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THE FINAL DESTINATION

THE FINAL DESTINATION-United States-2009

Bobby Campo as Nick

Shantel VanSanten as Lori

Mykelti Williamson as George

Directed by David R. Ellis

Written by Eric Bress

Based on characters created by Jeffrey Reddick

I can’t sleep in a moving car. If I close my eyes I start to imagine everything from 18 wheelers to locomotives bearing down on the vehicle and sending the driver and I mangled and dismembered to the pearly gates. It’s weird, I know; but it happens. It also serves as a good segue into the movie I’m reviewing today; The Final Destination. This is the fourth film in the series and while it is about the final destination, it is not the Final Destination as there has been one more in the series since then. For those of you keeping score the tally so far has been a big fucking plane crash, a big fucking multi-vehicle interstate pileup and in Final Destination 3 we had a big fucking rollercoaster accident. For The Final Destination the accident du jour is a bad fucking day at the stock car races. We’re talking tires decapitating, metal bisecting, rods impaling, dogs and cats living together mass hysteria. This is of course followed by the seven or so people who were supposed to die meeting horrible ends that are all gross and bloody.

Can you tell that I am running out of things to say about this series of movies? Don’t misunderstand me; the Final Destination movies are a guilty pleasure for me. I love watching these movies and seeing the accidents play out. But there is only so much you can say about the damn things. The Final Destination has to be my least favorite of the series. While the beginning accident was pretty cool, the rest of the deaths were just kind of ‘okay’. Face it; people who watch these movies watch them to see what horrible deaths the writers can come up with for the hapless victims. I say that the best so far have been ‘giant pane of glass becomes giant pain in the ass’ in Final Destination 2 and ‘twin tanning bed barbecue’ in Final Destination 3.

So, this brings to a close my reviews for the Final Destination series. That is until they decide to make a number 6 and I find myself racking my brain for something to say. The bad part is that I’m actually looking forward to it.

TRIVIA

The race track is called “McKinley Speedway” which was the name of the Town, High School and character Ian McKinley (Kris Lemche) in Final Destination 3.

The film’s opening titles recreates death scenes from all three of the previous Final Destination films.

When Nick is driving he pulls up to a sign that causes him to have a premonition, the sign is clearly marked Clear Rivers Water. Clear Rivers was a central character in both Final Destination and Final Destination 2.

The Final Destination series began when Flight 180 crashed in Final Destination. At the race track, the victims are seated in area 180 (as shown on a sign behind them) and the video camera footage briefly shows the number on the screen and a bus in the final scene is clearly marked on the roof as number 180.

The first film in the series where the music was not composed by Shirley Walker, as she passed away in 2006.

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FINAL DESTINATION 3

FINAL DESTINATION 3-Germany/United States/Canada-2006

 

Featuring in order of demise:

Crystal Lowe as Ashlyn Halperin and Chelan Simmons as Ashley Freund

Sam Easton as Frankie Cheeks

Texas Battle as Lewis Romero

Alexz Johnson as Erin

Maggie Ma as Perry

Kris Lemche as Ian McKinley

Amanda Crew as Julie Christensen

Ryan Merriman as Kevin Fischer

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Wendy Christensen

Directed by James Wong

Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong

Based on characters created by Jeffrey Reddick

All it takes is for a person to view the tanning bed scene in “Final Destination 3” to realize that Death has a sense of humor. Ashlyn (Crystal Lowe, “Wrong Turn 2: Dead End“) and Ashley (Chelan Simmons, “Stephen King’s IT“) are getting their bronze on when through a series of unfortunate events the temperature is raised and they become trapped and are burned to a crisp inside their tanning beds. The moral of this whole deal is that if you’re going to lie down in something that resembles a coffin you may end up lying in the real thing sooner than you think.

Another example of death being a funny guy is in the character of Frankie Cheeks (Scott Easton, “The Butterfly Effect”). Seriously, the guy’s name sounds like he should be in the Mafia; and we know that Mafia guys don’t last long in the movies. Buh-bye, Frankie; say hi to Don Corleone for me.

What about poor Erin (Alexz Johnson, “Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical“)? Her death occurs when she’s shot multiple times by the nail gun her boyfriend was using to kill pigeons. She’s not even given a last name. People with last names usually don’t survive a horror film. Erin, we hardly knew you.

