Final Destination (2000)

Director: James Wong

Starring: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Seann William Scott

“Beware. The risk of cheating the plan, disrespecting the design, could initiate a horrifying fury that would terrorise even the Grim Reaper. And you don’t even want to FUCK with that Mack Daddy.” (Bludworth, Final Destination)

Final Destination is one of my guilty pleasures.  I know it’s a load of hokey shite and I know the plot’s so daft it makes Harry Hill look like a no-nonsense dapper English gent, but I still find myself enjoying it when I watch it.

It tells the story of Alex, a young chap about to go on a flight to Paris with the rest of his class and two of his teachers. Before the plane takes off Alex has a premonition (shown in grisly detail) that it’s going to burst into flames in mid-air, so he throws a hissy fit and gets off the plane, along with a few other students and one of the teachers who get caught up in the commotion.

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane?" "Well, it used to be a plane."

As Alex’s chums have a go at him at the terminal for making them miss their flight, they’re immediately stunned into silence when in the distance they see their plane explode in mid-air, just like Alex predicted.

Naturally, the FBI are a bit suspicious so they decide to keep their eye on Alex, but just as they decide he’s innocent the rest of the survivors begin to die one by one. Alex realises that because he and his friends cheated death by getting off the plane, Death itself is a bit pissed off and is trying to kill them off to sort it out.

"Are you serious? THAT's the in-flight movie? But I hate Mr Bean."

The most entertaining moments in Final Destination, then, are the numerous death scenes, each of which would seem accidental were we not aware that Death’s causing them. Each death scene is a clever “will they, won’t they” balance where it’s not quite clear when and how the victim is peg it. The numerous red herrings keep the audience guessing, turning something as simple as a strangulation into an elaborate game where the viewer spots hazards and tries to figure out which one will lead to each character’s inevitable death.

After an exciting first 45 minutes, the back half of Final Destination loses its steam a little. Once Alex figures out what’s going on and how it all works he becomes a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, opening tins of food while wearing thick gloves and standing candles in the middle of water-filled bowls in case they fall. This is where things start to get a little wayward and eventually the final 20 minutes are a shadow of the fantastic action in the first 45.

Still, Final Destination is worth a look if you’ve never seen it. It was popular enough to spawn three sequels, but you should definitely start with this one. Its tale of an angry death looking to cover up its mistake may be a silly one and the acting may be poorer than Detroit at times, but it’s daft fun.

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