In the End Pt 5 (Final Destination 5, 2011)

final_destination_5_posterSo, The Final Destination was not the end.  Final Destination 5 tells us the story of Sam who is on his way to to a work retreat.  He has a vision of the bridge collapsing and almost everyone on their bus dying.  So he gets off the bus and a lot of his co-workers follow, as they are nearing the end of the bridge, the collapse starts.

What follows is the same basic plot of all the films.  Sam figures out the patterns, a few of the characters try and prevent the inevitable.  The film brings back Tony Todd, who shows up to be cryptic, but introduces a new concept.  If you kill a person who was not supposed to die for a long time, you get their years.  The film is the first where the characters do not rely on stories about flight 180 t fill in the blanks.


The deaths are pretty elaborate and the characters are mostly sympathetic in this film, making their demise less of a comeuppance.  As usual there are a couple especially memorable deaths, one involving eye laser surgery gone horribly wrong and one gymnastics themed death.

The film is a bit better than the previous two installments and it has a really good twist ending.

In the End Pt 4 (The Final Destination, 2009)

the_final_destination_film_posterThe Final Destination was directed by David Ellis (Final Destination 2).  It’s cast is unconnected to the previous films, but it connects itself to the original film, suggesting that this film closes Death’s plan.

The film begins at a Nascar race.  We meet a group of really obnoxious people and also Nick and Lori.  some of the only sympathetic characters in the film.  Nick has a vision of a terrible car wreck that kills everyone in the stands.  So, he freaks out and most of the obnoxious people leave with him, as they are yelling at Nick, there is an explosion and everyone realizes they lucked out.  One of the obnoxious guys is a racist who wants to run back in to get his wife, but is stopped by a black security guard.


As one no doubt expects at this point, people start to die.  Nick starts to put it all together.  The characters are mostly unsympathetic, and in this film, the deaths actually seem more vindictive.  The racist goes to put a burning cross on the security guard’s lawn only to get hooked by his own tow truck and dragged to a flaming death.  They try and save the remaining people, as Nick figures out that folks are dying in the order of his vision.

One of the things hinted at in the first film is you cannot die outside of the order of death, or at least if it skips you and goes to the next person, it just goes through the remaining order and jumps back to you.  This film expands on this, with one character trying to commit suicide, and being unsuccessful every time.

There was talk that this was the last film in the franchise, as the returns were ever decreasing.  This is why, instead of Final Destination 4, they titled it The Final Destination.  This is, not a particularly good end to the franchise, but I guess it would be an ending.  If they had not gone on to make Final Destination 5.  The advertising made a big deal about how it was in 3-D, but the 3-D was not all that effective.

All in all, this is a very mediocre sequel, not even reaching a so bad it it’s good range.

In the End Pt 3 (Final Destination 3, 2006)

final_destination_3_posterFinal Destination 3 returns it’s focus to high school kids (led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) surviving the near death experience when someone has a vision (Winstead’s Wendy)…this time on a roller coaster.

Wendy has a tragic vision of a roller coaster accident.  Getting off the roller coaster Wendy and her friends narrowly avoid the accident.  Her boyfriend comments on Flight 180, but blows it off thinking he is mocking her.  But as survivors start dying, Wendy starts seeing the signs in photos from the  night of the accident (a la 1976’s the Omen). This time Wendy gets no help from Tony Todd’s Bludworth…pretty much abandoning any suggestion that he might be more than a mortician).

She actually puts this together late in the film.  The characters are not terribly compelling in the film, offering very little opportunity to get to know characters before they die.  The characters are roughed out stereotypes.  The aggressive jock, the goth kids, the hot vapid girls, the clueless and unsuccessful Pickup Artist.

