Silver Screams III: Final Destination (2000)

Silver Screams III continues with Leon Nicholson looking at Final Destination starring Devon Sawa, Ali Larter and Tony Todd.

The Final Destination series of movies is one of the most successful horror franchises of all time. What however makes this series of films so appealing to audiences? Is it the inventive, gruesome methods of killing off the jocks and the ‘cheerleaders-esque’ characters? Or is it the manner of intricacy that Death uses to claim its victim(s). What is clear is that as the series progressed there was less character development and more ‘lets kill them off as quickly as possible’.

Whilst boarding the aeroplane to France for a school trip, teenage student Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) suddenly has a premonition that the plane will explode. His reaction causes panic amongst the passengers and ultimately Alex, along with a group of other students are thrown off the plane. After seeing their dreams of going to France going down the toilet for another year, all of a sudden, to their horror, Alex and the others watch the plane explode just after take off. With Alex high on the FBI’s list of suspects, he has more pressing matters as The Grim Reaper is hell bent on claiming the souls that escaped his clutches from the plane.

There are good moments in Final Destination, Devon Sawa is a competent lead and Ali Larter (pre-Heroes) is decent enough as Clear Rivers. The grossly underrated Kirsten Cloke (Mrs Glen Morgan for those who do not know) offers excellent support and there are also roles for Seann William Scott, Kerr Smith and everyone’s favourite Candyman Tony Todd.

For those unaware, Final Destination started off as a spec script by Jeffrey Reddick with The X-Files in mind. The script never got there but instead ended up with Glen Morgan and James Wong (who had already left The X-Files) who loved the idea and from there agreed to rewrite and ultimately direct the film. The X-Files influence is plain to see. Its clear there is more creepiness and foreboding dread dominating the film rather than a bunch of teens running away from a masked, psychotic threat. OK, Death, may be masked (apparently) but Death is not psychotic nor it does not discriminate. Death is just doing a job. Which then leads to the question, who are the real antagonists here – Death or the group of teens?

The later movies in the series lacked the suspense, strong writing and even the charm of the original leaving this as the best movie of the series. If one is being totally honest even though it’s a good, solid movie it’s not a great one. It’s nonetheless is an enjoyable, entertaining watch that showcased the potential of Glen Morgan and James Wong.

FMV Rating ***

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