When Death Comes a Knocking
Despite being utter nonsense I quite like "Final Destination", it moves along at a decent pace, has a good array of shocks and just enough graphical gore to make it stand out with out coming over as porn for the sadistic. Even the fact that it's just another horror about a bunch of doomed teenagers and that the plot has more holes than a shower head, none of this really bothers me as it is very entertaining for the right reasons.
When Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has a premonition that the plane he's about to jet off on a school trip is going to go up in flames, he has a panic attack and gets himself and a few of his friends kicked off it. Shockingly, the plane explodes just as in his premonition. When the small group of seemingly lucky survivors begin to mysteriously die one by one, the remaining survivors lead by Alex must try to discover what is going on before they join those who turned out not to be so lucky as death comes a knocking.
Well let's get the negatives out the way with straight away; "Final Destination" is utter predictable nonsense where we see a group of teenagers getting picked off one by one just as you see in countless other horror movies. On top of this the plot is riddled with holes and although the concept of death having a design is interesting the gaps do it no favours. But there you go that's the negatives done with and now onto all that I liked about "Final Destination".
Well firstly has to be that we all have a pre destined time to die and if somehow you manage to cheat death it will come and seek you out. Well it's utter twaddle but makes for an interesting storyline and a nice change to have death looming down on these teenagers rather than a deranged chainsaw carrier. In fact some of the ideas surrounding death seeking out those death cheaters are very clever and provide for some imaginative scenes where death gets its revenge. But it is utter nonsense and going back to the negative briefly, "Final Destination" requires that you take a lot for granted especially that one of the teenagers is somehow chosen to receive premonitions over who dies and also how he miraculously pieces together the facts to who will die next. As I said it's utter twaddle but at times very clever twaddle.
Plus of course you have all the death scenes and "Final Destination" feels like a forerunner to the gore fests which are the "Saw" movies as the means of death are as imaginative and convoluted as those now infamous "Saw" torture scenes. The thing is with the deaths in "Final Destination" is that you know it's coming and there are red herrings everywhere to who is about to die and more importantly in what macabre way, will it be a slip on a pair of scissors, electrocution from a power switch or something else. Well often it's something else something which is not so easy to predict but that's what makes "Final Destination" that bit more entertaining, if watching death can be classed as entertaining, it doesn't deliver the obvious and doesn't mind being far fetched in dispatching its poor cast. Despite being shocking visual the actual gruesomeness of the deaths in "Final Destination" feel quite tame compared to modern standards of torture delivered by various horrors.
But it's not just all about the visual shocks as "Final Destination" delivers good old fashioned shocks as well, a sudden noise at a door, a bang on the window etc etc all are done perfectly to make you jump when the unexpected happens. I enjoyed this aspect so much in fact I like being scared by the unexpected a lot more than watching something which is intentionally visually shocking.
Then of course the performances, well unlike some critics I didn't find any of them a disappointment. Devon Sawa and Ali Larter do a decent job of providing lead performances which keep you interested and the rest of the cast which includes Seann William Scott of "American Pie" fame all do an equally good job of playing stereotypical teenagers, the sort that are common place in many horrors. They are all what you would expect, most of them are easily dispensable when death comes a knocking and provide various elements such as comedy, jock etc etc. What more do you really expect for a teen horror.
What this all boils down to is that despite a few critics ridiculing "Final Destination" for being over the top rubbish I like it. It may not satisfy those with a lust for visual gore but it is at times clever and mixes traditional style shocks with modern delivering an overall entertaining movie. Well let's be honest it spawned sequel after sequel so it must be doing something right.