After a premonition of disaster Alex Browning and his fellow students are thrown off a plane only to see it explode just as he predicted. But it seems no one can cheat death as the survivors are each meeting a gruesome end in freak accidents. Can Alex work out what's going on and save his dwindling group of friends?
Rich or poor, young or old we've all got one thing in common, we're all going to end up as worm food eventually. But can we evade the Grim Reaper? That's the central theme of Final Destination which eschews the usual slasher movie villain instead opting for the ultimate bad guy, death itself. What this amounts to is an enjoyably gruesome version of the board game Mousetrap as a succession of protracted mishaps befalls our accident prone protagonists. These protagonists are the usual mix of American teenage archetypes, but it's not the kind of film where audiences are really asked to care deeply about the cast. The only real actor of note is gravel voiced Tony Todd, in a creepy cameo that would probably be filled by Peter Cushing if this were a vintage British chiller.
Final Destination sticks to a familiar formula with a young hero disbelieved by clueless cops investigating mysterious deaths, and desperately trying to convince his friends before they meet their demise. But its fun and gleefully gory premise is a breath of fresh air in an overcrowded genre, and there's a devilish playfulness to the whole thing that lifts it above its rivals, right up to its cheeky finale.
What this franchise most reminds me of is those 1970s public information films where the victims' fates would be a health and safety lesson to us all. If one of the mega-PIFs like Apaches or Building Sites Bite were to be adapted into a feature, I'd imagine they'd end up like a Final Destination instalment.
24 Aug 2011
While it is often said that slasher movies stripped horror down to its barest essentials (i.e. take a bunch of kids to the woods and kill 'em), this stripped things even further. Now you don't even need a hockey-masked killer with shadowy motivations, it's just a bunch of death scenes for horror fans to revel in like Romans at a gladiatorial arena.