(2009)2Jason BuchananWelcome to The Final Destination, a world where anything more injurious than a wet Q-tip on a shag carpet will explode your body into a crimson mist of blood and bone dust. Surrender yourself to the fact that Hollywood could quite possibly go on making Final Destination films forever, and then the only question left to ask yourself is "Does this particular one deliver the gruesome goods?"
The short answer is yes, but much like our old friend Death, there's simply no escaping the law of diminishing returns. We've seen the same story set into motion by an airplane crash, a freeway accident, and an amusement park disaster; this time it's a group of friends who narrowly escape a spectacular racetrack smash-up that get the Grim Reaper's cloak in a bunch. As usual, the death-cheaters are a bland pastiche of unremarkable, well-coiffed young adults who scramble to make sense of their unlikely survival while gradually realizing that they haven't exactly gotten off scot-free. When the body count continues to rise post-catastrophe, our shaken protagonists realize that they're dying in the order they would have if they hadn't heeded the warning of a clairvoyant vision, and they desperately attempt to break the cycle.
A pop-gore gallery of horrors, David R. Ellis' second crack at the series is exactly what you've come to expect: several messy, ridiculously implausible death scenes crammed into a compact, highly efficient 82 minutes -- in 3-D. Herschell Gordon Lewis might have made something similar if bestowed a crew of CG artists and a bottomless well of Red Bull. The movie throbs with hyperactive menace from the very first frame, never giving us a chance to catch our breath as it lobs an endless barrage of lethal projectiles at our faces while racing from one hilariously grisly set piece to the next. It's kind of like the Hurt Locker of horror, only replace the intelligent subtext of that film with some unsavory cartoon racism and laughable, faux-profound musings on fate. Ellis and company know the rules of the genre so well they could recite them backwards in a coma, so the fun of The Final Destination is just buckling our seat belts and letting them spike the needle (indeed, this installment is the shortest in the series by nearly ten minutes).
Yet, even with the added visual gimmick, the third sequel in the series never does quite soar to the deliriously outrageous heights of Final Destination 2 -- a high watermark for preposterous horror and that rare sequel that tops the original -- though this installment does deliver an exhilarating splat-blast of tasteless pandemonium that some fun-loving gore-hounds are bound to savor.
Well, you came to see a crash, didn't you?
The Final Destination series gets a kick-start with this fourth outing, headed up by the production team behind the second film -- director David R. Ellis and writer Eric Bress. The New Line franchise will be presented for the first time in 3-D with this installment focusing on a teenager that dodges a trip to the grave at a racetrack, only to find that death has a way of equaling the playing field after the fact. Shantel VanSanten, Bobby Campo, and Hayley Webb star in the sequel.