[SEQUEL SEPTEMBER] Ryne Barber Doesn't Cheat Death For "The Final Destination"

Today's contribution to SEQUEL SEPTEMBER is by Ryne Barber of The Moon Is A Dead World. He also writes for HorrorNews.Net. Ryne is a great horror blogger who enjoys sharing his thoughts on horror cinema, horror television, and horror books. He also does a great annual HALLOWEEN 15 series every October, where he has other bloggers contribute posts about 15 specific films he wants outside thoughts on. Even before Ryne decided to help me with this month's theme, I had offered my services to write a review for 1974's MADHOUSE for this year's event. He's a cool dude who loves autumn and the macabre, so I'm happy to have him on board.

Ryne decided to watch and write about a sequel he hadn't seen until SEQUEL SEPTEMBER came up - 2009's THE FINAL DESTINATION. Judging by his review, it seems Ryne and I share similar lackluster feelings on what is considered to be the weakest entry in the FINAL DESTINATION franchise. Even Death has its off days, I guess. Check out what Ryne has to say about THE FINAL DESTINATION. Thanks Ryne for helping out!

I chose The Final Destination for Sequel September because I used to love the films when they first came out - maybe not Final Destination 3 as much as the others, but the originals were films that I praised for their cleverness. I hadn't caught The Final Destination when it came out, nor have I seen the recent Final Destination 5; I think I've been putting them off for a reason, but Sequel September felt like the perfect time to finally sit down and watch.

Despite the fact that adding the word "the" to the film's title should allude to the series' finale, it seems that ending this cash cow was not in the best interests of the filmmakers. Nor does "the" refer to The Final Destination as being the definitive film in the series; that should be apparent from the opening of the film, when all of the bad acting hits you like a slap in the face. This fourth installment is a sequel in all of the ways that should kill off a successful set of films - it blatantly copies all of the elements that made the first couple of films work, except this time there's a greater sense of ridiculousness to everything.

The film is wrapped around one main event that should have killed a group of people at the car races. For the life of me, I can't remember any of their names, and it's apparent that the filmmaker's don't really care either when you see in the cast credits that some of the characters have names like "MILF" and "MILF's husband." This isn't attributed to my bad memory; it's the fault of the scriptwriters that The Final Destination's characters are entirely unmemorable, and the people are more easily identified with their stereotypical roles than they are with their life stories. The only person that stands out is Mykelti Williamson in a role pre-Justified, who plays a security guard at the race track who is the most likable because of the ironic humor he infuses into the events.

The deaths are, as expected, gruesome and creative, new plays on the crazy accidents in life that can kill if one is in the right place at the right time. But unlike the other films in the series (at least the first two), The Final Destination has to work insanely hard to make these deaths seem realistic. Before, the deaths were scary because they were intricate but seemed reasonable; in The Final Destination, so many ridiculous factors have to work at the right time for these events to happen, and there's no reason to fear that these grisly accidents could ever happen in real life. The problem is that the filmmakers have to get more creative with each film; now they have to resort to showing incredibly happenstance events that combine for a deadly combination.

Even so, the film slacks off sometimes, like Mykelti Williamson's death. There's also the strange character personalities that refuse to believe the worst might happen, even after their lives have already been affected by crazy, unexplainable deaths. It's no wonder that these kids are targeted by death; it's Darwin's theory at work here, and if these people don't take the obvious clues given to them and try to stop their own deaths, then perhaps they're not worth saving.

What once was a creative series has now fizzled into films that simply retread the old ideas with new, grisly deaths. Unfortunately, those deaths barely make sense anymore; they're like watching Rube Goldberg devices, not like watching realistic accidents. There's a fifth film now, but when you think about it, there can always be more of these types of movies; there sure is a lot of work for Death with all of these stupid kids.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this one, even though I didn't think it was as good as the first, but it was a fun watch for what it is. I have also not since #5 yet. Want to, just haven't gotten around to it.


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