Buggles review

Final Destination

Director: James Wong
Starring: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, Amanda Detmer, Sean W. Scott and Chad Donella

Make no mistake about it, Final Destination is one of the best horror films in recent years.

I realize how patently absurd that sounds. There is nothing from the outward appearance of Final Destination that would make it seem to stand out from the host of recent teen scare flicks we've been exposed to. (The Scream series, I Saw What You Did Last Summer etc) But somehow... this film does it. IT FREAKS YOU OUT! In a way that harks back to the best era of teen fright flicks: the late seventies to middle eighties period that brought about the unapologetic brutality of Halloween, the early Friday the 13th films and the clown prince of evil, Freddy Krueger

Final Destination's premise is simple and easy to follow. Alex Browning, played with a sympathetic amateurishness by Devon Sawa, boards a plane heading towards France with his high school class. While waiting on the runway he has a vision of the plan's impending mid air explosion in a film sequence that does for air travel what JAWS did for swimming. Only this is more frightening because it's so uncomfortably real. You can't help but realize this must be almost exactly what it's like to be on a doomed aircraft. Scared out of his wits from his vision, Alex flees the airplane, starting a brawl that gets several of his classmates kicked off with him.

Of course the plane does explode, and the survivors realize that they've managed to cheat death. However, their luck doesn't hold of for long as they start to be dispatched one by one, in a series of "accidents" where death comes back to cut short their borrowed time. It's this premise that give Final Destination an unruly eerieness so rarely seen in horror films: the villain isn't a crazed maniac or spiritual demon, it's simply the final doorway that awaits all of us (though death in this film does have some very human, and at times, comical characteristics) You never see the bad guy, because there isn't one to see.

Granted, the "accidents" death uses to reclaim its victims become more and more absurd, to the degree that the last 30 minutes of the film will have you rolling your eyes quite often. And the underlying logic of the film, that you can cheat death, by following a few simple rules (one would think if death is coming for you, then, baby, you're gone) is rather farcical*. Nonetheless, based on the creativity of its premise alone this film deserves to become a cult classic, making its home on the Friday night celluloid of college campus for years to come.

*Actually, even the film admits the silliness of the proposition in it's ultimate ending.

Strictly for the morbidness of its domain name you should visit Final Destination's web site at http://www.deathiscoming.com

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