Death is everywhere, it’s inevitability and mandatory finality frustrate most if not all our endeavours. Yet it gives our existences meaning. But it’s been the goal or at least a dream of many to circumvent this process. In the year 2000, we got to see what would happen if we bucked that trend and brought ourselves a little more time, as we venture far beyond our Final Destination.
While boarding an aeroplane trip to France, young student Alex Browning has a deadly premonition about the flight crashing, his panicked behaviour gets him, and a couple of members kicked off the flight. Only to see the rest of them die horribly as the events become true. Surviving this crash obviously has spooked Browning and the other survivors, as the grief allegedly gets to them in the form of grisly suicides. As Browning looks further into these incidents, he realises that death maybe after the survivors one-by-one.
The film introduces us to a varied band of survivors, this is an essential part of a horror movie and Final Destination delivers here. 90s heartthrob Devon Sawa plays our hero Alex Browning, and horror veteran Ali Larter as concerned but loyal friend Clear River. The duo makes a great team, as Browning and River try to convince such fellow teens as Billy Hitchcock (played by 2000s staple Seann William Scott) that they are literally living on borrowed time. But we are also introduced to the creepy omniscient Mortician played perfectly by Tony Todd. A guy who knows a lot more than he lets on and is a constant and beloved presence throughout all the Final Destination films.
From its look, Final Destination stands apart from its successors, its deaths aren’t as gruesome but with the oh-so early 2000s fashion feels more in common with slasher films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The pre 9/11 airport security and other quaint styles and fashions help ground the film thoroughly in its time, and while this franchise shines as a series, it does reinforce the idea of how different from its sequels the first movie is, and how much of a great stand-alone piece the film really is.
With the first Final Destination, we are witnessing a bold first step, a roll of the dice that would pay off dividends far in the future. And much like this franchise, the makers will go on to learn from it and create bolder and better from that knowledge. A lot is different at the starting off point. But as a first step, it’s an interesting concept that is played out. That will leave you satisfied even if it was the only one of the series you saw, but thankfully, Final Destination is just the beginning of our journey and there are a lot more deaths to rectify.
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