The Final Destination (2009)
By: Julian on September 29, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Poster Art
Director: David R Ellis
Starring: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson, Nick Zano, Krista Allen
Writer: Eric Bress
Country: USA
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The fourth instalment of Final Destination, prefixed "The" imputing (hopefully) a certain totality, is without a doubt the weakest of the four and, by most points of comparison and criticism, a pretty piss-poor movie. It's redeemed, in part, via its theatrical presentation as a Real-D 3-D film (and with that said, it's the first I've seen so there was the novelty value there: the mate I saw it with didn't think very much of it) and some smart kills. Otherwise, it's completely execrable and, on DVD, I think it'd be totally bereft of redeeming features. This is the very definition of horror marketed for the masses.

The Final Destination's synopsis is exactly the same as the other three movies. Premonition: collapse at McKinley (get the gratuitous reference? The movie is absolutely full of 'em, right down to a "Clear Rivers Water" truck triggering another premonition) Stadium wipes out Nick O'Bannon (Bobby Campo), his insipid troupe of teenaged retards and a bunch of other spectators, including a neo-Nazi redneck, an air-brained mother-of-two and George the security guard (Mykelti Williamson doing his best Scatman Crothers impersonation). Nick sees the collapse and gets his pals Hunt and Janet and his girlfriend Lori out before the whole thing comes down. If you've seen any of the other movies (and you don't have to to get this one, or any of the other ones) then you know what happens next: Death's design comes to pick them all off in some set ups that nicely showcase the 3-D – impalings, projectiles and poorly-stored flammables - all serve to enhance the experience.

David R Ellis returns to the series as director, having helmed Final Destination 2 (for mine, the second-weakest instalment) and a couple of pretty good subsequent features, including Snakes on a Plane and Asylum. But this is a pretty poor effort. It's worthless, trashy filmmaking of a supreme order. The kills are set up purely for the 3-D element: sure, they're cool, (anyway, it's the raison-d'être of a Final Destination movie for the deaths to be stylish and inventive), but I'd be inclined to say they only really work in the 3-D format. And they do: the layering is obvious but I definitely got a kick out of it, notwithstanding the ridiculous Harry Potterite glasses I had to don to watch it.

The film is brief at 81 minutes but it feels much longer – Eric Bress's screenplay is exceptionally weak and the narrative and dialogue only exists as feeble bridges between the next fatality. Oddly, the worst film in the series was also the most commercially successful, and, at time of writing, it has hauled a few hundred thou shy of $156 million, recouping its $40 million budget and blowing the second-most successful instalment, the first's, $122 million takings out of the water. No doubt this has a lot to do with the 3-D element and the fact that this is horror squarely marketed at the late-high school, predominantly male demographic, with its crowd-pleasing violence and intriguing hook that was very stale by the time the third movie's credits had rolled.

This is a very short review but I think it's done sufficient justice to the film. In sum, there just isn't much left to talk about. The concept of Final Destination was brilliant (I was a big fan of the first (in concept) and the third (in execution)) but it requires something very new and very gripping for it to be recycled a third time. Ellis and Bress don't bring any original features to the fore. 2 Australias may seem generous for The Final Destination given that I've afforded it a fairly broad lambasting, but keep in mind this was Your Humble Reviewer's first Real-D 3-D experience: I'll revisit it on DVD, like the overly tolerant genre pleb that I am, but I'm predicting a little Australia will be gratefully shorn afterwards.
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