Of course, let’s not forget Ian McKinley (Kris Lemche, “Ginger Snaps”). Dude, you have the last name of a president who was assassinated. Yeah, you’ll go far in “Final Destination 3″. Moving right along.

I have never made any bones about my love for the “Final Destination” franchise. I know that its mindless entertainment with the same plot re-hashed and changed up in each movie. With “Final Destination 3″ it’s a roller coaster and not a multi-car freeway collision and it’s not A.J. Cook but the doe-eyed Mary Elizabeth Winstead freaking out when Death calls for herself and her friends. I actually find myself looking forward to seeing these films and I think the reason is because I would rather see some other poor bastard meet their demise than to have to experience it myself. The last words of convicted murderer Robert Alton Harris were misquoted from “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey“. He said, “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper.” That may be true, but for now I’ll just sit out that dance and let someone else have a turn…but only in the movies.

TRIVIA

Helga Ungurait, the script supervisor, referred to Texas Battle as “the king of adding the word ‘fuck’”, for ad-libbing the word so much.

The scene taking place in the tanning booth was a closed set. Only the camera operators were in the same room with Chelan Simmons and Crystal Lowe and black curtains were draped to keep onlookers out.

Ian’s last name, the high school’s name and the town’s name of McKinley, refer to President William McKinley, who was assassinated.

Tony Todd, who played the mortician in the first two films, provides the voice of the devil above the entrance to the roller coaster. He also provides the speaker’s voice saying, “This is the end of the line” in the subway towards the end of the movie.

½

FINAL DESTINATION 2

FINAL DESTINATION 2-United States-2003

 

 

 

Starring

Ali Larter as Clear Rivers

A.J. Cook as Kimberly Corman

Michael Landes as Thomas Burke

Tony Todd as Mr. Bludworth

Directed by David Ellis Story by J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress and Jeffrey Reddick 

Screenplay by J. Mackye Gruber and Eric Bress 

Characters by Jeffrey Reddick 

Death comes driving down the highway
In it’s sunday best – Blue Öyster Cult 

A FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN TOOK MY BABY AWAYYYYYY!!!! A FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORI–Oh, hello, I didn’t see you standing there. Alright, I know what a lot of you are thinking. You’re thinking why in the hell would anyone in their right mind want to waste their time on the Final Destination series? You’re thinking that they’re nothing but plotless movies with cookie cutter characters who are placed in ridiculous situations where the end result is to see just how grotesque a death they can suffer at the hands of…well…death. Hey, you know what? You’re right, they are exactly that. Do you know what I say to that? Who gives a shit? They are fucking fun!!

    The Final Destination films are what would happen if Death grew jealous of all the attention that guys like Jason and Freddy and Michael are getting. I mean, let’s face it, without death Jason would be the mascot for a hockey team, Freddy would be the guy that slices your roast beef at the buffet line and Michael would be trying to see his sister naked in the shower instead of trying to stab her to death.

    The first FD movie started the whole process rolling. One of the characters envisions a horrible disaster, freaks out, ruins everybody’s good time and then is proven right after said disaster really occurs and all his/her friends, save for a select few, bite the bullet and kiss their asses goodbye. If the first film started the process, the second film in the series sets the bar and sets it high. Final Destination 2 has the best opening accident scene, the coolest deaths and is by far the best film in the series.

    In the first film it was a plane crash that opened the door for death to come knocking. This time it’s the mother of all traffic accidents that the chosen few escape from on the way to their final date with the Grim Reaper. Quentin Tarantino himself has praised the accident scene, so that should tell you something. After that the death count rises as the survivors fight to stay alive.

    The acting is what you would expect from a film like this. There are no great stand-out performances. Ali Larter is one of the worst actresses in movies and only returned to show us that just because you got away from the guy with the scythe in the first film, you’re not so lucky in numero dos. A. J. Cook does a decent job as the female counterpart to Devon Sawa’s character from the first film. She did indeed move on to better things as Agent Jennifer “JJ” Jareau on TV’s Criminal Minds.

    Then there’s Tony Todd as Bludworth. Tony is one of those guys that can act with a look, a motion, a turn of the head or a squint of the eye. He speaks softly and it sounds like thunder. He speaks loudly and it is a nuclear bomb. The Final Destination series is extremely lucky to have him.

