Friday, September 4, 2009

Belated Review: "The Final Destination"

I must admit that I am not a fan of the Final Destination franchise. I may have mentioned that I saw the original movie on one of the worst dates of my life. I did sort of like the second one, but the third was just downright silly.

Now comes the fourth in the series The Final Destination. I went for two reasons: First, it was in 3D; second, because my "Fabulous" angel, Matty, wanted to get together and spend some time with me. Since he is almost as big a horror fan as I am, I thought it the perfect movie for the two of us to see together.

If you know the franchise, you know its limitations. And the fourth film in the series follows the formula perfectly. A character has a premonition of his/her death along with a group of friends whom he/she then convinces to get out before the terrible event kills them all. But, since they all survived, Death comes stalking them in the order in which they were originally intended to die, anyway. And since Death has an outrageous sense of humor, each kill is precipitated by a series of circumstances that would make Rube Goldberg (not to mention Pee-Wee Herman) proud.

In this latest installment, all pretense of character development and plot are thrown out the window to make way for an increasingly gory set of killings. Blood flies, sharp metal objects are hurled about and every character dies. Was that a spoiler? I don't think so. The novelty here is in the mostly excellent 3D effects. Blood and chunks of flesh fly toward the audience with a manic sense of glee and director David R. Ellis uses the medium to it's fullest advantage, all the while eschewing everything that makes for a truly interesting film. The jokes are plenty and self-referential (a bottled water company is named for the character played by "Heroes'" Ally Larter in the first two films and a killer tow-truck is from the Destiny Towing company), but in the end, there is really no one to care about or root for.

I imagine that since there were few new films opening this week worth seeing, The Final Destination will probably retain its top box office status, though the audience with which I saw it all seemed to agree that the movie was pretty ridiculous. The movie stars no one you know or care about, in performances as memorable as your last trip to Walmart. On the whole, The Final Destination works better as a black comedy than an actual horror movie, though even then, it is silly, at best. * (One out of Four Stars).

More, anon.

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