Final Destination

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"Death is not the end "

Aug 25, 2011

On friday the 26th of August the Final Destination series returns to cinema screens with its 5th entry. The day before release we return to the original

Back to the first flick and it's hard to remember just how original this concept was. While all the sequels are essentially rinse and repeat this was a breath of fresh air. For a film released over ten years ago it's amazing how this film manages to stand the test of time. This entry will always remain a classic.

I remember the build-up to seeing this film. I was more drawn to seeing this because Candyman was in it (Tony Todd). I didn't really know what the film was about from the trailer (short attention span as a teenager) but I knew it looked good. This was the first 15 certificate film I was old enough to see (not the first I had gotten into but the first legally) which made it stand out more. That and the fact that one of my friends looked like a 10 year old girl. Turned away at the cinema I was gutted.

This lead to a mini quest to get our birth certificates. With only enough money to watch the film we needed to travel the long distance of Stratford to Bethnal Green (remember we were kids and this was a long way without bikes). We entered the cinema in victory and were quite elated that we had made it within one day.

Now over the years there have been many obstacles and difficulties when I've tried to watch a film. Each and every time those experiences have affected my opinion of the film I was watching. More often than not I come out with a negative opinion of the film or just disappointment that the flick never lives up to the effort it took to watch it.

Final Destination didn't disappoint. The plot will most likely sound cliché and old to those who have only seen the sequels but you really have to remember this was the first. On a school trip Alex has a premonition that the plane they are on is about to explode. Causing a fuss a small group of teenagers are thrown off the flight. While arguing their plane takes off and explodes. This was absolutely chilling stuff.

Ignoring the rest of the story this idea that this could happen is not in the realms of implausibility. How many times have you heard stories of people who have avoided accidents due to a bad feeling or a sudden illness? It was a thrilling thing to watch. This was a year before the 9/11 attacks an event where you can hear many similar stories of how people only just avoided being victims of the attacks (one famous example being Seth McFarlane, creator of family guy). Near death experiences can be as horrifying as the actual events themselves.

After this event all the survivors from the plane begin to die one by one in bizarre accidents. Alex and the only person to believe him (and fellow survivor) decide to investigate. Finding out that death has a plan and is out to claim the lives of those that shouldn't have escaped death.

I cannot say how fantastic this concept is. In all my years of watching horror there are very few concepts that actually feel worthy of the title horror. Nightmare on Elm Street is in this category managing to make dreams scary, how can you fight a dream? Final Destination took this to a whole new level. How do you fight death? Short answer is you don't.

The reason I love the original is it has a slower pace than the sequels that follow. We have the time to get to know all the characters on a deeper level which makes it all the harder when they die. While we sit in awe at the spectacle of the death sequence each death of a cast member really felt like a genuine loss.

The cast are absolutely fantastic made up of know actors that played teenagers at the time (none where actually teens at the time. From Kerr Smith (Dawson Creek) to Shawn William Scott (American Pie) the cast's familiarity with the audience enhance the fear factor when they are in trouble and their ability to act outshines any of the cheap B-movie players that populate the later flicks.

The death scenes in this entry are actually believable with each one being an accident. Now the deaths are so elaborate they verge on cartoon violence. The police are actively part of the storyline and the deaths represent their scepticism of the main cast. If a character is hit by a car it looks like an accident. If a man sets himself on fire and is dragged down the street by a chain on the back of his truck you really have to question how it happened.

I see no point in going into detail about the plot developments as each and every following film has a variation of this film. The only thing is everything here is done with a lot more depth and finesse.

I love the first two Final Destination films and recommend them to everyone. That includes people who do not usually watch horror movies. Final Destination 5 is about to hit screens and from what I've heard so far is far more in tone and content to the first two. I look forward to watching it especially with the return of Tony Todd.

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