When did audiences stop caring about life and start cheering on merciless, unnecessary death? I didn’t realize this was the case until I sat through “The Final Destination.” In 3D. And felt myself cheering too.
Maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that we were all cheering. After all, what sympathy could be felt for the characters? Not one felt the least bit developed. Well, maybe a little bit. The most I could say is that Nick (Bobby Campo) goes to a race car event with his friends. There, he has premonitions of a disaster in the stadium causing brutal death. Him and his friends, along with a few others, narrowly escape the carnage. They have cheated death. This sets off a chain of events that leads to each of them being killed off in the most unpleasant ways imaginable. Oh, and Nick also has a friend named Hunt (Nick Zano) who’s kind of a tool. I don’t remember any other of the characters’ names. And I don’t really care.
The actors certainly don’t help bring sympathy to the characters. Their dull and lifeless delivery bring nothing to the script; not that there’s anything good to the script. The dialogue is nothing but a series of platitudes and cliches. At one point, one character actually says “you only live once” and tries to pass it off as original, moving, and insightful. Of course, it is none of these things.
The film’s director, David R. Ellis, has a strange resume that includes “Final Destination II,” “Snakes on a Plane,” and “Homeward Bound II.” In directing “The Final Destination” he breaks the rule that makes a horror film great: waiting. Don’t try to hit your audience with so much in so little time, you have to let the characters grow. You have to let the fear grow. That’s what makes horror films like “Psycho,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “Carrie” so effective: they grow on you. And then, suddenly, they give you and incredible jolt out of the dark.
The debate “The Final Destination” covers is one that has been argued for centuries on and off the screen: fate vs. freewill. Can you cheat death? And if so, will death find you again? “The Final Destination” obviously leans towards the latter. However, it seems to believe that spilling blood and guts is an effective way to prove a point. Believe me, it’s not. If you’d like to see this topic discussed much more eloquently, watch an episode of “Lost” or read “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
Now, most of you wanting to see this movie aren’t looking for a sophisticated debate; you’re looking for escapism. Well, you won’t find it here. Escapism is enjoying a film that provides a sort of world you know can’t exist, but for a limited amount of time, you’ll believe it does anyway. The kind of escapism “The Final Destination” provides is the kind where you can laugh at the ridiculousness of the film. But this is not enjoyment. For real escapism, go see “Inglourious Basterds” instead.
I will admit, this is only the first “Final Destination” movie I’ve seen. I felt confused at first, so my friend explained the premise of the other three to me. The premise was the exact same for each movie, and he seemed to have a good feeling that this installment would go the same way. I doubted him for a second, thinking nobody could possibly carry out the same idea and get away with it three times. He was right.
Note: Don’t let the title fool you. Even though it’s called “The Final Destination,” the film is truly “Final Destination 4.” This just marks a weird trend where studios try to wipe out a franchise history by leaving out the number of the film (ex: Fast & Furious, Rambo). Sorry guys, it isn’t working.