Final Destination, The (2009)
Reviewed 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 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