I suppose I should preface this review with my feelings for the preceding three Final Destination films. I thoroughly enjoyed Final Destination 1. I’m more into scary movies than gory movies, but I found the intricate death scenes really entertaining. To be honest I can’t remember if the sequels were as good as Final Destination 1, but I remember watching them, making it through the entire films, and not hating them. So, when I saw the preview for the new Final Destination – THE Final Destination – and in 3-D no less – I decided I had to see it in the theatre.
I’m not going to beat around the bush. I was pretty disappointed with the “final” installation in the Final Destination series. First of all, the filmmakers chose to preface the movie’s title with THE, insinuating that it was going to be the be-all-end-all of the Final Destination series. In other words, I was expecting the best. I know, I set myself up for disappointment, right?
The film started with – as is the case with all the Final Destination flicks – a big, bloody orgy of death. No, no one was having sex at that point, but orgy just seems like the right word… sorry if I got your hopes up. Nick O’Bannon, played by Bobby Campo, is sitting at a race track with his girlfriend, Lori (Shantel VanSanten), and their two friends: the Zack Morrisesque Hunt (Nick Zano) and his ex girlfriend/Lori’s best friend, Janet (Haley Webb). While watching the cars race around the track, Nick has a premonition of a horrible crash that leads to an explosion and the entire track – bleachers and all – crashing down on the audience. When he awakens from this premonition to find that the events in his vision are all happening just as he saw them, Nick throws a hissy fit and manages to get his friends and several other people out of the track just before the fatal crash occurs.
Nick and his pals are all happy to be alive – albeit a bit weirded out by Nick’s sudden onset of ESP. They think nothing more of it until one by one, the people who should have died in the crash start dying in seemingly freak accidents. Nick realizes that his nightmarish, fragmented dreams are showing him how these people are going to die.
While some of the deaths in this movie are pretty entertaining – my favorite being that of a Nazi tow truck driver early in the film – all in all, they are fairly tame compared with the previous Final Destination films. The Final Destination’s 18A rating had me thinking I was in for deaths to end all deaths and gore galore, when really I suspect it was just for the increased boob shots and one mildly graphic sex scene.
It seems silly to comment on the acting for a movie like The Final Destination, but I figure to round out my review I should probably note it. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with any of the actors. I don’t go into horror movies expecting to see the actors rival Meryl Streep or Jack Nicholson. So that said, the acting was sufficient for the film; no one stood out to me as excellent or annoying.
The effects were good enough. I personally found the 3-D a bit disorienting at times. Sometimes the images would be a bit blurry to me, especially when the camera panned over a lot of people. I’m no film tekkie, but the way a lot of the shots were arranged seemed as if the filmmakers were using a telephoto lens. I often could only really see what was up close clearly, with the background slightly blurred. I also wear glasses now and then though so who knows, maybe the movie is fine and I need to get my eyes checked! The gore was fine, with some neat entrails and body parts flapping about – and of course the blood would splash out at the audience in 3-D at times. There was one effect, however, that I didn’t find as interesting as I’m guessing I should have. The filmmakers seemed to think that it would be neat to switch to a skeleton/X-ray view during some of the deaths instead of showing the victims dying a la flesh. I suppose it could have been interesting if these scenes were more creatively composed. Unfortunately, the scenes sort of just looked like basic blueprints depicting skeletons being hit by various objects. Maybe it was part of the film’s message – that Death has a plan (blueprints), and no matter how you try to avoid that plan, ultimately Death will overcome you. I’d like to think the filmmakers put that much thought into it.
So I guess to sum it all up, my recommendation is not to bother watching this movie. If you feel like watching a Final Destination flick, rewatch the first one, and feel happy that you didn’t waste $15 and an hour and 20 minutes of your time. If you are stubborn like me and insist on watching The Final Destination, you’re probably best off watching it in the theatre. My experience with 3-D on DVD – even with the new purple and green glasses (as included with the new My Bloody Valentine) – is that it’s still not perfect, and it’s much less fun to watch than the theatre 3-D.
Sidenote: I looked up the director of the film, David R. Ellis, on IMDB, on a hunch that he didn’t have much directorial experience (PS I was right). What Mr. Ellis does have, however, is a tonne of stunt experience – as a stunt person and a stunt co-ordinator. I’m really only noting this for Rovin, who will love that the man was in Gleaming the Cube.