THE FINAL DESTINATION

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Overall Impression – Death gets creative.  IN 3D!

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Nick.

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Professional: stop Death and survive.  Personal: keep his girlfriend alive.  Private: N/A.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Death, and anybody who doesn’t believe Nick’s story.

What happens if he fails? –  They all die.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – Nick and a select few are the only survivors of a tragedy at the race track.  Nick soon starts having visions, premonitions of gruesome deaths.

Wanderer – When the survivors of the tragedy start dying, Nick figures they were supposed to die in a certain order, and that he’s having premonitions of how the next person in the chain will be killed.  He thinks that if they can keep the next victim alive, they can cheat Death by ‘breaking the chain’.  A security guard helps Nick remember the order they were supposed to die in.

Warrior – Nick and his gf race against Death to prevent the demise of the next victims, which include their friends, but soon realize that Death is kinda hard to overcome.  Throw into the mix the fact that Nick remembered the order incorrectly, and it becomes a frenzied battle for survival. Eventually, they think they’ve broken the chain for real.

Martyr – Only they’re wrong, and Nick must risk his life to stop Death and save his girlfriend. Ultimately, this turns out to be futile.

AND, IN THE END…

This won’t come as much of a surprise, but THE FINAL DESTINATION’s biggest offering is seeing attractive teens getting splattered, in 3D. Plot-wise, the fourth installment is so similar to its predecessors that you know beat for beat what’s going to happen.  Indeed, the characters seem to be the only ones not to realize that fighting Death is futile – he’s gonna get you in the end!  The only element of mystery in this movie is how the kids are going to die.

One complaint that tends to crop up about movies with attractive teens getting splattered is that the characters are a little too 2D, which normally means that you don’t care about them.  While I think it’s fair to claim that cannon fodder doesn’t need character depth, I also find horror movies to be far more affecting if you care about the fodder being splattered.  Just watch Aliens.

The root cause of zero character depth is often a lack of any real private goals, of which THE FINAL DESTINATION is a prime example.  If that wasn’t enough, I found them to be largely unsympathetic.  After all, how much can you care about a group of rich, attractive, largely arrogant teens?  This all sounds pretty negative, but in a weird way, it acted as a reverse appeal that made me want to see them die a gruesome death!  When a character that I’ve been led to hate gets splattered by an engine, I feel pretty good!  Given the tidy $65m that THE FINAL DESTINATION cleared at the box office, perhaps 2D characters that everybody loves to hate are the way to go with teen-splatter movies.

– Dan Pilditch

3 Responses to “THE FINAL DESTINATION”

  1. David Goulet September 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I think you’ve hit a nail on the head here, Dan. These dead teenager flicks (to use Roger Ebert’s genre label) get away with their otherwise cruel violence by attempting to turn them into pseudo-morality plays. As long as the teens are engaged in behaviour that makes them ‘deserving of punishment’ then we don’t have to feel guilty when we thrill to their demise.

    It’s not a new device. Chuck Norris films were notorious for setting up his foes as absolute scumbags, so when he did turn the flamethrower on them — you didn’t question the excessive violence at all. Funny thing was that Chuck often didn’t get as riled up when you just knocked off his friends and family — it was when you killed his dog…look out!

    If you want read the original ‘they got what they deserved’ mega-violence story, check out Poe’s short story – – Hopfrog.

  2. danpilditch September 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    I shall! Thanks for reading Dave.

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