"A Fun Trip For Those Who Appreciate Quality Kills"
Take a great idea for a Twilight Zone episode, stretch it to 90 minutes, throw in the requisite gore and you've got Final Destination, a surprisingly fun entry in the genre where teenagers get picked off one by one by a formidable foe.In this latest attempt to inject some life into what has become a boring series of films, the enemy is none other than Death itself. Death doesn't like it much when you turn his master plan into a Rubik's Cube and that's exactly what (Devon Sawa) and members of his French class do when he has a terrifying vision of their plane exploding upon takeoff. Final Destination joins a number of films (Alive, Fearless, Fight Club) that skillfully ply their trade into convincingly portraying what its like to be a passenger during those final moments of an air disaster. This film goes one better in slowly bringing its hero to the realization of his vision. Little signs and coincidences pop up all around him leading up to scaring five of his fellow passengers to safety in the culmination of a great sequence. Right here the film could have stepped drastically wrong and had the survivors stalked by a cloaked figure with a sickle - but Death never shows itself. One of my complaints with the dead teenager genre lately is that the death scenes were becoming increasingly ordinary. Seemingly gone were the days of the "quality kill" when someone got butchered in an interesting and complex way. And while a statement like that may seem insensitive to some in the times we live in, let me remind those that we never go to movies like this for a reality trip. So back to the mayhem. A quality kill, for those unfamiliar, is one that is gory, but original. The kind of moment where you're shocked for a second but then smile and laugh at what the filmmakers managed to pull off. Every death in Final Destination is a quality kill so complex and brilliant, reminiscent of Tom's elaborate trap to catch Jerry or even the board game Mouse Trap itself. And you'll be laughing that good horror laugh with every subsequent pick-off and the way Death uses every trick in his book, especially in the final 15 minutes which generate an incredible amount of excitement if you've been along for the ride the whole way. Sure, Final Destination isn't a perfect film. It isn't even a great film. You have to wonder why more of the survivors aren't more thankful to the hero for saving their lives instead of just dubbing him a freak or why Carter is such a jerk to everyone or why the scene in the morgue has to be so overwritten and overacted by Tony Todd (Candyman, himself).This is a fun horror movie for those who enjoy actors being taken out one-by-one like last year's Deep Blue Sea and Lake Placid. It's not as witty as the Scream films but not nearly as moronic as Urban Legend or the Jennifer Love Hewitt ripoffs. And it's nice to have a crooked little smile on your face as you watch a film like this and realize it's because you're having a good time. (Note: Homages are abound here as the French teacher is named Valerie Lewton a.k.a. Val Lewton a.k.a. classic horror producer. The hero's last name is also Browning while his best friend is named Tod a.k.a. Tod Browning the director of Freaks and 1931's Dracula.)