I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before. It goes something like, “If you’ve seen one film involving a surplus of loose load bearing screws and kids in their early 20’s about to get murked by insanely complicated coincidences, you’ve seen them all.” The latest “Final Destination” entry proves that making generic films with a strong brand name is still good business. And if Don Draper has taught me anything, besides how to have an outrageous amount of sex with secretaries, it’s that once people are hooked on a product they will stop at nothing to consume it – no matter how bad it is for them.
The franchise all boils down to a few core elements. First, someone in a large group of people has to doze off. Like right before a trip to Paris or during a Nascar event. Ya know, sleep events like those. Oh, and the more they look like Devon Sawa the better. And if there are no Sawa look-alikes around, a hot chick with minimal acting talents will do. Next, a tiny butterfly effect-like event, like someone batting an eyelash, triggers a shit storm of carnage and the deaths of everyone. At this point the dozer wakes up (Psyche! Nobody really died!) and realizes that, OH SHIT, the events from their dream are about to unfold. They rush to get everyone to safely just seconds before the dream comes true. This really pisses of Death. For serious. Death is so pissed he goes out and wrecks a hotel room and punches a baby in face. To emphasize just how pissed Death is, Tony Todd (Candyman, Hatchet II) jumps in and almost always says, “Death is a BAAAAAAAAAAD mother fucker! You shouldn’t fuck with death.” But his pleas fall on deaf and mostly likely soon to be decapitated ears.
Yes, each movie is full of disposable characters that must be… disposed of. This is the main draw of the franchise. This also provides Death a creative outlet to work his magic. Cancer and heart attacks are just soooo boring. For example in FD5, Death really outdoes himself with an early kill. At a gymnastic practice, Death sets up a kill scene that sums up just how much of a MacGyver he really is when it comes to killing peeps. In fact, I caught him talking to a friend about that exact kill and was able to capture for posterity sake.
Death: Alright, so first I drip a little water next to a plugin for starters. Get things going. Then I dropped a screw onto a balance beam with the pointy end up. Shit gonna hurt when someone steps on it. Then I let the girl I plan on killing do a whole performance on the balance beam, coming precariously close to stepping on the screw on several occasions. But I let her off.”
Death’s Friend: What? You let her off? What about the water and the screw?
Death: Oh, just you wait. Okay, so my target moves over to the single bar thingy. The one they go around circles on. Gets all the perves real excited in the crotchal region. Okay, so she’s flying around the bar and another girl gets on the balance beam. She does a back flip and BAM lands with all her weight right on the screw. And believe me. That shit hurt. She falls off and tips over a giant thing of hand powder.
Death’s Friend: Same stuff that LeBron uses before basketball games?
Death: Yep. So, the powder creates a zero visibility situation for the girl on the bar. She goes flying off awkwardly and lands on her neck, snapping that shit in two and breaking some legs for good measure! Muahaaahhhaaaa!
Death’s Friend: What about the water?
Death: Goddamn it! You’re missing the point. That was just a red herring.
This is what it’s come down to. Death can’t even be straight up with his kills. He’s gotta use fake outs to get a rise out of the audience. Which I think is the only reason people still go. To try to figure out the little clever (yet insane) ways death decides to off his victims. You see a broken gas line, an old sketchy boiler, and a rope hanging down and your brain goes to work trying to piece it together. I just don’t buy that as a reason to watch a bunch of cardboard characters that I mostly hope die terrible deaths. Just give me a three-minute YouTube video with all the death scenes and call it good. It’s the same one trick pony that “Saw” rode into the dirt, but at least there is a story that unfurled over the course of the franchise (no matter how ridiculous). Here, it just the same damn thing again with a fresh coat of 3D paint. Blech.
Which reminds me…
Approximately one minute into the film I realized that I had already seen this film four other times, liking it much less each time. The formula is so stagnant that I dozed off and dreamed that I was watching an original stand-alone horror movie only to awaken and realize that four more people still needed to be murdered before FD5 was over. Which was the true nightmare.
Snore Factor: ZZZZ