Today I popped in the next to last of the Final Destination series The Final Destination just for fun. This prompted my retrospective of the Final Destination series.
These movies are just plain fun. At the time this series of movies came out they were unique in that they had a killer that was unseen and that killer was good old death. This movie relies heavily on themes of, premonition, fate and predestination in regards to death. This was a fresh and interesting idea in horror. They also have the best opening scenes in any horror movie I have seen in recent memory.
Final Destination (2000)
A group of kids are going on their senior trip to France when Alex has a premonition that something awful is about to happen. In his minds eye he sees the plane, flight 180, explode and his friends die. He wakes up and see’s the events beginning to unfold in reality he freaks out and demands to be let off the plane. He is forced off the plane with the friends that are forced to go with him. They friends turn to watch the plane explode before their eyes. Tod dies by hanging and the friends begin to figure out that they were supposed to die on the plane . They learn from Bludworth (played by the amazing Tony Todd) that they have cheated death and death will be back for them, somewhere, somehow and in their original intended order. This is proven when they meet their deaths one by one with the exception of Alex Browning and Clear Rivers.
I love this installment of the series because it sets up the rules for the series and introduces us to the theory of cheating death. This also, at the time, struck me as some of the most original death scenes I have ever seen. Each death scene has one or more red herring moments that mislead you as to the route of death for each person. Sometimes it’s just subtle hints as to what is going to happen.
Favorite death: Billy Getting decapitated after attempting to kill himself by driving his car onto the railroad tracks.
Final Destination 2 (2003)
This is my favorite movie of the series because it has the best opening seen in a horror movie I have ever seen. This movie occurs on the anniversary date of the explosion of flight 180. Kim the protagonist has a premonition of a pile up on Route 23 in New York, that kills everyone involved. This is an amazing sequence that we get to see twice as the premonition and in “reality” With the other survivors of the disaster; she teams up with Clear Waters, who self committed to a mental institution to help this group of survivors escape deaths plan.
In this film they are warned by Bludworth that only “new life” can break the pattern and defeat death. So they concentrate on saving a pregnant survivor, Isabella only to be taken out one by one by death. It is later revealed that Isabella was not meant to die so Kim drowns herself and gets resuscitated to be “the new life” that is needed to defeat death. The final scene lets us see that deaths plan is still in action when a young boy is blown to pieces from a BBQ explosion. Thus, opening the door for another sequel and giving you an eerie feeling that you take with you after the film is over.
Favorite death: Kat and the PVC pipe.
Final Destination 3 (2006)
This film begins in an amusement park with a group of kids on a rollercoaster. Wendy our protagonist and her friends Kevin, Jason, and Carrie board the Devils Flight rollercoaster only to have a premonition that something will go horribly wrong and they will all die. Wendy panics and gets off the coaster with some other friends. Of course the survivors learn of the flight 180 and what happened to it’s survivors Ian has the idea that if the person who is destined to die last commits suicide deaths plan will be broken. But we all know what happens when you assume the plan is broken. It never is.
Favorite Death: Ashley and Ashlyn burning alive in their tanning beds. I can’t hear that song Rollercoaster without thinking of this scene.
The Final Destination (2009)
This film should be the greatest nightmare of NASCAR fans everywhere. Nine years after the explosion of Flight 180, Nick O’Bannon, our protagonist, has a premonition in which multiple race cars will pile-up at the McKinley Speedway and watches his friends and fellow race goers die. This is a particularly gruesome opening scene. Before this can become a reality he persuades his friends, Lori, Janet, Hunt, security guard George and other racegoers, Jonathan, Andy, Samantha , Carter and Nadia. He of course, learns of the previous films disasters and realizes that death is coming for him and his friends. The other survivors are killed in a series of bizarre accidents except Janet, who is rescued just moments before her death due to Nick’s visions. (she is nearly killed in an automated car wash.) This leads other survivors to believe they have beaten by Death until Nick has another premonition of a disastrous explosion at a shopping mall where he eventually rescues Lori and Janet. They are killed by a semi truck coming through the window of a café where they are discussing the fact that maybe they haven’t beaten death.
This is the first of the series to be presented in 3-D
Favorite Death: Lori’s annihilation by the escalator.
Final Destination 5 (2011)
In this installment of the series our protagonist Sam, has a premonition that the bridge will collapse, killing everyone and himself. It of course, happens in reality killing those who chose not to get off the bridge with Sam. Later at a memorial service, Bludworth warns the surviviors that they have cheated death. This group ignores his warning. He also later tells the remaining survivors that if they wish to cheat Death, they must kill someone who was never meant to die on the bridge, and thereby claim their remaining lifespan.
This movie eventually comes full circle and acts like a prequel to the first final destination film when Sam and Molly board a plane for Paris (flight 180) and are killed when the plane explodes.
Favorite Death: Candice’s Gymnastics accident.