You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Final Destination

Pic may finally sound the death knell for New Line's near-immortal horror franchise.

Nick - Bobby Campo Lori - Shantel VanSanten Hunt - Nick Zano Janet - Haley Webb George - Mykelti Williamson MILF/Samantha - Krista Allen Mechanic - Andrew Fiscella Racist/Carter Daniels - Justin Welborn

With an array of gory mayhem only marginally enhanced by 3-D and a plot as developed as a text message, “The Final Destination” may finally sound the death knell for New Line’s near-immortal horror franchise. Clocking in at an expedited 75 minutes (minus credits) of fatally gonzo accidents, this fourth installment opens with a stock car-race disaster and then proceeds to dispose of its various stock characters by literally tossing their body parts in the audience’s faces. Fans could boost late summer biz, but this Reaper’s prospects otherwise look grim indeed. It opens Friday Stateside, sans advance press screenings.

Whatever hints of originality lay in the series’ previous editions have been all but sucked out of this one, which focuses purely on its numerous decapitations, impalements and mutilations, and how to render them more lifelike using Fusion 3-D technology. Even the franchise’s clever take on teenagers wrestling with notions of fate and death has been eviscerated by scribe Eric Bress (“Final Destination 2,” “The Butterfly Effect”), whose mostly twentysomething protags are neither students nor gainfully employed, though they do excel at being tortured by everything from an escalator to a car wash to a swimming pool pump.

While the use of 3-D does provide some thrills, as well as a few laughs, during the pic’s opening NASCAR-set massacre — in which visionary hunk Nick (Bobby Campo) envisions friends and strangers being torn to pieces by flying car parts — the effect quickly grows tiresome, as do the deaths themselves. Once we realize the 3-D is used merely to highlight whatever tool or appliance will soon turn into a weapon, and then afterward to spew blood and/or various organs in our direction, there’s not much else to look out for.

As Nick’s premonitions (rendered in highly unrealistic CGI graphics) involving those spared by the disaster start to come true, he and g.f. Lori (Shantel VanSanten) try to save their best buddies, bleached-blond womanizer Hunt (Nick Zano) and gabbing shopaholic Janet (Haley Webb). But along with the other survivors, such as the “Racist” or “Redneck” (as he’s referred to at different times), Carter (Justin Welborn), or the “MILF,” Samantha (Krista Allen), there’s hardly anyone here worth preserving.

Helmer David R. Ellis, who directed the more effective “Final Destination 2” and the hilarious “Snakes on a Plane,” seems to be going for the off-the-wall attitude of the latter but never makes the killings funny enough; nor does he adequately unify time and place to generate suspense. He even grows lazy with regards to the rather creative death scenes that marked the other films: Here, a guy simply gets hit by an ambulance or has a bathtub fall on his head, while a woman is blindsided by a flying rock. So much for Death’s grand designs.

When their innards aren’t splattering through the screen, the actors rush through their dialogue explaining the series’ m.o. — those who escaped the initial accident are doomed to die in a predetermined order (according to Nick and Lori, who “stayed up Googling premonitions” to understand what’s happening). Such scenes play awkwardly in 3-D, the actors looking like cardboard cutouts in front of backgrounds that feel more like green screens than actual sets.

Mykelti Williamson (“24,” “CSI: NY”), who plays a widowed security guard grappling with alcoholism, manages to give the film’s one redeemable character some depth before becoming just another sausage for the meat grinder.

The Final Destination

Production: A Warner Bros. (in U.S.)/Metropolitan Filmexport (in France) release of a New Line Cinema presentation of a Practical Pictures/Parallel Zide production. Produced by Craig Perry, Warren Zide. Executive producers, Richard Brener, Walter Hamada, Sheila Hanahan Taylor. Co-producer, Art Schaefer. Directed by David R. Ellis. Screenplay, Eric Bress, based on characters created by Jeffrey Reddick.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, 3-D, widescreen), Glen MacPherson; editor, Mark Stevens; music, Brian Tyler; production designer, Jaymes Hinkle; art director, Scott Plauche; set decorator, Raymond Pumlia; costume designer, Claire Breaux; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Jeffrey Haupt; sound designer, Jon Title; supervising sound editor, Dave McMoyler; visual effects supervisor, Erik Henry; associate producer, Tawny Ellis-Lehman; assistant director, James Giovannetti Jr.; casting, David H. Rappaport, Lindsey Hayes Kroeger. Reviewed at MK2 Bibliotheque B, Paris, Aug 26, 2009. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 82 MIN.

With: Nick - Bobby Campo Lori - Shantel VanSanten Hunt - Nick Zano Janet - Haley Webb George - Mykelti Williamson MILF/Samantha - Krista Allen Mechanic - Andrew Fiscella Racist/Carter Daniels - Justin WelbornWith: Stephanie Honore, Lara Grice, Jackson Walker, Phil Austin.

More Film

  • Photograph by Svetlana Cvetko

    Blitz Films' Eryl Cochran Talks About Indie Film in Challenging Market

    Eryl Cochran heads production & development at production and financing shingle Blitz Films, where she works alongside company founders, filmmakers Nikolay and Sergey Sarkisov. Blitz, launched in 2018, is carving out a niche in the indie world with an eye for emerging talent. Blitz’s slate includes “Show Me What You Got,” directed by cinematographer Svetlana [...]

  • Echo in the Canyon review

    Film Review: ‘Echo in the Canyon’

    Arguably the most sturdily crafted and entertainingly anecdotal documentary of its kind since Denny Tedesco’s “The Wrecking Crew,” a similarly nostalgic celebration of artists who generously contributed to the soundtrack of the baby boomer generation, Andrew Slater’s “Echo in the Canyon” offers a richly evocative and star-studded overview of the 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene. [...]

  • Alain Berliner To Direct Cannes-Set ‘Second

    ‘Ma Vie en Rose’s’ Alain Berliner Directs Star Cast in ‘Second to Nun’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Page Three Media and Artemis Productions, which backed “The Danish Girl,” announced in Cannes “Second to Nun,” a new feature from Golden Globe winning director Alain Berliner. Berliner’s decades-ahead-of-its-time “Ma Vie en Rose,” the tale of a young transgender girl with dreams of growing into a mature woman and marrying the boy next door, was [...]

  • Artist Andrew Levitas Tackles Corporate Greed

    Artist Andrew Levitas Tackles Corporate Greed in Johnny Depp Starring 'Minamata'

    Andrew Levitas has carved out a unique place in the art world, having used his considerable skills across multiple creative platforms. A filmmaker, painter, sculptor, producer, writer, actor and photographer, Levitas is also the founder of Metalwork Pictures, a media production company that develops and produces original content, including his 2014 directorial debut, “Lullaby,” as [...]

  • Oliver Laxe

    Cannes: ‘Fire Will Come’s’ Oliver Laxe on Classicism, Avant-Guard, Egos

    CANNES  —    Spain’s Oliver Laxe returns to Cannes for the third time with“Fire Will Come” (O Que Arde), competing in Un Certain Regard— the first time a Galician-language film is selected for Cannes. He has pedigree. His first time round, in 2010, Laxe snagged a Fipresci nod for his Directors’ Fortnight title “You All [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content