Saturday, February 27, 2010
In the delicious 2000 film FINAL DESTINATION, 'The 'Omen'--like setup, (a grisly death every 15 minutes or so), rolls along like a funhouse ride.
Here's one that won't be shown on transcontinental flights anytime soon. FINAL DESTINATION, a great piece of cinematic junk food, opens with one of the most frightening depictions of airplane disaster you've ever seen, and if you can get past that, you'll be shoveling the popcorn in, begging for more.
Devon Sawa and his really white classmates board a plane for an end-of-the-year field trip. Among them are Dawson's Creek star Kerr Smith as your garden-variety jock jerk and Ali Larter as that most head-scratching of movie constructs, the gorgeous geek who's obviously the coolest chick in school. Sawa has a vision of the aircraft going up in flames, so of course he causes a scene and gets himself, his buddy, Smith, Smith's girlfriend, Seann William Scott and a teacher thrown off. Larter follows -- because she's got second billing -- and Smith throws a hissy fit until they see the plane become a fireball in mid-air. Sawa rationally concludes that they were all supposed to die, and that Death will soon be tracking them down.
Is he psychic? The movie doesn't seem to care, so why should we?
And here's where we get down to the nitty gritty: Death dispatches pouty starlets and mouth-breathers with a creativity we haven't seen since Jason Voorhees left the cineplex. A groovy variation on the teen-slasher movie, FINAL DESTINATION turns even the most mundane household items into torture devices. Director James Wong has a blast making us second-guess what he'll use to off his characters, and we wouldn't dream of spoiling any of the jolts for you. It's also nice to see a post-SCREAM thriller get laughs not from a more-ironic-than-thou aesthetic, but from horror-movie camp laid on as thick as your grandma's fruitcake. (Seconds after a friend is decapitated, a straight-faced Larter tells Sawa, "Get your head together!")
The DVD extras play like a slumber party, with kooky interactive games helpfully revealing the date of your death (to the hour) and the amount of clairvoyant ability you possess, as well as the story of a real-life psychic! (Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme.) On a more intriguing note, the filmmakers include a documentary about the test-screening process, and how it saved FINAL DESTINATION from being as pretentious as the latest Michelle Pfeiffer snooze-fest. We're all for directors keeping their work pure, but let's get real: no one would mistake FINAL DESTINATION for an art film. It is, however, loads of trashy fun.
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