The Final Destination (2009)

If you’ve seen any of the Final Destination films then you’re in for literally no surprises with The Final Destination. Playing like a remake of all the other films before it, The Final Destination starts us this time at a crumbling car racetrack where a misplaced screwdriver starts off a devastating chain of events that engulfs a section of the stadium in a bloody and explosive manner. This horrific death-fest is seen in a premonition by youngster Nick (Bobby Campo), and he escapes with a smattering of other characters before everything explodes… but as anyone familiar with the series knows, those who were saved soon begin to be offed by an angry Death who desperately wants his scalps.

The Final Destination franchise has lost its spark since the first sequel and now characterisation and strong dialogue have been replaced with more ludicrous and convoluted ways to kill someone. This is its selling point, it’s gimmick, and the only reason anyone would watch this. Although no one is going into a Final Destination film hoping for a solid character-led drama, The Final Destination shaves all plot and character to make way for death upon death. Nick is utterly dull for a protagonist, as is his pretty but pointless girlfriend, and his friends Hunt and Janet are so bafflingly unlikeable it’s no wonder Nick doesn’t spend any time with them once the killing begins. The only character worthy of note is George (played adeptly by Mykelti Williamson), who you actually feel for, but sadly his torment is shoved sideways for comedy moments and ridiculous violence. Although the characters are significantly less irritating than Final Destination 3’s tweeny idiots, there are very few people you actually care for and this leaves you completely indifferent to their plight.

Despite the lack of decent character or a single original idea, the most important things in the Final Destination series are the deaths. Previous memorable examples had teenagers crushed by glass, barbed wire fences slicing stoners to pieces, bitches barbequed in sun loungers and the decapitation of Seann William Scott. The Final Destination has deaths, but none of them really have the sparkle the previous films had, and none of the films have managed to top the epic car pile-up at the beginning of Final Destination Two. The Final Destination lacks any real punch or tone – while One was fresh, Two was brutal, Three was wry and colourful, the fourth instalment only provides lots and lots of CGI blood. Although hilariously fun and occasionally nasty it does nothing new and does exactly as expected.

The Final Destination is the first in the series to use cinema’s recent fad of manically needless 3-D. In The Final Destination the addition of this new technology is barely noticeable, suffering with the need to impale as many things as possible and vomit blood at the camera. It is a pointless gimmick.

“The” Final Destination is surely a misnomer as there will undoubtedly be a fifth, but when this arrives the makers really need to start treading some new ground to keep us interested, and perhaps answer a few questions such as; where do the visions come from, why do specific people get the premonitions and others don’t, and why on earth doesn’t Death just send heart attacks after his victims instead of nail guns, exploding barrels, car washes, pebbles and ironic ambulances. Although it makes for fantastic viewing, Death does appear to be a bit of an idiot. With a Final Destination film seemingly being released every three years it means we will all have to wait until 2012 to find out any answers… as long as they don’t get in the way of all the blood, of course.

The Final Destination is an enjoyable film – swift, bloody, popcorn-chomping stuff – but it doesn’t add or subtract anything from the series. It merely happens.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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