Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Final Destination


Horror movies are really the perfect genre for hack writers, especially in these days of the horror movie “franchise.” Halloween I through Halloween XX (some of which haven’t even been made yet!) are all the same movie. How easy it must be to simply write the same script twenty times! You name it: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, Saw … all the same movie, filmed over and over. All merely excuses to kill people in imaginative ways. And that is the only element of imagination that enters into Part II though Part ∞. Maybe the first movie had an original idea in it. I can guarantee you that the most recent one doesn’t.
These movies impinge on my cinematic world so little that I wasn’t even aware of this franchise—and this one is the fourth, even though the only number it has is 3D. Mercifully, they don’t show movies in 3D at the drive-in (I stopped being amused by objects flying out of the screen with the first 3D fad, back in the ‘50s), so we saw only the flat version. I must say that, if the only goal of your movie is to show people crushed, sliced, diced, squashed, fried, fricasseed, and pureed (all of which happen in this movie), I gravitate toward something like this rather than the aforementioned hamburger stands (gimme a Halloween sandwich with a side of cole Saw), because this one explores the inimical nature of the universe itself, rather than plumbing the depths of evil in men, vampires, or zombies.
The plot here (and, according to what I read in Wiki, it’s exactly the same in all the previous three) is simple. A group of friends survive a giant disaster because of a premonition of one of their number. In the first one it was an airplane crash. Here it is a giant smash-up at a NASCAR race. Only they’ve apparently violated some basic law of the universe, or probability, or Fate, or whatever, because the people who survived and were not supposed to survive begin dying in very unlikely and very horrible ways. That’s it. Oh, there’s some half-hearted discussion of why this is happening, and what might be done to avert it, to regain control of one’s destiny, but you can sleep through that garbage; you came here for blood, didn’t you? And you’ll get it, about every ten minutes. And it must be said, here is where the dim minds who write parts two through infinity really shine, in thinking up awful ways to die They find some doozies. Each death is caused by some Rube Goldberg improbability machine, a chain reaction of malign happenstance that makes you laugh involuntarily. And there is even a trace of wit, in that you are often set up to think that one thing is going to happen, when something even more improbable is the actual result. It all reminded me of “Dead Like Me,” where each week there was some ironic and gruesomely funny way of dying.
But bottom line: The best thing about this movie is that I now don’t have to even think about seeing Parts I, II, and III. I’ve already seen them!