THE FINAL DESTINATION
*1/2 (out of 5)
August 28, 2009
Bobby Campo as NICK O’BANNON
Shantel VanSanten as LORI MILLIGAN
Nick Zano as HUNT WYNORSKI
Haley Webb as JANET CUNNINGHAM
Mykelti Williamson as GEORGE LANTER
Krista Allen as SAMANTHA
Studio: New Line Cinema
Directed by: David R. Ellis
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
It is no surprise to people familiar with my cinematic tastes that I am fan of both horror movies and the new digital 3D presentation. In fact, when “My Bloody Valentine 3D” came out earlier this year, I was thrilled, and I found it to be one of the guilty pleasures of the winter movie season.
I was similarly excited to see the latest installment in the “Final Destination” film series. After all, I really enjoyed the first three films. The original was clever and grim, and the second built upon the mythology created. By the time they got to the third film, the series was allowed to get a little campy, and that movie was so over-the-top and had its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. Swish, bang! Another guilty pleasure.
Knowing all this, it is easy to see what a colossal let-down “The Final Destination” was. In this fourth installment, another group of random teenagers narrowly escape a gruesome death. With plane crashes, highway accidents and roller coasters already covered, this time the kids get out of a stock car audience before a fiery crash kills more than fifty people. However, shortly after their escape, death creeps up on them one-by-one to take them away.
All of the campiness from the third film is gone in “The Final Destination,” but it brings back none of the grounded elements that actually helped the first two movies. Instead, it’s a thin and pale rehashing of the characters from the original movie, going as far to duplicating the plot points almost exactly. There’s nothing new this film has to offer, except for the presentation in 3D.
And yes, some of the 3D effects were pretty cool. If you’re one of those gore-hounds who gets giddy at the sight of new and unique kills, you’ll probably wet yourselves in this movie. When director David R. Ellis (of “Snakes on a Plane” fame) gets creative, things do work. However, instead of letting the effects play out on a more extreme 3D canvas, the shots turn gimmicky fast.
It’s these gimmicks that actually take you out of the picture. Over the years, 3D films have become a little more subtle. But “The Final Destination” takes us back to the cheesy and blatant 3D shots like antennas in our faces and champagne corks flying towards the camera.
This movie isn’t even a good late-night horror flick. The characters are utterly forgettable, and they’re vapid even for the horror movie standard. The film isn’t consistent in itself, violating continuity all over the place and offering up misplaced gore. (For example, in one scene a girl gets her foot crushed, and she suddenly starts bleeding from her mouth. I guess there’s some serious internal organs that were damaged in her ankle bone.)
The greatest sin that “The Final Destination” commits is being uninspired and tiresome. Even the creative kills lacked effort. Where previous installments presented Rube Goldberg-style ways that death captured its victims, “The Final Destination” made mundane things like car washes, swimming pools, escalators and hot tubs the mildly clever weapons of death itself.
“The Final Destination” was a series of missed opportunities and imitative filmmaking. If you want to see it, it’s barely worth springing the extra cash for the 3D ticket. You might be better off renting “My Bloody Valentine” in 3D and watching it at home.