Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Final Destination (2000)

Final Destination (2000) Dir. by James Wong

After a teenager has a terrifying vision of him and his friends dying in a plane crash, he prevents the accident only to have Death hunt them down, one by one.

Before James Wong was lending his talents to producing one of the best new shows on television, The Event, he was filming insanely bad films in the 2000's, but that wasn't how his career started off. Before Jet Li's The One, and before that monstrosity of a film Dragonball: Evolution, there was a film that brought true terror to the big screen in a way most had not seen. Final Destination was his feature film debut, and it came like a hurricane sweeping the horror film business by storm. With an all-star ensemble cast, and top notch special effects, it truly was a great film to witness. It is a shame that it has been destroyed by so many sequels that just can't live up to the original, but we all know that is usually the way it happens.

The cast is headed up by late 90's heart throb Devon Sawa (who brought us such amazing films like Night of the Twisters and Idle Hands), and he is on the top of his game with Final Destination. Only in a movie like this can blatant overacting be accepted because of the treacherous circumstances. How would you act if Death was after you? Playing his counterpart, so to speak, is Kerr Smith (My Bloody Valentine, The Forsaken), who until about five or six years ago was just known to me as the guy from Dawson's Creek. Now a well establish actor, with versatile roles, I respect his acting ability. However, when Final Destination came out he WAS the guy from Dawson's Creek, and that is one more thing that brought in the viewers. Who can forget the leading lady, Ali Larter. She has done more extremely entertaining bad movies than I can count, including: House on Haunted Hill, Varsity Blues (guilty pleasure), American Outlaws (AWESOME movie), the last two Resident Evil movies, and of course the best TV show to get cancelled in the last few years, Heroes! She clearly brings that star quality to the screen, and does a really good job in her performance as Clear Rivers. To top it off, you have horror film legend, Tony Todd, the all knowing of all things death character. Then you throw in two more well established actors with Sean William Scott and Amanda Detmer, and you have one hell of a movie.

That is exactly what I get every time I watch Final Destination, One Hell of a Movie. It is a shame that James Wong essential faded away from feature films, but he is doing really well with his show, so he probably isn't complaining. The best part about Final Destination is the overall feel. The movie is insanely creepy, and I remember feeling like death was following me for like a month afterwards. A broomstick hit the floor and I thought it was triggering some elaborate mousetrap of items that would ultimately end in my timely demise. That wasn't the case of course as I type this to you right now, but it was very scary at the time. The death scenes were extremely original, and gory before gory was a lame standard. The best part about the first viewing was you had no clue when someone was going to die, and Wong exploited that by having several scenes where although you were watching death do his dirty work, you didn't know how it was going to end. It was like watching a long chain of dominoes falling. In a way, you are actually told who is going to die next, but just don't know how it is going to happen.

In a couple of decades filled with masked killers with kitchen utensils, Final Destination is a fun, original, sometimes funny, yet scary film that is stand alone among horror films. Just the fact that you get to watch Death do his dirty work is a blast. I will always cherish this film, and revisit it many times.

Entertainment Value: 9 out of 10 untimely deaths for Sean William Scott
Cinematic Value: 9 out of 10 untimely deaths for Sean William Scott

1 comment:

Emily said...

Yup, love this movie and the whole series. They get progressively sillier with each sequel, but that's fine by me. I will disagree about Ali Larter though. I understand that she's an attractive young woman and all, but I think she has about as much charisma as a granola bar and seems incredibly miscast here as the smart weird girl. I just don't buy it (or her in just about any movie I've ever seen her in!).