61 Days of Halloween: The Final Destination

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment, I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

The Final Destination

This is a film that is well-intentioned and has enough going for it that it nearly crosses the threshold making it a good film but it ultimately misses the mark. This, the 4th installment of the series, brings in an entirely new cast. There are spoilers herein.

One crucial mistake the film makes is to have two extensive vision sequences one that we only know is a vision when it’s done, which makes you wonder if the second was added so it would clock in at 82 minutes.
One great thing that this film does was that it spent a minimum amount of time in doubting both the visions and the concept of death’s path. As patrons of horror films and fans of this series we will accept both these concepts at face value and we don’t need to spend too much time on it.

Its failings are few but serious. Across the board the acting is pretty poor. The only performances of note both belong to characters who died too early: Nick Zano, as the crude cynical friend was quite funny, and Mykelti Williamson, one of the most under-utilized and anonymous Oscar winners ever isn’t great but good enough to make you wonder where he’s been.

Despite there being a decent string of kills there are some that are repetitive (bus) and just ineffective like the final kill which degenerates to humor instead of inducing it as it goes into closing credits. Again this series is predicated on anticipation of death and multiple possibilities to achieve it – so the sudden shock and uninventive don’t fly.

Ultimately, what’s lost is the psychological strain from the original that Devon Sawa demonstrated so well. It’s like a slasher film with an invisible killer and gratuitous sex, cursing and cheesy dialogue.

Also, the NASCAR scenario while offering flame, gore and a decent chuckle here and there isn’t as identifiable or as frightful a scenario as they’ve created. Perhaps the sequel which will follow after its 2nd consecutive box-office triumph will get back to grassroots (It didn’t).

The second extended vision sequence leads to the protagonist saving the day but it’s only for the time being and then the death at the close is unintentionally comedic and an anticlimax.

It’s a film unlike the last in the series that had the potential to be good but squandered it.

5/10

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