Movie Marathon: ‘Final Destination’ Pt. 2


As you can tell from, you know, the title, this is the second part of a series. You can find part 1 HERE.

Film: Final Destination 2

Released: 2003

Director: David R. Ellis

Cast: Ali Larter, A.J. Cook, Michael Landes, David Paetkau, James Kirk, Lynda Boyd, Keegan Conner, Tony Todd

Plot: Kimberly avoids a potential fatal car accident after experiencing a vision. When she discovers all the survivors of the crash are dying in a bizarre accidents she realises that Death is stalking them all.

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I distinctly remember going into the cinema for this one without high hopes. Sequels to horror movies that don’t feature the original lead tend not to turn out well. Yes, it had Ali Larter, but she’s fulfilling such a different role that it doesn’t really matter. The whole thing starts poorly with dull, stereotypical teenager characters that are in no way likeable. Also, who talks to their friends father like that? It’s really uncomfortable.

When the accident that initiates the events of the film occurs…damn. That’s an absolute ripper of an action scene, in part because they aren’t restricted in depicting violent death. That log bouncing of the road before ramming straight through a car at head height was seriously gnarly. It’s a clear indication very early in the film that the film-makers recognise what caught people’s attention in the original: the potential for spectacle in the form of complex and violent death. 

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After the horrific and mind-blowing highway pile-up is revealed to be a vision, we get left with our main characters and cast of Red Shirts. Kimberly (Cook) is our lead with Deputy Marshal Thomas Burke (Landes) as her insightful sidekick. Along for the ride is a mother/son duo, an ice queen, a drug addict and a man who is black. They recruit “Clear River”, the only survivor left from the first film (Devon Sawa had better things to do) from an mental institution and visit with the Tony Todd cameo. This mysterious figure drops some new knowledge on them – they have to create new life to cancel the curse.

They deduce that the pregnant women involved in the crash must have to give birth in order to make ‘new life’ and set out to find her. In a highly contrived twist we later learn that the pregnant lady wasn’t in the crash so it doesn’t count. Why do the visions dole out the information in little sections like this, with them occurring when it’s convenient to the plot. It’s lazy writing and makes no sense in the established mythos. Is someone controlling these visions? You’re already asking us to accept of a great deal of silliness with this concept. Don’t push your luck.

The twist that I DO like is the explanation as to why Death is working backwards through the list this time around, in that they all should have died a year earlier but the events of the first film prevented it. For example, one was supposed to die in a bus crash but it didn’t happen because it’s the bus that splattered Terry in the first film. I like idea of a ripple effect messing up with Death’s plan on multiple levels.It’s a smart way of tying everything together.

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Now…on to the juicy murder contraptions. The characters are far from well rounded and interesting, but at least they’re diverse. It’s clear that director Ellis enjoys a red herring or two, as the film is packed with them. The first victim gets his hand jammed in the garbage disposal (why do Americans have these things?) while various things start catching fire and the fire escape starts rattling. Eventually it’s just a falling ladder that impales his face in a sudden turn. This pattern repeats throughout the film, but as with the car crash it’s all impressive spectacle. 

When watching the first two movies back to back it’s clear that the second one is more fun and more has better rewatch value. This is mostly in part because the characters don’t need to spend as much time working out the mechanics and convincing each other of it, they just look it up on the internet. As a side note they’ve done a good job of creating the fake true crime websites, it’s like a time capsule of the era.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

Best/Most Insane Death: It’s a close call between the barb wire dissection and the ice queen getting done in my an airbag. Going to go with the latter simply because of how well timed it was and the look on the rescue dude’s face.

“Oh…I fucked up…”

FINAL DESTINATION RANKED

  1. Final Destination 2
  2. Final Destination
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