Director – David R. Ellis
Cast – A.J. Cook, Michael Landes, Ali Larter, Jonathan Cherry, Keegan Connor Tracy, Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson, Lynda Boyd, James Kirk, David Paetkau, Justina Machado, Sarah Carter, Alejandro Rae, Shaun Sipos, Andrew Airlie
Release Year – 2003
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Well, after the success of Final Destination it was no surprise to horror fans that a sequel appeared a few years later, and much to my surprise this one outdid the first. While still flawed in its own ways the teen element was mostly abandoned and the kill sequences were upped in terror and gore, making for a positive sequel that no one expected to shine.
Kimberly Corman(A.J. Cook; Ripper, Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, The Virgin Suicides) is set to have the time of her life when she embarks on a roadtrip with three of her friends, but suffers a premonition involving a traumatic accident and manages to save the lives of the many motorists around her. Little does she know, her and the fellow motorists’ lives are not safe as they have each cheated death, and must now pay in violent fashion until they figure out a way to stop death’s vengeful hunt.
It is not often that a sequel outdoes the original, but I was glad to see that this effort improved on the faults of the first. While I mostly enjoyed the first, I found fault in its teen feel and unfavorable cheese, but as mentioned earlier most of that was abandoned here and a more serious effort was given, and it worked. The story continues much in the same fashion as the original, this time giving us a new scenario and a plethora of new characters, with a few additional elements thrown into the mix that made for an interesting take on the death/fate phenomena. Pacing-wise this story is a winner as I never once found myself bored or un-entertained in this 89 minute watch as our two writers kept things tight and threw in plenty of developments along the way to keep things interesting – which was of course aided by the numerous kills thrown into this piece. As with the first film, it was fun watching our protagonists try and avoid the impending doom they knew would eventually catch up to them, and we were once again exposed to awesome and complex kill sequences that were upped in brutality – definitely the biggest selling point for this piece. I did enjoy seeing new ideas thrown into this piece regarding how to stop death’s plan for the survivors, which came with quite a few tension-filled developments and ultimately threw us for a loop towards the end of the film, which consisted of another classic climax that you should have known was coming.
Director David R. Ellis(The Final Destination, Shark Night 3D, Snakes on a Plane) did a great job with this piece, and was the biggest reason behind the more “serious” feel of this sequel. Gone were the cheesy performances, and instead we were given real performances from much lesser-known actors, complimented with positive execution of the numerous tension-filled scenes we were given, especially the kills. I was very pleased with Ellis’ direction of the kill sequences, which were of very full-frontal variety and came with plenty of live-action gore to please us gorehounds. There were definitely moments where the viewer should feel shocked at what just happened before them, and that made for much of my enjoyment of this piece. My only balk against Ellis’ direction was his execution of the premonitions that Kimberly would suffer from, as they were a bit cheesy and unrealistic, but this being his only fault I can definitely forgive this guy and offer him a job well done.
Overall, Final Destination 2 is an improvement over the first in that it eliminates most of the cheesy feel and gives us more of what was great from the first – the tension and the kills. The story is the same overall template but manages to add a few unique elements to the mix, and Ellis’ direction is solid in giving us fantastic execution of the numerous gory kill sequences sure to please horror fans.