The film saw the return of Director James Wong to the franchise, but that does little to improve things.  The film Does not tie the characters to Flight 180 in any way, which is fine, and explains why Final Destination 2’s presumption of tying up the loose ends of 180 do not impact things.  One gets the sense that the deaths are meant to be somewhat ironic.  The death scenes get even more elaborate, leading to a lot of spectacle, but little more.  Usually the film has one big death moment that seems worse that the others and in this film it is death by tanning bed.  The film has no real emotional core to make you care about the characters, several seem to be intentionally annoying so that you are less bothered by their dying.

Final Destination 3 adds nothing to the franchise’s mythology, nor does it put it to real interesting use.

In the End Pt Two (Final Destination, 2003)

final_destination_2_posterThe first film was successful enough for the studio to produce a sequel.  They hired second unit director David Ellis (who would go on to direct a later installment in the franchise and Snakes on a Plane).

Kimberly and her friends are going on a road trip.  While waiting to get on the highway, Kimberly has a vision of a massive and horrific traffic accident.  When she blocks  the exit ramp,  people start getting upset and a state trooper starts to talk with her…in the midst of their discussion, the accident occurs.

In this film, everyone is aware of Flight 180 from the first film, allowing the characters to quickly come together and try and figure out how to beat the system.  There is some question for the audience on how much these deaths occur because of the characters interference (one character likely would not have died had the characters not called her on the phone and freaked her out).  The film brings back Clear, who has had herself committed, because a padded room is as safe as it can get (or so goes her logic).  Clear is the last survivor, Alex apparently dying between films.  She helps Kimberly and they visit Bludworth the mortician (Tony Todd).  He gives them some mumbo jumbo about new life severing the design of death.

The film culminates in an orgy of Rube Goldberg styled deaths.  Everything leads to someones death, until there are only a few survivors.  And this is what the franchise becomes from here on out.  Just how ridiculously elaborate can the deaths be?

The film has a twist towards the end tying back to the first film.  But the revelation does not really add anything to the story, other than, “Oh wow, they were connected to the original film!”  The film starts the trend of expanding the cast to allow for more death and mayhem.  Also, just like the first film, the last names of the characters are famous names of horror.

In the End Pt One (Final Destination, 2000)

final_destination_posterWelcome the the Final Destination Franchise, where a bunch of white people and one black guy try and escape the clutches of death.  This is both a joke and a fact.  There is one (sometimes two-one is almost always a police officer/FBI guy) black guy per movie.

Anyways, the film tells the story of Alex and his classmates who are going on a class trip to France.  While sitting on the plane, Alex has a terrifying vision of the plane exploding mid-flight.  He starts to notice all sorts of things occurring just as they did in the vision.  Panicking, Alex starts to yell that they need to get off the plane.  He and a few other students are dragged from the flight.  Angered  by being removed, tough guy Carter starts a fight with Alex, only to be ended by the plane exploding.

This leads to Alex being a figure of fear and revulsion.  His classmates are frightened over what he knows and how he would know it.  The night after the funeral, Alex’s friend Todd dies in mysterious circumstances, and Alex starts to see real patterns.  The only person to believe him at first is Clear (last name Rivers, 0i).  But as more people from the flight die shocking deaths, the others come around and try and find a way to cheat death.

The premise of the film is a pretty clever one, though it seems like they were not fully sure the nature of the situation.  Is death sentient?  Todd’s death has the most intense lead up of the film, where Todd is clipping nose hairs (which leads you to think he might get impaled) , then plugs in a radio, the whole time water from a toilet leak creeps towards him.  After he is dead, the water seeps back to the toilet, as if covering it’s tracks.  This is really the only time it seems freakishly supernatural.  Otherwise the deaths are elaborate but plausible as chance.

The film features Tony Todd in a brief appearance as a mortician who explains the movies plot fr the characters.  One gets the sense that Todd’s character was meant to be a bigger role.

Behind the camera were a few X-Files alum and they try and work their magic here.  The death sequences range from shocking to elaborate.  Overall, I find a lot to like with this film.  While the franchise is more of a guilty pleasure for me, this first film is one I found quite enjoyable.

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