Movie Review: The Final Destination (3D) (2009)


The fourth instalment in the Final Destination franchise, simply titled The Final Destination, is pretty much what it looks like – more mindless, gruesome, outrageous deaths – but this time, in glorious 3D.

When reviewing a film like this, expectations need to be kept in perspective.  Let’s face it, if you’ve seen any of the previous three films of the series or seen the previews, you know very well what you’re in for.  It’s as though all the writers did was sit around a table and come up with a list of the most creative and gory ways for a person to die, then try and link them together into a semi-coherent storyline.  The aim was essentially to utilise the 3D technology to elicit shocks in the most efficient manner (ie, with sharp objects and projectiles coming at you).  You know those 10-15 minute 3D/4D films you see at theme parks which are fun while they last?  Well, The Final Destination is like one of those, except a lot longer, a lot cheesier, and with a lot more blood and guts.

The good thing about The Final Destination is that it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.  The first couple of films in the series were more serious, but by now they have accepted that it’s all quite farcical.  The storyline and dialogue is almost intentionally bad, and most of the deaths are ridiculously over the top and tongue-in-cheek.  As usual, the writers have been very creative in coming up with some rather clever (albeit entirely impossible) ‘accidents’.    Throw in a bunch of attractive young up-and-coming actors (Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano and Haley Webb), a couple of B-grade stars (Mykelti Williamson and Krista Allen), some skimpy clothing and gratuitous nudity, and that’s the film in a nutshell.

That said, this doesn’t necessarily mean the film is good.  Or enjoyable for that matter.  In focusing entirely on utilising the 3D effects and outdoing previous deaths, the movie forgot to be suspenseful – the reason why its predecessors were successful.  There were essentially two major problems.  First, the deaths were more likely to generate laughter than screams.  The film was definitely more ‘shock’ comedy than suspense horror-thriller.  They could have tried to accomplish both but the build-up was completely devoid of tension.

Secondly, the predictability made it tedious.  To be fair, they tried to make things slightly more interesting by tossing in a bunch of false alarms and red herrings to keep the audience guessing – but rest assured, you knew what was inevitably coming.  Watching the film became an exercise in speculating how the next person was going to die.  If they survive this time, big deal.  They’ll die sooner or later, just in another way.  You don’t care what happens because you become numb to it all.

I must also mention that out of the four films in the franchise, this one had the worst introductory ‘accident’ to set things in motion.  We’ve had a plane crash, a big car crash and a roller-coaster crash, all of which were quite suspenseful and/or spectacular (in my opinion), but sadly this one wasn’t either.  When you think about it, if it weren’t for the 3D gimmick, it’s hard to imagine that The Final Destination would have been made at all.

So there you have it.  If you’re after a couple of hours of brainless, adolescent silliness, The Final Destination could very well satisfy that craving – in 3D, no less.  But if you’re looking a little bit more than that, chances are the movie will disappoint.

2 stars out of 5!

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