In the second of the new series taking a retrospective look on an entire series of films, I focus my attentions on the popular Final Destination franchise.
This incredibly successful series of five films thrilled cinema-goers from 2000, right up until 2011 when the final instalment (for now) was released. The future of the franchise however is looking uncertain with no official announcements about a 6th edition since late 2011.
Warner Bros. may be missing a trick with this however as each film in the series has been commercially successful. The five films as a whole have grossed over $650million worldwide on a total budget of $150million. Without further ado, let’s see how this franchise holds up to scrutiny. Oh, and feel free to check out the first in the series, Jurassic Park. Be warned, this article contains some gory images.
Released 17 years ago in March 2000, Final Destination revolutionised the teen-slasher genre for 00s after Scream did so well for the 90s generation of horror buffs.
The premise was perfectly realised as high-school students tried their best to cheat death after a horrific disaster. The plane sequence in this film still holds up today and remains one of the best horror moments in the last couple of decades.
The acting on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. Though a young Devon Sawa was a magnetic leading presence.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Final Destination 2
With a slick filming style and better characters, Final Destination 2 improved on its predecessor in almost every way.
The main disaster, a stunning motorway pile-up, is filmed to an exceptional standard with very little in the way of CGI and this makes way for more inventive deaths that have become talking points for fans of the franchise and converts alike.
Taking a more mythical approach, the violence comes thick and fast and this remains the second best edition of the series.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Final Destination 3
Unfortunately, Final Destination 3 was an absolute disaster. What’s even more of a shame was that the incredibly talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead had to suffer through such an ordeal.
Moving away from the series’ horror roots and opting for a campy, horror-comedy vibe doesn’t sit well and the tasteless reference to 9/11 only sours the film further.
The main disaster, a rollercoaster accident, is reasonably inventive but lacks the exceptional practical effects that made the motorway pile-up in Final Destination 2 so deliciously enjoyable to watch.
The Final Destination
Touted to be the last film in the series, The Final Destination is even more disappointing than its predecessor and thankfully not the final outing for the franchise.
Utilising sloppy 3D effects that cheapened the film’s look was a bad move by director David R. Ellis and even the main disaster was uninspiring to watch – a NASCAR race just didn’t cut it after already having a vehicular disaster in Final Destination 2. The climax however, staged in a cinema, is incredibly clever.
Add to this some truly dreadful acting and awful dialogue and it makes for a low-point that thankfully was reversed just two years later. Unbelievably, this was also the most successful of the series.
Final Destination 5
Steven McQuale comes to the series for the first time and makes by far the biggest impact. With a beautifully filmed main disaster taking place on a suspension bridge, Final Destination 5 is unusually, the high-point in the franchise.
With decent acting and a clever twist on the story that won’t be spoilt here, it’s the definitive option for fans of the series and a film you can watch again and again without losing the enjoyment.
Negatives? Well, there’s some cheap 3D effects, but that doesn’t really matter too much at home and the attempts at humour fall flat for the most part, but this is right up there with the original for sheer entertainment.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Do you have a favourite film from the Final Destination series? Let me know in the box below.