Nick and his friends are taking a break from their studies enjoying a day at the race track when Nick foresees a catastrophic chain of events that leads to the deaths of a slew of people in attendance, including him and his friends. He gets a tad hysterical and leaves the stands with his friends and some strangers in tow. The group quickly realize how lucky they are to have left when they did when Nick’s premonition of death and destruction becomes a reality. But that’s the thing with Death. You really shouldn’t fuck with it. Now Death is coming back ’round the bend to collect on the lives that slipped through his icy, cold fingers and begins orchestrating freak accidents to pick off the survivors who left that day in the order they should have died. After dong a bit of Googling, Nick and his girlfriend think they have figured out what is happening and come up with a plan that should break the chain, and help the ones still alive cheat Death for a second time.
Anyone who has watched the Final Destination films knows the drill. Premonition saves lives, Death comes back to collect on saved lives, survivors try to alter their fate – wash, rinse, repeat. With The Final Destination, David Ellis (Snakes on a Plane, Asylum) sticks with the formula and after a pretty nifty opening title sequence that went through some of the more memorable deaths from the Destination series, we meet Nick (Bobby Campo) and his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten), along with their friends Hunt (Nick Zano) and Janet (Haley Webb). Four young people enjoying a day at the races before Nick has his nasty vision of their impending doom that begins when a car crashes on the track.
As most people are aware, each Destination film starts with the “catastrophic event” and personally I was a really disappointed with the race track scene. Not that it didn’t feature some pretty nasty stuff – engine blocks landing on people, heads removed by car parts, multiple scenes of impalement, people crushed by falling debris, etc – it just didn’t capture the tension and horror from the plane crash and highway pileup of the first two films. I found this track scene a little worse than the roller coaster opening from Final Destination 3, both of these suffering the same issue. They show people the horror, but are not able to get the viewer to experience it.
The rest of the film follows the Destination path with Nick and Lori figuring out everything pretty quickly (thank God for Google) and trying to save their hides by stopping the death of one of the others. This act, they believe, will break the chain and Death will move along letting them all live long, healthy lives. In order to do this, they must rely on Nick’s constant visions to help them determine how to save the next person.
Which leads me to another issue I had with this film. In the previous installments, the reason behind someone having a full-fledged premonition is never explained, but it is revealed that if you pay close attention to your surroundings you can “see” Death’s design and predict how a person is going to die. This is shown in all three films on multiple occasions. But here, somebody got real lazy or needed an excuse to take advantage of the 3D shit. Instead of having a person pay attention to circumstance, objects and coincidence to connect the dots, Nick has visions that just flat out tell him the method of death. These visions consist of quick-edit scenes showing objects rendered in 3D CGI – including a CGI snake that looks no better than the one I did in DOGA-L1 while stoned – that will be involved in the death of the next person on Death’s list. Lame.
And speaking of Death’s list, the reason why most people even go to see a Destination flick in the first place is to watch the death scenes. The ones in this outing are mostly forgettable with the more memorable ones being ruined by dropping practical effects and employing some God-awful CGI that’s more at home on the SyFy channel. Which is a shame as there were a couple good ideas for body trauma – including a Chuck Palahniuk style pool drain enema and an escalator that turns into an industrial wood chipper. But like the opening sequence, the actual idea of what is happening is far more horrific than what is shown. This coupled with some really bad acting and Ellis inability to generate one ounce of tension, leave what should be some pretty horrific mayhem water-downed and uninspired – although Death has a wicked sense of humor, especially when it comes to killing racists.
Normally in the Destination films, the scenes showing Death manipulating the environment in order to snare a victim are be constructed so that the viewer is on the edge-of-their-seats with anticipation. But here? Here they made my ass hurt and uttering under my breath “just get on with it, already“ as Ellis shows 50 different ways a person may be about to bite the dust. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the director, but was anyone else as aggravated as I was at the beauty salon scene that went on forever detailing a slew of different ways one of the characters may eat it – even though the trailer clearly shows exactly how they will die? The entire scene was a waste of time, just like the majority of the film.
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