It’s a movie that makes you scream, only it’s more out of annoyance than horror. The Final Destination is the fourth instalment of the Final Destination horror franchise (though smart viewers stopped counting after it became obvious that the “final” in the title was utterly meaningless).
What’s new-and-improved about this Final movie is that it’s in 3D, which means that the instruments of death (screws, nails, stakes) can fly threateningly at you from the screen. But, don’t be fooled, the 3D doesn’t up the ante; sure, you blink instinctively when a celluloid car or bloody body part is hurled at you, but everything looks so CGI and plasticky, it’s hard to be terror-struck.
The franchise’s premise remains the same: one guy’s premonition saves a number of people from getting killed in a terrible disaster, but Death will not be cheated. The survivors are picked off, one by one, in the order that they ought to have died, with token red herrings thrown in so that it’s not too obviously death-by-numbers.
In “The” Final Destination, the initial catastrophe is set at a racing car stadium. Hunky Nick (Bobby Campo) has a vision of how viewers at the races — random spectators, his buddies Hunt (Nick Zano) and Janet (Haley Webb), his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten), and eventually himself — are decimated in a gory mess of flying car parts. His quick action saves his friends and some complete strangers; however, after the disaster, these people begin to get killed in violent and graphic detail, one at a time.
Deaths are caused by everyday objects within normal situations — swim in a pool, visit to the beauty parlour. But there’s very little suspense; if you’ve seen previous flicks in the franchise, you know that Nick and Lori’s mad dash to save potential victims is fated to be in the spirit of the policeman who arrives too late on the crime scene.
The first Final film had some amount of inventiveness going for it, but director David R Ellis returns to the franchise with no fresh ideas. Even the much-touted domino effect that causes the disasters — a loose nut falling from a car, for example, eventually results in a large-scale pileup, which leads to the destruction of the stadium and the deaths of many onlookers — feels staged rather than inventive.
The four protagonists are relentlessly plain vanilla-flavoured, parade around in tight T-shirts that show off well-toned bodies and forgettable faces, and utter such bland lines as “What is happening to me?” Only actor Mykelti Williamson seems a bit surprised at being in the film; but he recovers enough to put in the one passable performance as a security guard with a drunken past, who’s also on the Grim Reaper’0s list.
It’s a list that ought to include the movie, but you suspect, with a real frisson of horror, that Final Destination the franchise will ultimately be the only one that truly got away.
The Final Destination
Director: David R Ellis
Cast: Shantel VanSanten, Bobby Campo, Haley Webb, Nick Zano
Storyline: A premonition of disaster saves lives, but Death mercilessly hunts down the survivors in the order they were supposed to die.
Bottomline: Chances are you’d scream more in annoyance than fear.