I was supposed to spend this month reviewing Final Destination movies. That was the directive issued to me by the fearless leader of Nerds on the Rocks. It was also the command that broke my spirit and I’m fairly certain has since turned several of my hairs grey. The Final Destination series is a living, breathing headache and it has ruined both my respect for teen slashers and my confidence in intelligent movie design.
At first, I was kind of enjoying myself. I mean, Final Destination was poorly written and poorly acted, but I liked the idea of a sadistic invisible killer who specifically targets teenagers played by 30-something actors. Who wouldn’t? There was charm in this concept, and rooting for death was pretty enjoyable. In, fact it was damn entertaining while working your way through a six pack of beer. Sadly, every movie in the series does the exact same thing. The character archetypes are the same. The narrative structures are the same. The conclusions are ALWAYS the same. The only way these films try to innovate is how they kill characters, but that’s not good enough to turn things around – especially in light of the fact that the kills have become less and less plausible as the series has progressed.
What little levity that the first three films offer is trounced by their follow up. The Final Destination, which is the official title because “The” apparently indicates the last hurray in a planned quadrilogy, is not only a smear in the face of 3D movie making but also the single flimsiest and feeble excuse for a horror movie I’ve ever seen. Every scene is predictable and most, if not all, use very bad CGI. There was even a glossy CGI Champaign cork flying in the air during one scene. Things were so drenched in CGI I honestly thought I was watching Green Lantern again, which is always a bad thing. I didn’t give a damn about these characters, I didn’t give a damn about the blatant gory 3D effects, and I rolled my eyes at the death sequences. That movie just screamed of pure excess, and I don’t know how a single person could enjoy the nauseating mindlessness.
There was no way for Final Destination 5 to be worse than its predecessor, but even the improvements to this film were minor in scope. The 3D was smarter, although it would have to be. The death scenes were less predictable, although they would have to be. Still though, we have stereotypical character archetypes, the same tiresome plot set-up, and acting that is still piss poor.
Really, I wanted to like this series. Seriously, I did. But the stilted trajectory of this franchise is not only tiresome to watch – it is challenging to write about due to its extensively derivative nature. There is no real thought put into these movies, and no thinking expected from the audience. I often here people complain about how terrible and unoriginal the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Hellraiser series became over time, but really Final Destination makes each of those seem almost experimental. Don’t watch this series if you like to use your brain – there will be little substance to mull over.
And with that, I’m done talking about Final Destination. Forever.