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Final Destination (2000)

No accidents. No coincidences. No escapes. You can’t cheat Death.

Directed by:

James Wong

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


There’s nothing like a brainless teen horror to fill a Friday night, particularly on the rare occasion you find one as enjoyable as this.

Directed and co-written by regular ‘X-Files’ pensmith James Wong, ‘Final Destination’ poses one question: what if Death (the capital ‘D’ seems appropriate here) has a pre-determined plan for all of us? Would we be able to cheat it? I know what you’re thinking – that’s two questions. But you get the idea.

Devon Sawa plays the semi-nerdy Alex, who’s about to head for Paris on a school field trip when suddenly he has a premonition involving the side of the plane falling off and everyone hurtling to their deaths. You get the immediate feeling he’s a glass-is-half-empty sort of fellow.

Unsurprisingly, given his slightly-unsettling screams of “we’re all doomed”, Alex, one of his teachers and five of his fellow students are chucked off the plane before take-off. Of course, he’s got every right to feel more than a little smug when the plane DOES blow up and the six others booted from the craft realise they’ve just had their lives saved. The only problem now is, the Grim Reaper’s less than chuffed about having his plans messed with – and they don’t call him “Grim” for nothing. Or “Reaper”, for that matter.

The character list – including the requisite cool guy, bimbo, and weird arty chick – reads like a who’s who of teen horror clichés, and the dialogue virtually drips with hot molten cheese. In fact, none of it ever strays far from the realms of stupidity, particularly when Alex attempts to philosophise about Death’s grand design.

But the running thread of ironic wit (with a definite nod in the direction of the ‘Scream’ franchise) helps to keep the entertainment levels high, along with the originality of the idea behind it (a bit of a rarity in the genre). What separates it from the norm is that the killer is Death itself – so can only be avoided, rather than beaten. The premise dictates that Death will, eventually, win – the only question is how long our heroes can hold out.

Disappointingly, it all gets a bit rubbishy towards the climax, when the whole thing practically turns into a jumbled competition between the remaining survivors to see who can unwittingly put themselves in the most ridiculously dangerous situations. But it redeems itself with a suitably final epilogue – that’s “final” in as much as it took a whole three years before the sequel came along, obviously.

It's Got: The Grim Reaper playing up to the camera by inflicting some outrageously elaborate deaths.

It Needs: To be watched with the lights – and your brain – dimmed right down.

DVD Extras A trailer, some deleted scenes, cast and crew info and interviews, a featurette about premonitions, director’s commentary, and a couple of games that tell YOU when YOU’RE going to DIE. That’s right, YOU. You, sitting right there. Not me. You. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


A pleasingly stupid shockfest that’s a cut above the average.

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