know he's not making a masterpiece here, afterall the entire film is just around 70 minutes long, but he seems to understand what the audience wants then tweaks the gimmick just enough for real movie snobs who have happened to tag along. Like the gimmicks of the 50's, there is a 3D scene involving a movie within a movie theater that really, really works.

The cast is not important. Of course they are there just to die. each member is just a caricature of the modern zeitgeist; MILF, Douche, et al.
They speak their lines like any above average horror movie twentysomething. Again, the real charm here is in the direction and the execution of suspense.

Unlike the other horror film which opened the same weekend (Halloween 2), The Final Destination was a wonderful thrill ride. I appreciate its minor B movie tongue-in-cheek brilliance, its finely executed bits of tension and surprise, its opening credits (yes you read that right) and its humorous use of 3D. Though not a journey into fine film making, The Final Destination should show that director David R. Ellis has a future in film and perhaps his next one will showcase his talents even more effectively. Of course with its opening gross, The Final Destination probably isn't so final and we'll see this formula again, hopefully it will retain the charm, wit and fun suspense that this film imbued. But, that's just wishful thinking.