The Final Destination

It’s a bad sign when a movie needs to do one thing right — stage elaborate death sequences — but can’t even do that properly. This is the fourth installment in the Final Destination series, and killing its characters is what it has been based around. The set-up in all of these films, so far, has been that some characters somehow manage to cheat Death thanks a moment of clairvoyance, and Death gets angry so he decides that killing them in as impressive a way as possible will work as a great substitute.

The main character this time is Nick (Bobby Campo), whose girlfriend is Lori (Shantel VanSanten). They’re at a race track with some friends, he has a vision that involves a car accident that manages to get into the audience, killing 50+ people. He panics, manages to get his friends to leave before it happens, drags some other people with him, and, low and behold, the accident occurs and he’s called a hero. However, once some of the saved begin dropping dead from “Freak Accidents” it’s up to Nick and Lori to try to prevent them and their friends from suffering a similar fate.

This time around, adults are brought into the picture again. The four main teenagers are the only people under the age of thirty, with everyone else being adults who should know better than to act like an idiot. The only one who tries to better himself is a security guard named George (Mykelti Williamson), who ends up teaming up with the two leads in order to figure out what’s going on. The cynicism is gone here, with most characters instantly believing that Death is coming for them. I guess that’s nice, as we’ve done this a few times before now, but it means that there isn’t any real learning for the characters. They know what happened in the earlier films, and they already understand the rules — most of them, at least.

Of course, there has to be a new gimmick this time around, so that’s given to the main character. Instead of having photographs be clues, he gets more visions that basically explain how the next character is going to be killed. Really, really poorly created CGI visions that look like they could have been made better in 1990, but visions nonetheless. Except this removes all tension and mystery from the deaths, and in turn makes them about as boring and mundane as they can be.

The terrible special effects are not exclusive to these short visions that Nick gets. Instead, they’re also prevalent whenever a character is about to be killed. The poor death sequences rival the first one’s in terms of the special effects. Actually, they’re not even that good. Every single death looks cheap and appears as if not much effort went into its creation. There’s even one time when a character gets hit by a bus, and the shot changes just to tell us that the character is going to die. That makes me wonder how many people have died via bus in this series. It also made me think of the better, earlier films.

The poor craftsmanship wasn’t saved just for the creation of the death scenes either, though. It was used in pre-production when brainstorming them. The writer is Eric Bress, the man who worked on Final Destination 2 (also returning from that film is director David R. Ellis). The two men are unable to come up with anything unique, and the result is a bore. The series has gotten stale with this installment, thanks in large part to the deaths not being at all creative (or well-made).

While the acting in this series hasn’t ever been something to write home about, this is probably the worst it has ever gotten. It’s not even that the actors have trouble delivering their lines; it’s more that they never react appropriately given the situation. They’re all just way too calm given the fact that their lives are in danger. Even after a guy gets shot in the arm with a nail gun, he doesn’t scream, or even seem worried. It’s like all of these people are Terminators, and Death is John Connor or something. They don’t feel fear, but they’re going to lose because of the gritty determination of the person trying to kill them.

If I didn’t know better, I would have to think that The Final Destination is a joke targeted squarely at its audience. It was released in 3D, and thanks to a couple of comments in the film, it almost seemed as if the filmmakers wanted to take a cheap shot at both 3D films, and everyone who paid to watch this one. Maybe the joke is on us, guys, but hopefully I can persuade some not to watch this film. It’s simply not worth your time, even if you liked the earlier films in the franchise. You actually have seen most of this before, and this sentiment holds even more true than before.

The Final Destination is a terrible film, and a pretty bad Final Destination movie. It needed to do one thing right: Give us fun death sequences. The premise is there almost solely so that you don’t need a real reason to kill a bunch of people. But this film even manages to mess that premise up, basically showing us the deaths before they occur. There’s no tension, no horror, and no fun. It’s not even that enjoyable watching unlikable people die this time around; it’s just boring. At this point, the series has worn thin. There’s no creativity here which just makes for a boring watch. Adding onto that is the fact that it’s simply poorly made. There is nothing about it to make it a worthwhile experience, except maybe to say that you’re now the punchline to a joke that the filmmakers might not even know they’re telling.