Movie News & Reviews

Gory 'Final Destination' fails in originality

Given that every other horror franchise in the history of sequelstries to take its later entries in a different direction from thefirst one, the guys running Final Destination are eitherremarkably confident in the staying power of their concept orhilariously disinterested in giving us anything new.

That's not a completely foolish instinct. Hellraiser 2 andNightmare on Elm Street 2 both tried to take their worlds to abold new frontier, and the results were so foul you don't pluck thoseDVDs out of their cases, you hose them out.

-- Times, trailer, theaters.

That's the lesson: when you take chances, you risk sucking. But atleast those abominably bad risk-taking sequels are memorablybad (even if it's in the same way you remember mistaking a spittoonfor your hat). It's been just over two days since I saw The FinalDestination, and already I can barely separate it from the threethat came before it.

At a raceway, Bobby Campo has a vision of a horrible accident thatwill kill himself and all his friends. Acting quickly, he's able tosave them and several bystanders.

But then they start dying in a new series of accidents -- in the sameorder they died in Campo's vision. To stop them all from meeting agruesome end, Campo must break the chain of fate again to stop Deathonce and for all.

If that sounds familiar, that's because The Final Destination'splot is more or less identical to the three that came before it: dudethwarts death, death comes back with a fresh new look, all of dude'sfriends get slaughtered in appalling ways by a sequence of events socomplicated I had to trick three WSU interns into working for me justto keep track of it. Most of the deaths involved machines, though, soif you want to live out the rest of the year, I'd move to one of thosepre-industrial sections of the Amazon right away. Nothing dangerousever happens there.

Well, so writer Eric Bress isn't interested in swapping up thefranchise's formula. How dare he deprive us of his imagination whenhe's carrying around the brain responsible for The ButterflyEffect! At least once you know exactly how the plot's going toplay out you can kick back and enjoy the uninteresting charactersdying in interesting ways.

The Final Destination series has always been something of aguilty pleasure for me. Despite the fact they're dumb as hell (andhell's so dumb it had to repeat the third grade), the filmmakersbehind them have always been committed to giving the audience what itwants, which in this case means people being forced bodily throughchain-link fences. The gore in The Final Destination is messyand frequent, and if it's a little crass, it's also funny andgood-spirited. Director David R. Ellis makes watching some musclyidiot get his guts sucked out his orifices every bit as grand asyou've always imagined.

I hope that's all you want, though, because its characters have lesspersonality than my carpet (I spill a lot), and though Bress and Ellistry to throw a couple curveballs into their screwed-out story, theirduh-duh attempt at an ending is more of a "we didn't care enough tocome up with anything better"-ball.

Then again, most of its 82 minutes feature either a room or a personexploding all over the place. Know that, when I attach anembarrassingly low grade to the end of this thing, the "D" secretlystands for "delightful."

Grade: D+