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  Final Destination 2 Avoid The Void
Year: 2003
Director: David R. Ellis
Stars: A.J. Cook, Thomas Landes, David Paetkau, James Kirk, Lynda Boyd, Keegan Connor Tracy, Jonathan Cherry, Terrence 'T.C.' Carson, Justina Machado, Tony Todd, Sarah Carter, Alejandro Rae, Shaun Sipos, Andrew Airlie, Noel Fisher, Fred Henderson
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A few months ago, there was a horrific aeroplane crash where a jet liner exploded on take-off, killing all those onboard. But a strange conspiracy theory has arisen about this incident, for one of the passengers had a premonition of the accident, and he and his friends who he persuaded to leave the plane before this occurred survived - just not for long. It was as if they were soon picked off one by one by freak incidents that saw to it they died after all, and the theorists believe death itself is reclaiming them in revenge for being cheated. For Kimberly (A.J. Cook), this is simply a story on the news, and nothing to do with her... but then there is her holiday trip with her friends.

Final Destination was one of those hits that succeeded out of a premise that seemed fresh for the horror genre, something that is always on the lookout for new ideas which it will then cannibalise until audiences are thoroughly sick of them. Essentially, screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick took the hook of the nineteen-seventies Satanic shocker The Omen, which killed off its characters in setpiece death sequences, and applied it to the slasher movie template, where the villain was not some masked maniac but the Grim Reaper itself. The result was a franchise for New Line, the home of Freddy Krueger, just at the point when that particular baddie was seriously dwindling in popularity.

So, a new hit horror series for that studio, but for that to happen there had to be sequels, and this was the first. Despite being saddled with a ludicrous title - you can't have a second final destination, as final means it's the last, and you can't have a destination that is anything but final anyway, therefore grammarians would be horrified more by that name than by any of the kills - the fans did not care, and flocked to this entry as they did with the subsequent ones. Looking back, this second effort is generally regarded as the strongest of them all, embracing the black comedy more and concocting the most ingenious deaths, not to mention the most over the top trigger accident.

Kimberly is driving along the highway, marvelling at the bad behaviour of her fellow road users, when the ultimate consequence of this happens and a truck carrying logs sheds its load, leaving vehicles strewn across the road and smashing into one another, generating oily explosions and wiping out many of the drivers and passengers. That bad behaviour was important, as it made this carnage look as if it was brought upon them by themselves, so although the film did not come out and say it, we were supposed to think the characters deserved their elaborate fates. Kim does not, she was being sensible, which is why at the point of her demise she wakes up and realises she has just experienced a vision of not only her death, but all the other victims' too, including her boorish friends.

Thus avoiding the crash by alerting the nearest cop, Officer Burke (Thomas Landes), who also survives when he shouldn't (but we like him too), she twigs that the aeroplane incident is what is replaying here, and sets out to save not only herself but the others who should have died as well. Once again, the wagging finger of the public information film (or public service announcement if you were American) was very visible, here telling you to watch the road when you drive, don't drink and drive, don't snort coke and drive, don't do this, don't do that, because Death cannot wait to have its wicked way with you. Yet there was also a sense of "there but for the grace of God go I" for viewers, since we were all painfully aware of the perils of everyday life that we could be prey to if we were not careful. If there was a definite bad taste tone to inviting us to laugh at and relish these novelty executions, then you noted wisely that the last laugh was always going to be on you: that was the tension in these films, and why this one succeeded so well on its own terms. Music by Shirley Walker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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