Final Destination


Directed by: James Wong
Written by:Glen Morgan
Starring: Devon Sawa, Kerr Smith, Ali Larter, Seann William Scott
Released: April 13, 2000
Grade: B

“In death there are no accidents.....no coincidences....and no escape”.

Death is great subject for movies but doesn’t often get deserving treatment.  Final Destination revolves around the theory that death has a design in that it decides when it’s your time and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

There’s a great line during the movie when Alex (Sawa) talks to Clear (Larter) and talks about that one event that sets off the chain.  We’ve all thought about it and many of us have come very close and been none the wiser.  To use an obvious example, look at plane crashes.  Hundreds of people can die in an instant but what of that person who was running late and missed the plane?  It happens.

In Final Destination, a group of 40 students and 4 teachers set off on a high-school field trip to France.  Leading up to the flight, Alex is uncomfortable and upon boarding the plane has a graphic premonition that the plane will explode just after take off.  Freaking out, he gets into a fight with another student, Carter (Smith) and in all, 7 students and a teacher get removed from the flight.

Sure enough the plane goes down but those saved are far from thankful.  One by one, each is killed off in unusual circumstances.  Death had decided that it was their time and since they cheated the design it’s coming back to finish its work.

It’s probably a shame that such a good idea was turned into a teen thriller flick.  Screenwriter Glen Morgan takes the subject matter far too seriously to be acted by a young cast.  Devon Sawa was surprising good in his emotional leading role but the rest were unconvincing.  I would love to have seen this film with more accomplished actors and a better script.

The surprising plus was the direction of first-timer James Wong - it’s great!  His use of close ups, film editing and camera techniques really heighten the suspense.  All the death scenes are beautifully crafted.  You know they’re going to die but you just don’t know how and trust me, they come up with some pretty creative ways.

It’s certainly better than your average teen movie but again falls down with moronic dialogue.  It seems like I say this about every movie but people just don’t talk like this.  When Alex’s best friend Chad is killed, his first reaction is to tell Chad’s parents that it wasn’t his fault.  Why would you say something like that?  Beats me.

You’re not going to find Final Destination in an in-flight movie brochure so as long as you’re not flying anywhere soon, it’s worth a look.  It’s hard to believe but as far as the human race has advanced over the last 10,000 odd years, we’re still no closer to finding out what is on the other side.  But don’t worry, death will see you soon.