    So, yes, the Final Destination series is mindless, plotless drivel and I love it. We can’t all be The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, you know?

TRIVIA

John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”, the song that accompanied most of the deaths in the original film, plays in the elevator that Eugene and Nora enter, and in the Dentist office.

 
The Stonybrook Institution sanatorium that Clear places herself in is the same sanatorium used in the opening of Halloween: Resurrection.
 
When the principal character enters the sanitarium the words “Get them off me” can be heard coming from one of the cells. This is a reference to a lunatic (also imprisoned in an asylum) in Hellbound: Hellraiser II, who carves himself up with a straight-razor because he suffers from a delusion that he is covered with bugs.
 
The book Tim is reading is Stephen King’s “A Bag of Bones”.
 

FINAL DESTINATION 5

FINAL DESTINATION 5-United States-2011

Emma Bell as Molly Harper

Miles Fisher as Peter Friedkin

Arlen Escarpeta as Nathan

David Koechner as Dennis

Tony Todd as William Bludworth

Directed by Steven Quale

Screenplay by Eric Heisserer and Jeffrey Reddick 

Hmm, let’s see. First it was a plane crash, then an interstate smash-up, then a roller coaster derailment, then a disastrous day at the races. So, how many more ways can the producers and creators of the Final Destination franchise possibly find to kill a whole bunch of people? Oh, right! What was I thinking? A bridge collapse! That’ll show them!

So, now we come to Final Destination 5; and once again we have a disposable cast escaping one catastrophe merely to have their lives cut short in various grotesque and gruesome ways. I have to admit something, though; as tired as the franchise is becoming (the third film should have been the last), I find myself liking the series despite the fact that it’s worn out its welcome. In a way it reminds me of the Friday the 13th franchise in that although we grew tired of there being so many of them we kept coming back for the kills. Final Destination 5 has some pretty cool death scenes, but it still doesn’t top the ones in Final Destination 2. That one had a kid being crushed by a pane of a glass, a barb-wire slice and dice and an elevator decapitation. FD5 has death by parallel bars, acupuncture disaster and a Donnie Darkoesque death by airplane engine.

The cast, although expendable, does a decent job with what they’re given and they rise to the task of dying. Emma Bell would have to be the standout performer in this one as she is probably the one most recognizable to genre fans from her work in Frozen and The Walking Dead. David Koechner comes to the series from the comedic genre after appearances in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Paul and a stint on Saturday Night Live and The Office.

I’ll say the same thing about this film and the series in general that I said about Sucker Punch. If you watch FD5 expecting Oscar caliber performances and emotionally wrought drama then you’re humping the wrong leg. The series is meant to be mindless entertainment in which one film is completely interchangeable with the other. Enjoy it for what it is, folks. I sure as hell do.

TRIVIA

Producers have said that this installment will be darker (like the first film), as opposed to the almost comedic route that the 4th film took.
 
This is the third film in the series to feature a male lead having the premonitions.
 
The restaurant that Sam works in is called Le Cafe Miro 81. This cafe was seen at the end of Final Destination in Paris. When looked at from this angle, MirO81, and flipped, it’s another reference to “180″ – a number referenced throughout the franchise.
 
Many of the main characters are named after famous horror directors: Peter Friedkin is named after The Exorcist director William Friedkin; Candice Hooper is named after Tobe Hooper who directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist;and Olivia Castle is named after William Castle who directed The Tingler and the original House on Haunted Hill.
 
½

WHY I DO WHAT I DO BE DO BE DO

Fangoria

Last night I submitted a post for a review of the film Final Destination. I submitted to the various share sites like StumbleUpon and Twitter and Digg; as well as the numerous facebook groups that I belong to. Like most of my reviews I received comments and ‘likes’ and all that jazz. But, I also received a comment from a regular reader stating that “I hate to see someone whose opinions I usually appreciate so much taking the time to give any sort of endorsement to this execrable series.”

