Death is coming for us all. We don’t know how, we don’t know when, but we sure know it is. The early 2000s horror franchise Final Destination proffered a way out of this, explaining how a select few could be handed an unlikely second chance per the guidance of a premonition or “a feeling”, but over the course of five feature films spanning eleven years taught us that no matter how momentary such a respite from our inevitable fate may be, we are all destined for the other side one way or another. Through sunbeds or explosions, falling signs or barbed wire fences, death will have its way.
First brought to the screen by screenwriter-director-producer James Wong, who had made a name for himself on the immensely successful TV series ‘The X Files’ throughout the 1990s, Final Destination offered an evolution on the typical monster movie, the invisible threat of death itself taking the place of a well-worn hockey mask and opening up the possibility of the series producing some of the most surprising, the most inventive and the most spectacular deaths in all of cinema. While the five-part franchise perhaps never lived up to its full potential, it remains a staple of 2000s horror and a much beloved franchise for many.
In this edition of Ranked, we’re peering through our fingers at dozens of gruesome cinematic deaths to rank the 5 Final Destination movies from worst to best in this: Final Destination Movies Ranked.
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5. The Final Destination (2009)
Released in the height of the 3D-movie boom, 2009’s The Final Destination offered the most significant drop off in quality the franchise ever experienced, this fourth entry into the series substituting classic horror movie techniques and a trustworthy formula of segmented tension, build up and then death for something altogether less accomplished.
Here, the franchise’s trademark opening scene of tension and remarkably gruesome pay off was substituted for a timely rock-pop song and ill-timed jokes interspersed with some stock car racing. From the first scene it is clear that the budget has been slashed and that the studio pushed ahead with the film more as a cash grab than because they had any semblance of a good idea. The acting is distractingly woeful from the off, the dialogue unrealistic and no better than your average undergraduate screenwriting class member’s practice project, and worse still, it looks horrible.
To fit the mantra of your typical 3D movie experience, the death scenes in The Final Destination are your cheesy “object flies into the camera” shots time and time again, whether it be a wrench, a wheel or a burst of blood. And to make sure you can see everything that’s going on, the frame is bare (aside from the very centre of it) and the colour palette beige and boring. Final Destination never looked so utterly bland.
With deaths being more like punchlines to jokes than entertaining or gruesome, and a number of moments where the very basics of filmmaking are ignored (such as the 180 degree rule), The Final Destination is that special kind of trash that makes you wonder how in the world it ever got made; the kind of terrible B-Movie lacking all the sense, technique and creativity of the average studio release.
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