The Series Project: Final Destination (Part 2)

The Final Destination (dir. David R. Ellis, 2009)

Final 4 posterThe article “the” was added, I think, to stress that this was intended to be the final film in the series. And since you can't call it Final Final Destination, the filmmakers tacked on a semantic nightmare. Not since Aliens has a sequel title been this obnoxious. Although tacking a number onto a title that already declares its finality is also a bit absurd.

Destination 4 is awful. Really awful, in fact. It's not that it changes the stalked-by-death premise at all; the premise is still strong. But it does kind of unravel, succumbing to mere bad filmmaking. The special effects are cheap, adding digital blood splays where actual Karo syrup would have looked better. It was filmed in 3-D, so a lot of the gore effects shoot for a sticky-outey aesthetic, causing the filmmakers to rely on more cheap digital effects. There are multiple premonitions this time around, and we get to see them in dull digital 3-D montages that add nothing to the overall impact of the film.

And, most offensively, Final 4 restarts halfway through. The screenplay for Final 4 reeks of multiple uncommunicative writers hired at different times, rushed slapjobs, and last-minute changes. The story barely coheres long enough to tell a rather simple tale of people dying in freak accidents. What's more, the accidents are becoming so elaborate that we have multiple setups for horrible bloody things, only to have something else happen. Case in point: Scream queen Krista Allen plays a woman who goes to a beauty parlor to get her hair done. The ceiling fan comes loose and falls but doesn't touch her. Blades and chemicals and unguents leak around her, implying a slippery death of some kind. After all that, she exits the beauty parlor unscathed, only to be taken out by a flying rock flying from under a nearby lawnmower. That's dumb.

Final 4 tanks

The premonition this time is had by a milquetoast hunk named Nick (Bobby Campo) who foresees a spectacular explosion at a NASCAR event. The victims in the previous films were all kind of archetypal types, and were at least relatable and kind of charming. This time around, they're all abrasive dickheads whom you can't wait to see get killed.

Two clever deaths: A man swims down to the bottom of a swimming pool and gets stuck to the drain. The pressure eventually sucks him through the tube. Eeeewww! Also, Final 4 was in 3-D, and there is a scene where a victim is watching a 3-D movie within the movie. There's an explosion in the in-movie movie at the same time there's an explosion in the movie. For a real-life teenager sitting in their local cineplex watching Final 4, this explosive breaking of the fourth wall must have been thrilling. I admit that this one metaphysical death was actually legitimately clever.

Final 4 theater

But it happens after Nick has witnessed a few deaths, does absolutely nothing to communicate the Death curse to anyone (once again, the previous films are learned about from newspaper clippings and Google searches). One of the victims tries killing himself to screw up Death's intended order, but finds that he can't. Nick has another premonition, and the cycle starts again. All of this crap is rushed into a mere 82 minutes of screentime. I suppose the one advantage Final 4 has over the other films is a higher body-per-minute ratio.

Skip it. It adds nothing. It's just bad. The next film may, however, be the best.