Now, I want it to first of all be known that this is by no means an attack on this person. He is entitled to his opinion and I respect him immensely for speaking his mind. This is basically a breakdown of why I watch what I watch and how I come up with the ratings that I do for each film. I watch what I watch and review what I review because I either A. own the film, or B. I saw it in the theater. Most of my reviews are films that I own (Final Destination, Frontiers, and Saw). I have what is fast approaching to be well over 300 films. I find films by reading magazines like Fangoria and Rue Morgue or by visiting sites like Bloody Disgusting. I type in searches for the top horror films of all time and I also go by word of mouth. I just recently began reviewing films that I see in theaters. I believe the first one I covered was Paranormal Activity 3. So, that’s how I pick the films I review.

As for my system of rating a film, it’s very simple. I don’t have a system. I don’t say ‘Oh, well I’m going to give this movie 4 stars because it’s a great movie and everybody likes it; or I’m going to give this movie 1 star because it’s a piece of buffalo dung served on a steaming cow patty.” I go with my gut. I rate the films on what they say to me at that particular point in time. What did I like about this film? What did I not like? I’m not a professional reviewer. I review horror because I love horror. It is the one genre of film that I have gotten the most consistent enjoyment of any of the genres of film. I love good horror (Inside, May) and I love bad horror (Final Destination, The Saw Series 2-3d).

I hope this clears things up. I also hope the fellow who made who made the comment I quoted doesn’t feel slighted in any way. I think he and I have a lot in common. But sometimes you got to agree to disagree. Take care and stay scared everybody!

FINAL DESTINATION

FINAL DESTINATION-United States and Canada-98 Mins. 2000

Devon Sawa as Alex Browning

 Directed by James Wong Written by Glen Morgan, James Wong and Jeffrey ReddickStory by Jeffrey Reddick”You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper.”-Robert Alton Harris‘ final words before his execution in 1992.

If there is one thing that is 100% inevitable in this world, it is the fact that we all will one day leave this world. Some people say that there are two things that are inevitable in life; death and taxes. I don’t find that to be a very accurate statement. I don’t have to pay my taxes. I’ll go to jail, of course, but that would be my choice to make. When it comes to our appointment with Death, we have no choice in the matter. We may escape the scythe one day, only to be decapitated by it the next day, or the next after that. That’s the premise behind Final Destination. A group of high school students are about to embark on a plane trip to France when one of them has a premonition of the plane exploding, killing everyone on board. He freaks out, of course, and is swiftly escorted off the plane, accompanied by a handful of his classmates who assume that the cheese has slid off of the boy’s cracker. That is until the plane goes up in a fireball in mid-air. After that the film takes us through a series of Rube Goldbergesque scenes as death slices through the survivors one by one.

Final Destination was originally intended to be an episode of The X-Files television series. It would have been quite interesting to see Agent Mulder and Agent Scully arguing their respective cases.

“Mulder, everyone dies, even Bruce Springsteen said that in ‘Atlantic City’”.

“There’s a conspiracy here, Scully, I can feel it, and I prefer Bob Dylan.”

But anyways, that never came to be and the script was made into the film that is being reviewed right before your very eyes. I admit I wasn’t too turned on by the movie the first time I saw it. I felt like the death scenes were just a little too convenient (or is it coincidental?). But it’s kind of grown on me with repeated viewings and I find myself watching it every now and again. Besides, it’s got Tony Todd in it. He plays a mortician. There’s no way you can go wrong if you have Tony Todd playing a mortician in your movie. The dude could keep ice cubes frozen in the Sahara desert.

TRIVIA

Most characters in the film are named after directors or stars from black and white horror movies: Chaney (Lon Chaney); Waggner (director George Waggner); Browning (famous “Dracula” director Tod Browning); Larry Murnau, (after F.W. Murnau, director of the “first” Dracula film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens); Schreck (Max Schreck also starred in “Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens”); Valerie Lewton (Val Lewton produced several famous horror movies); Blake Dreyer (Carl Theodor Dreyer directed Vampyr); Howard Siegel (Don Siegel’ directed Dirty Harry (1971)_); Billy Hitchcock, whose name pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock.

As well as footage, this movie borrows in other ways from the crash of TWA Flight 800. The July 17th, 1996 flight was carrying a high school French club, it exploded suddenly and was investigated for a possible deliberate act causing the accident – first a bomb, then a surface to air missile. As with the movie, it was ultimately decided that the crash was a result of mechanical failure (explosion in the central fuel tank), although the FBI investigation is still open.
The music played throughout the movie was by John Denver, a musician who died in a plane crash.
blood blood blood
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