The Final Destination (2009)

the final destination

“I’ve been trying to kill myself all day!”

Justin’s rating: Really, as long as I don’t die in any of the ways these films have concocted up, I’ll count my life as a “win”

Justin’s review: “You come here to see them crash?” a girl at the beginning of The Final Destination asks her friend at a NASCAR race.  “You’re sick.”

From the get-go, there’s your snide jab at the audience of this movie – people who are more eager to see the various characters get killed in innovative ways than seeing them arrive intact at the end credits.  Are we sick for watching what is, in effect, a pretend snuff film?

A better question might be, is there anything of substance behind the Final Destination movies than just weird mousetrap-like deaths?

After seeing all four of these films, I can say with some authority that there’s been no evolution of the concepts or characters (the latter keep getting wiped out to make room for the next batch of would-be corpses) since the first.  Yes, the idea of “cheating death” via premonitions and vague visions is moderately interesting, but in four movies it’s never explained.  Four films where characters are able to see the future in order to change or avoid it, but death happens anyway.  Taken at its most literal, it’s a macabre statement on predestination and eventuality, but that’s no more profound than anything a kindergartener could tell you.  Death happens to us all, the only question for the characters in the films is whether it’s a lot more immediate (and bloody) or not.  In most cases, they’re better off dying the way they were supposed to than the post-cheat death-vengeance version.

Other than the cardboard characters (whose personalities and motives are directly interchangeable with those of the previous films) and the exact ways they die, there’s nothing new here.  Absolutely nothing.  It’s an exercise in gore and cheesy 3D elements, but if you’re holding out hope that any of them will have a happy ending, well, this must be the first Final Destination you’ve ever seen, because that’s not the way Death rolls.  Sure, Death could fall them all with strokes in their sleep, but he prefers to be a bit more showy and brutal, because that drives up ticket sales.

What’s terribly frustrating is that you’d think by part four, the filmmakers would let down their hair a bit and start exploring the “why” and “how” beyond the kills/death order/premonitions.  Even A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th and Saw started creating elaborate backstories and mythos as they veered well into the series, but not here.  How cool would it have been if characters did find a way to effectively fight death, or come into contact with the source of the premonitions, or even died on purpose to fight Death on his own turf?

Every horror movie we watch always has one survivor – us.  We are the Final Girl who might be a bit shaken by the finale, but we arrive safe and sound, having survived something terrible (if only in our mind).  Yet even though The Final Destination has a few cheeky comments about the audience itself (there’s a whole meta we-the-audience-are-watching-a-movie-audience-in-the-movie thing going on), it’s a disaster film where the disaster in question is an invisible, unbeatable force, and that stuff just gets tired.

Someone let that kid ride the escalator alone! When will people LEARN?


  • Death can unscrew screws!  Seems kinda petty to me…
  • “The Racist”  What a terrific name for a character.  Wonder how long it took them to come up with that.
  • Nifty opening credits, X-Rays referencing all the other films
  • Death can also drive a tow truck.  When did Death have time to get his license?
  • “That sounds crazy… but hey, why not?”  I love the security guard.
  • “Love Lays Dying”  Yeah, that’s subtle.
  • 11 deaths in this film — more than any of the other ones

Groovy Quotes

George Lanter: I’ve been trying to kill myself all day!

Hunt Wynorski: That’s a lot of Tampons for one woman.

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