Final Destination Final Destination

dir James Wong
scr Glen Morgan, James Wong, Jeffrey Reddick
with Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Daniel Roebuck, Roger Guenveur Smith, Kristen Cloke, Seann William Scott, Chad E Donella, Amanda Detmer, Tony Todd, Lisa Marie Caruk, Christine Chatelain
NewLine 00/US 3Ω out of 5 stars

Review by Rich Cline
One of the more original teen thrillers, Final Destination toys with themes of fate and destiny as it pits a group of teens against the Grim Reaper himself when they cheat death. It's an adrenaline-fuelled film full of big jolts, black humour and a nicely building sense of foreboding and dread. And it's very slickly made--in many ways it feels like The X-Files 90210 (indeed, director-cowriter Wong has written several X-Files episodes).

Alex (Sawa) has a series of premonitions before joining his high school French class on a flight from New York to Paris, then just as the final passengers are boarding he has a vision of the plane exploding on takeoff. He wigs out and is thrown off the aircraft with a teacher (Cloke) and five other students: his best friend (Donella), a loner (Carter), a jock (Scott), and a tough guy (Smith) and his girlfriend (Detmer). Then the plane explodes, and as the survivors cope with their luck, Death himself comes back to get them, one by one, in increasingly clever, complicated ways.

Wong obviously is enjoying himself as he builds the film's portentous mood within each scene, dropping hints with evil glee about the next bit of (very!) gruesome horror ... and just as frequently shocking us with something sudden and unexpected. There are references to death everywhere (all the characters bear the names of horror filmmakers), with fate represented by wind, rain, fire, blood, shadows and John Denver tunes. And there's even a creepy mortician (Todd) on hand to explain everything. The young cast is very watchable as they work their way through what is essentially yet another teen slasher film, but Wong nicely gets inside Alex's head to make it more intriguing--and horrifying--than most. And a lot more fun as well.

[18--strong violence, themes, language] 3.Apr.00
US release 17.Mar.00; UK release 19.May.00


~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~

"I thought that the film was excellent. Great effects, great script, yet it could have had more thought-provoking incidences and ideas. The cast was well put together and you had the idea that they clicked on and off screen. The unexpected way each character died became brilliant too. The film is an 18, which I thought was high, as I was only 12 when I saw it at home after renting it to see with my friend. It could've been a 15, but there were several scenes which where rather gory and even though I am now 14, I still have to hide behind a pillow to watch! One of the death scenes is funny, where Terry walks out into the middle of the road and gets hit by a bus. Tod getting strangled by the dental floss, which is probably so unlikely that it is scary, is a cool scene in the film too! Can't think of what else to say!" --Heather, net 10.Jan.03

Send in your review!
© 2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall