The Final Destination (review)

Death Porn 2009

You know how if you look close at a bottle of those high-fructose-loaded, chemically colored “fruit-juice” drinks you find that disclaimer: “Contains no juice”? We need a label like that for movies: “Contains no movie.” G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra would have gotten that label. And so would The Final Destination, a quite literal waste of celluloid.
There’s no plot here, no characters — the young, bland cast barely register as human, never mind as actors performing a story — just a series of gleefully depicted gruesome deaths. As in the other pointless installments in this franchise after the first just-about-defensible one, a group of people escape death thanks to a premonition that removes them from danger at the last moment, and then, because they’ve angered the universe by “cheating” death, they must be killed in other ways to balance the tally, preferably ways even more horrific than the one they missed. Director David R. Ellis — who also perpetrated Final Destination 2 as well as Snakes on a Plane — wants to tease and titillate the audience by creating a would-be orgasmic buildup to each grisly rending of a human body, and also obviously hopes we’ll get an additional frisson of pleasure from how “clever” each fatality is.

And because of the whole premonition idea — someone sees the deaths in all their gory glory before they happen — Ellis gets to kill his meatbag pawns with impunity, then rewind and build up and tease and titillate and do it all again.

Plus, this one’s in 3D, so in addition to obnoxious product placement that’s even more in-your-face than ever, you get bits of bone and flesh and splatters of blood getting thrown at you, too. You pay extra for this privilege of 3D, of course, which means that, in my case, I paid $16 for a “movie” that’s only 75 minutes long (not counting the end credits, but counting the opening ones). Not that I would wish for the movie to be any longer, you see: I wish they’d never made it at all. But what a scam, getting people to pay a premium for a “movie” that’s barely even movie length. It’s evil genius.

It’s death porn, pure and simple, and though I’d like to say it’s hard to imagine anyone actually getting a thrill from this, the midnight crowd I saw the film with was having a ball. And the filmmakers know precisely what they’re doing: they must, when the script — by Eric Bress (The Butterfly Effect) — features characters noting that it’s “sick” to attend an event, such as the NASCAR-type race at which that first death orgy occurs, because you expect to see violence, explosions, and bloody mayhem. If this is meant to somehow excuse the film — hey, it’s just human nature to want to see people die! — it does not succeed in doing so.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that we are all far too removed from reality that something like this repulsive movie can be presented as entertainment. I wonder how much “fun” anyone who’s ever been on a battlefield or witnessed an urban suicide bombing would find this.

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