When this frolicsome horror first debuted in theaters, I was on the edge of my seat. I couldn't have been more entranced by the "Mouse Trap" fashioned slice-and-dicing, or the wry humor that prepensely undermined the poker-faced candor that comes hand-in-hand with such a macabre conceit. After the theatrical release of "Final Destination 2," its predecessor couldn't hold a candle to it. Earlier this year, the crescendo of the trilogy was released, eclipsing its two antecedents while mirroring their succinct plots and circular constructions. While the evolution of the procession is lethargically disinclined, the sequels still outfox their former selves.
Walking through the airport transit lobby, Alex Browning (Sawa) begins to selectively focus on words like "departed" and "terminal." Stepping from the pier of the airport to the aisle of an airplane destined for Paris, Alex nervously squirms in his derelict coach seat, his classmates filing on board. Struggling to get comfortable, he swaps seats with the class slut, and clenches his rectum closed in his new seat next to his friend, Tod (Donella). His meal tray collapses, and in an attempt to upright it, the latch breaks. And then they take off. Once in the air, Alex is more composed, yet still unnerved, violently clutching the upholstery between his fingers. And then it happens. The plane begins shivering, the berserk turbulence throwing a wrench in the metaphorical works. Oxygen masks dropping from the ceiling, the lights begin flickering, and the passengers are catapulted from one side of the cabin to the other, explosions lacerating the slender body of the craft, passengers sucked out into the atmosphere, falling to their deaths, asphyxiating on the way down. Those who survived were reduced to an ashy pulp by the self-combusting airliner as a wave of incandescence devoured them, leaving in its wake the dregs of Alex's and his classmates' skeletons.
Snapping into consciousness, sweat cascades over the precipice of Alex's chin. His classmates are filing on board. Stricken with panic, Alex jostles the latch on his meal tray, and it breaks off. "The plane's going to explode," Alex yelps, climbing over seats to escape the pestilent confines of the plane. Grappling Alex, Carter (Smith), another student on board, kindles a dog pile. The flight marshal, in harmony with an entourage of police officers, escorts the miscreant students off of the plane. As they bicker and fistfight in the pier, the double-glaze windows towering over the runway shatter as the distant anatomy of the airplane falls victim to a hellish inferno. His premonition came to fruition. Alex, Clear (Larter), Carter, and his girlfriend Terry (Amanda Detmer), Billy (Scott), Tod, and their teacher, Ms. Valerie Lewton (Cloke), have all cheated death's design … this time around.
Written and directed by two alumni of "The X-Files," "Final Destination" bites the hand that feeds it, indulging pubescent adolescents while slashing them. Dropping like flies, the characters coalesce their brainwaves to mousetrap death before death literally mousetraps them. While the dialogue is earsplitting and sophomoric, the conversations are, at times, thought provoking and existential. Death's modus operandi has a butterfly effect, and a tidy decorum. When the airplane went up in smoke, a vein of smaller explosions siphoned diagonally across the cabin, toward the wing, where the fuel tank detonated, killing everyone on board. Death is recursive. The character sitting near the first explosion, the character that would have died first on the airplane, but was spared, later dies first in an artfully outlandish fluke, involving shower curtains, computers, scrap metal, train tracks, fishing hooks, and power lines, clichés that work within the climate and motivations of the film.
The audience doesn't take the movie seriously, but the movie doesn't even take itself seriously. Instead, the audience relishes in the cheap scares and the mincemeat splatter fest, anticipating death's maneuvers before they unfold, eyeing the creeping tide of the leaking toilet water or the precariously placed knife rack, or noting the irony in dialogue or the characters' ill-conception of their impending fate. What if we could tune ourselves in to that split-second occasion when we set into effect a threadbare chain reaction that triggers our timely and premeditated end? Would that make living easier? This is a very fun film, and I think it's a must-see for genre fans.