Director – James Wong
Cast – Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, Daniel Roebuck, Roger Guenveur Smith, Chad Donella, Seann William Scott, Tony Todd, Amanda Detmer, Brendan Fehr
Release Year – 2000
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The Final Destination series remains one of the genre’s most well-known, but it was not until recently that I decided to give any of these films a shot. Simply put, they did not really interest me enough to warrant my watching them over other films that interested me, like 70s giallo and 80s slasher films. Nothing wrong with that right? Well, I took the plunge into this one and while it came off exactly as I expected it to be (and the reason I never wanted to see it), a teeny horror film with numerous cliches, Final Destination gave me a cool story that I had never before seen used in the genre, and despite its cliches made for a mostly-positive and enjoyable watch.
Devon Sawa(Idle Hands) stars as Alex Browning, a young high school student whose life is turned upside down when moments before his senior trip is set to embark he has a vision of the plane crashing, and after he and his friends are removed from the airplane the plane crashes. Horrified and feeling lucky to be alive, Alex and his friends have now found themselves in death’s cross-hairs as they try and outrun the fate they just dodged.
I had yet to see a film use fate and death in such a way, so I really found joy in this storyline overall. The idea of a group of young teens cheating death and having death chase them down to finish what it planned was great, and in a sense it adds a bit of creepy reality to the mix because there are many of us who have cheated death one way or another, and in some cases without even knowing about it. The majority of the story follows our numerous protagonists as they try desperately to stay alive and one step ahead of death’s deadly plans, which include many creative kill sequences that left me applauding writers Glen Morgan, James Wong, and Jeffrey Reddick for entertaining me with such unique and gory kill sequences. The kills made for the most of the film’s entertainment, and made me aware that when death gets pissed it gets PISSED, and that you might as well take what it offers you, or suffer even more dire consequences. Actually, on second thought, make death work for it, because death is an arsehole. Anywho, while the story gave me what I wanted to see you can expect the usual cheesy dialogue and character usage from this piece, but given I went in expecting it I did not find too much fault in it, although I would have preferred such cliches be better written in more enjoyable fashion.
Writer/director James Wong(The One, Final Destination 3) did a mostly-positive job with this one, giving us great execution of the kill sequences and keeping good tension at times. While the kill sequences suffered from some measly CGI at times, it was expected given how complex the kills were, so I was forgiving of Wong on that. What I did not like regarding Wong’s execution was his execution of the characters, which was about as cliché as they can get. Sure the acting performances were at least average, but in combination with the cheesy dialogue you can expect to come across the usual cliched Hollywood performances that most of us despise, and that was me in this case. Don’t get me wrong though, Wong did enough to make for a mostly enjoyable effort despite its numerous flaws, although much of that lies in the numerous favorable kill sequences he delivered.
Overall, Final Destination is the usual cheesy teen horror flick that for once gives us a pretty unique storyline that kept me engaged throughout. The film’s writers kept things interesting with numerous developments and lots of kill sequences, and Wong delivered said elements in mostly-positive fashion, making for a flawed but enjoyable experience that kick-started one of horror’s most recent prominent series.