Every Final Destination movie is defined by its opening scene. They all start the same way. Good looking young people narrowly escape a horrific, exceptionally cinematic accident, thanks to the premonitions of one of their friends. Each accident draws on some universal fear we all have and then, filmed in obsessive detail, shows what would happen if our unrealistic fears actually came true. In the first movie it was a plane crash, in a second a hair-raising car wreck, in the third a roller coaster ride gone awry. For the fourth film, they tap into our common fear of, er, attending NASCAR events.
It’s not just that the series no longer seems to be in touch with what actually scares us that makes this latest entry such a clear notch below the guilty pleasure fun of the others. The way they’ve gone about it is simply all wrong. The Final Destination series is known for painstakingly setting up insane, unbelievable deaths which only happen when all the puzzle pieces are the right place. Once the right conditions are met then everything falls like a house of cards, with one gory demise leading to another, and another. In The Final Destination a car has a flat and the whole world blows up, for no particular reason, until everyone’s dead.
If only they’d died a little quicker. Each entry in the series has seen the cast further and further diluted. This latest bunch is the worst so far, a group of acting unknowns (as in they don’t know what acting is) who probably should have stayed that way. The movie’s lead, another one of those Jason Biggs clones the Final Destination movies seem to favor, is an illiterate vacuum salesman reading off cue cards. None of them have personalities so who really cares whether death is out to get them?
And death is of course, really out to get them. Since this bland collection of kids cheated death in the movie’s opening moments our main characters are now being hunted by the vague spirit of doom which haunts these films. They discover what’s happening because it’s in the script. At some point one of the characters mutters the words “Google” as a half-hearted justification for their knowledge of what’s going on, but there’s no effort put into understanding any of it. Maybe that’s for the best since it’s already been covered and re-covered in the previous movies, or maybe this is a good argument for why they probably shouldn’t have made another Final Destination in the first place.
Of course they made another one so they could trick it up with gimmicky 3D. Unfortunately polarized glasses and flaming two-by-fours half-heartedly hanging out over the audience add nothing to the film. Instead the only moment in the film that really gets a reaction is watching actress Shantel VanSanten hang her ass out of the screen as she walks around in her underwear. At least that’s one unexplored use for 3D. Mostly though, sitting there in 3D glasses only makes the whole thing more laughable. It’s one silly, ridiculous kill after another. If only someone, somewhere along the way had the good sense to make The Final Destination a comedy, instead of an unintentional one.