New Line
MSRP: $16.99
RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes

The Pitch

Death works in mysterious ways…again.

The Humans

Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Haley Webb, Nick Zano, Mykelti Williamson, Andrew Fiscella, Krista Allen, Justin Welborn, Jackson Walker, Stephanie Honore, Lara Grice, Phil Austin

The Nutshell

Nick O’Bannon (Campo) is at a motor speedway with his friends when he sees a terrifyingly vivid vision of of how they and a number of other people are going to die when there’s a violent multi-car crash on the track.  His actions succeed in saving several of them…for the moment at least.  Soon thereafter, Death sets to work reclaiming those that escaped him and it’s up to Nick and his friends to try to find a way to stave off the inevitable.

“Ali?  Yeah, it’s Bobby.  Hey, you’re never going to guess what these numbnuts consider a clever tie in to your movie…”

The Lowdown

In a word, disappointing.  This new (and reportedly last) installment brings absolutely nothing new to the table, and incorporates so many cliches, both within the series and outside of it, that it’s practically like being handed a program with all of the plays scripted ahead of the football game.  The series up to now had been a hoot in terms of inventive and generally inevitable deaths.  The Rube Goldberg nature to the kills was always a highlight and the mix of dark humor and sudden and violent carnage perpetrated on the characters was the signature of the franchise.  The Final Destination does have a couple of good kills, but those are overshadowed by the utter lack of willingness to try anything new or expand the mythology and merely coast on the franchise’s laurels.

Some things are definitely better in 3D than others.

It also helps little that the four young main leads have little to no the presence nor anything that makes you care whether they live or die.  The only one that even remotely stands out is Nick Zano as asshole rich kid Hunt Wynorski.  But his asshole-ishness is something that you’ve seen a million times in a million other horror flicks.  One or two Ryan Phillippe roles immediately come to mind.  Although admittedly, we get a nice up close and personal view of the inside of said bunghole via a pool drainage pump that was a little cringe-worthy.  As for Campo, VanSanten and Webb, none of them did anything to make me think they should have been little more than extras in a Scream flick. 

“Wow, uh, I’m really not comfortable with this prop, Mykelti.  Are you?”
“It’s a paycheck…”

And it’s funny that Scream does come to mind, because Destination seems very content to run down that film’s horror film playbook step by step.  We get VanSanten parading around in her undies, Zano banging some random broad not long before his offing, a ckunky one-liner from Krista Allen right before her telegraphed dispatching, and several boilerplate scenes from the franchise, the likes of which had about as much tension as the elastic in a pair of worn-out BVDs.  You could be guaranteed that anytime there was a wide shot of one or more characters, they weren’t long for this world.  Also, probably the most glaring indicator of the fact that it’s a good thing that this is the possibly the last installment of this franchise is that they rehash a previous death in the form of one character playing chicken with an ambulance without a car. 

There are probably a couple of guys out there that would still hit that.

What this film is also lacking as a whole is just the sense of dread that the first couple of films managed to instill and the presence of Death itself, however ethereal it may have been.  Once the opening crash sets things up, it’s a virtual conveyor belt of deaths of people that had little to no establishment and thus no significance.  There’s also no scope of things to be put into perspective by Tony Todd’s mortician character, Bludworth, from the first two films; and aspects of the goings-on such as not being able to die until it’s one’s time, in this case for Mykelti Williamson’s security guard, are glossed over as the film clips away in its brisk 82-minute pace. 

But overall, what disappoints most is that concepts opened up in
FD2 remain unexplored and expanded upon, not only in this film but also in FD3
Most notably, that the fates of people who died in previous
installments are directly related to the fates of the ones currently
dying, and that there may in fact be a way to cheat Death’s plan by
dying voluntarily and then being revived, as A.J. Cook’s character
Kimberly did in the second film.  Also, and it’s been a while since I
saw the first film, a little explanation as to why O’Bannon, like Devon
Sawa’s Alex, Cook from FD2, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Wendy from FD3
get these premonitions in the first place would be welcome, even as
background or set up.  What’s the rhyme or reason is in the first
place?  Are they special?  Is some higher power at work here trying to
offset Death?

“I don’t know if I can handle all this death around us, man.  How are you coping?”
“I saw Jon-Erik Hexum off himself…”

In terms of the dispatchings themselves, some of them are quite juicy, like one characters getting fenced in and another getting up close and personal with the inner workings of an escalator (although not really).  I found quite a bit to like about the first three films, but this one signifies that maybe it’s time the franchise got exploded or run over or whatever demise is handy.

The Package

The 2D transfer of the film does look pretty good, but the much-touted 3D version certainly doesn’t deliver what was available in theatres, even on a plasma
After about 10 minutes I went down a dimension and didn’t feel like I was missing much, especially the headache I was getting.  Sound is fine in Dolby 5.1, with available English and Spanish subtitles.  The only special feature is a collection of nine deleted scenes, some of which probably could have remained in the film, totaling about seven minutes.  And there’s the neat lenticular DVD cover.  Fun for the kids.

5.9 out of 10