For those of you who remember, I was against a new Final Destination from the start, but since no one ever listens to me they went ahead a...

The Final Destination…Really?


For those of you who remember, I was against a new Final Destination from the start, but since no one ever listens to me they went ahead and released the latest film in the FD franchise anyway. That said filmmakers did what they could considering that they were following an established formula. Enjoying a day at the racetrack with his friends, Bobby gets vision of their fiery and violent deaths caused by cataclysmic crash.

Interestingly enough, this latest film follows the formula of the original more closely than any other. Bobby experiences his vision and while trying to get his friends out, causes a fight which gets his buddies as well as a larger group of people thrown out of the arena. He saves their lives but death starts coming for them one by one. The extra people who get thrown out are used by the film as “death padding,” so we can enjoy their gruesome ends before we get close to the core group of friends--the same formula at work in the first film when Devon Sawa’s freak out gets his friends and few other passengers thrown off the doomed flight.

That said, the film is really self aware and it knows it’s just the latest in a long line of sequels. As the group carouses at the race track, preppy jerk Nick tells the girls that a trip to the track is better than seeing a movie because “if these guys lose focus for just one second, you have to scrape them off the track” The girls respond with disgust at his desire for violence as part of the viewing experience. But Nick’s need to see a crash is identical to that o f the audience who has come to see TFD to watch these kids die.

As far as scares go, most of the gore is digital but TFD tries to compensate by going against the grain when it comes to the death build up in some scenes. Everyone remembers the ridiculous lengths to which death has gone to kill these teens in the past. A slippery floor, a wet electrical outlet and a faulty crane are all responsible for deaths in the franchise--pushing the limits of possibility to eliminate their victims. TFD knows this and instead of playing into the formula, they sometimes use it as misdirection.
The salon death is one example. The audience is on edge as they think they are watching the build up to this woman’s death. Hair gel gets squirted on the floor by a broom, suggesting a deadly fall and a can of hair spray slides into the clutches of a hair straightener, primed to explode. But all is for naught, as these things have nothing to do with her demise and she dies from a rock catapulted into the air by a lawn mower. Gotcha.

Even so, there were certain elements of the film that had be stumped. Such as, what is with all the racism? I’m not sure how it contributes to what the film is trying to say. There’s the white death metal racist who tries to plant a fiery cross in the black security guard’s front yard and ends up being dragged behind his tow truck on fire as the song “Why can‘t we be friends?” plays on the radio. There is also the elderly man getting a bath in the hospital who asks the aide “Do you know how many of you guys I killed in Korea?” to which the aide replies “I‘m Chinese sir” What do you guys think?
Overall, TFD is a creature of habit and it ends with the same message as it’s predecessors: there’s no escaping death. Regardless, it was interesting to see how this latest addition to the franchise tries to challenge and adhere to a formulaic series.

4 comments:

  1. I had a really good time with this one in the theaters (admittedly, slightly drunk) but when I rewatched it on DVD, its seams really showed. The 3D was never impressive onscreen, and on a television, it suffers that curse of clearly using some kills just to make the audience feel like something's flying in your face. It doesn't work. That being said, I enjoy this franchise as good popcorn.

    Also, I agree that the racist touches were just bizarre. I'm all for flawed characters in film, but the ones here had nothing to really say.

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