The Series Project: Final Destination (Part 2)
Cheap, wonderful, drive-in fun. That's what the Destination movies provide.
I find that many recent horror movies – especially in the unfortunately persistent torture porn and found-footage subgenres – tend to skew a little too dark and sick for their own good. There is a fetishistic approach to either the movie's gore, or to its low-fi you-are-there filming techniques. Slashers and exploitation movies used to be – I seem to recall – more about silly murderers and creative deaths. Real life death can be horrible and sad, but slasher movie death is a party. We want to see people end.
The Destination movies seem to have remembered that. Scary can go hand-in-hand with fun. It's fun to be scared at the movies, to jump in the dark, to wail out an exaggerated cathartic scream in public. It's fun to watch guts fly across the screen, to hide your eyes, to wait in giddy excitement for the eventual use of a well-established nail gun, flying engine block, or iron spike. These movies are just the right balance of scary, fun, cheesy, atmospheric, and trashy. They don't try to gross you out too much (like, say, Saw), using their gore in a more spectacular fashion.
The Destination films were big enough hits that we got five of them, four of which are worthwhile. They toy with fatalism, and then dive into the violence. They're cheap, but fittingly so. Horror movies can be a blast, and the Destination films exemplify that. Forget about myth and gore and gut-churning commentary. A drop of philosophy in an ocean of grinning blood. That's why we go to the movies.
Witney Seibold is the head film critic for Nerdist, and a contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly articles Trolling, and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.