Final Destination, The (2009)

The Final DestinationReviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Bobby Campo, Nick Zano, Shantel VanSanten, Haley Webb

Directed by David R. Ellis

Right from its opening credits, it’s clear that The Final Destination is yet another by-the-numbers sequel that never strays from formula and offers no new surprises. But who cares? We go to these movies for one reason and one reason only: to see stupid teens go “SPLAT!” and the minds behind this fourth installment know that all too well by now. There are absolutely no pretensions with this movie (unlike another slasher sequel opening this weekend), and what you pay to see is exactly what you get.

Plot? Acting? Character development? Forget about it! Director David R. Ellis (returning from the equally fun Final Destination 2) leaps back into the series like a sadistic showman and cuts right to the bloody chase – or race, in this case. Par for the course, things start with another thrilling catastrophe, this time at a NASCAR racing event where a freak accident sends cars flying into the stands, demolishing everyone and everything in sight. Of course, it all turns out to be the premonition of Random Psychic Teen Character #4 who warns and evacuates the people around him just before the stadium goes up in flames. This creates yet another “rift” in Death’s design, and the survivors soon find themselves getting picked off in a series of increasingly grizzly accidents. Random Psychic Teen Character #4 doesn’t care for this and sets out to put a stop to Death’s plans, which we already know from the three sets of characters before him won’t really work out.

The Final DestinationThe filmmakers behind The Final Destination are essentially making a dead teen exploitation flick, and they know it. Characters get crushed, burned, diced, dismembered, blown up, eviscerated, smashed, stabbed and pureed across a series of endless set-pieces. Except now they’re in glorious 3D, which is done to full effect. Most modern 3D films tend to avoid cheap pop-out gags, but FD4 fully embraces its gimmicky format, sending all those great bodily fluids spilling towards your face. That alone makes this film more fun and satisfying than the maligned third installment. As a former stuntman, Ellis has developed a knack for creating on-screen chaos without lots of CGI and shaky-cam, and that’s what gives these films their charm. The whole experience is basically like watching a mindless old school 80’s horror movie with all the boring parts cut out.

At a brisk 80 minutes, there’s not much else going on here. The Final Destination’s single-minded purpose is to get you in, kill some brain cells and send you on your merry way. It’s essentially a summer movie version of Faces of Death – and that alone is far more entertaining than all the Transformers and G.I. Joes of the world combined.


3 1/2 out of 5

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Morgan Elektra's picture

Saw it in 3D... the writing was really terrible, the scenarious beyond unbelievable, the story was paper thin, the effects kind of chintzy, the characters were totally cardboard, and the acting was more hit than miss... But I found it so bad it was frickin' hilarious. I was laughing so hard at all the badness there were tears in my eyes. This wasn't even a popcorn movie... it was a cotton candy movie. Enjoyable in the moment but all the depth and staying power of spun sugar.

Submitted by Morgan Elektra on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 11:33pm.
DARIO's picture


Submitted by DARIO on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 7:16pm.
kiddcapone's picture

This is easily one of the biggest disappointments ever...I had such huge expectations and FD4 just sucked on so many levels. Totally UNINSPIRED. Everything was done before in previous FD movies, and done better. No end resolution. No loose ends tied up. Horrible CGI deaths. The ending sucked.

5000 ways to kill someone and they just reused the same old shit from previous films. Very sad.

Submitted by kiddcapone on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 10:47am.
Nomad's picture

Felt like this was a waste of time. CGI kills were on par with the quality of a standard Syfy sat night movie, I didn't care about ANY of the characters and the film itself was so formulaic, it may as well have been part 3 again. I didn't want to see the same damn movie with new kills. For the last installment, I expected a little resolution or at least cleaver twists to explain why these people are seeing their death and why death himself is coming to fix it. Not one loose end is tied up. I also had a problem with some of the 3D, which didn't seem to work in my theater. Bad CGI. Very bad.

Submitted by Nomad on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 11:39am.
Teen-Idol's picture

"Random Psychic Teen Character #4"


Submitted by Teen-Idol on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 2:46am.
frank_dracman's picture

ALL KILLER NO FILLER. That's a damn fine tag line if I ever heard one.

Submitted by frank_dracman on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 5:36pm.
Rottenjesus's picture

And it is since I just got back from seeing it. What a fun flick and the 3D really gave it a nice intimate feel.


Submitted by Rottenjesus on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:54pm.

80 minutes? I get brisk, but it's really expensive to see this in 3D... couldn't it have been, I don't know, 90 minutes?

Submitted by bloodypants on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 3:51pm.
Rottenjesus's picture


Submitted by Rottenjesus on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 4:07pm.
Didn't See It Coming's picture

I'll be seeing this tomorrow or Sunday.

Submitted by Didn't See It Coming on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 2:09pm.

I'm confused... what if I'm reading your comment on Monday (*spooked look*)?

Submitted by PelusaMG on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 4:53pm.
Didn't See It Coming's picture

Then you're dumb because it says the day, date and time on the bottom.

Submitted by Didn't See It Coming on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 5:16pm.
doubleh55's picture

According to another review, due to the 3D the gore effects are way too "computer generated" which is a shame.

Submitted by doubleh55 on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 12:54pm.
moderator Yeah, there's a lot of CGI
Debi Moore's picture

Yeah, there's a lot of CGI happening, but what FD4 gets right is almost enough to overcome it. For the first 2/3 it's a real blast, and the effects are awesome. I found myself caring about at least half the characters, especially Campo & VanSanten as Nick & Lori; they had some moments of true chemistry and believability even if their (and everyone else's) performances were uneven and a bit stilted at times.

On the negative side, it totally wimped out towards the end, especially considering its abbreviated runtime. The really cool deaths were all front-loaded, and I missed Tony Todd, damnit. Plus, I have to call foul on the "teen" references in this review -- all the lead actors are well in their 20's. But that's about all I disagree with Andrew about -- except for his failure to mention that The Signal's Justin Welborn is in it (love that guy!) and the overall rating. It's a 3/5 from me.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 1:54am.
Rorschach's picture

Justin was gone from the movie faaar too soon for me. I agree with you (and Kasch) on everything else though.

Submitted by Rorschach on Thu, 09/03/2009 - 9:28pm.
frank_dracman's picture

Yep, I'm ready for some 3D gore too!

Submitted by frank_dracman on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 9:57am.
Rottenjesus's picture

I knew the guys behind FD 2 wouldn't let us down. Can't wait to see the mayhem!

Submitted by Rottenjesus on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 3:57am.

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