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Review: The Final Destination (2009)

The Final Destination (2009)

Directed by: David R. Ellis

Premise: The fourth film in the Final Destination franchise. A group of people is saved when one of them has a premonition about an accident at a racetrack. The survivors are plagued by accidents as fate attempts to correct their escape. The film is shown theatrically in 3-D.

What Works: The Final Destination franchise is less a story than it is a Grand Guignol-like showcase of bodies being mutilated in terrible accidents. Viewers who can get around the lack of a coherent story (there isn’t one) and accept that the characters are meat puppets who only exist to die horrific deaths will find themselves enjoying the film. Something that distinguishes this Final Destination entry is a cheeky self-awareness, as parts of the film play like self-parody. The finale in particular, taking place in a 3-D theater, nearly becomes Dadaist art, although not quite.

What Doesn’t: As a horror film, The Final Destination has a fair amount of gore but the film isn’t very scary. The staging of the accidents is often rushed and the lighting and sound do very little to set the mood. Even the gore, although graphic and realistic-looking, is not shot very well. The filmmakers ought to have taken some notes from the films of directors like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Wes Craven, all of whom got much more impact and meaning out of gore by using it to expose the fragility of our mortality. In The Final Destination the gore is very plastic or obviously digital, and lacks the organic qualities that make gore unsettling. 

Bottom Line: Anyone who has seen the previous Final Destination films knows exactly what they are getting into. But even by those standards, this film is not scary or gory enough.

Episode: #254 (September 6, 2009)