The horror genre may be refreshed with a movie that isn't quite a horror movie. Enter Final Destination, a film that follows several teens as they die in gruesome ways, but the killer isn't some psychopath; it is death.
Devon Sawa is Alex Browning, a boy who, just before taking off for Paris on a 747, pictures the plane exploding. He, along with a few others, are kicked off the plane, and, a moment later, the plane explodes. After that, he sees signs that signals who will die next. He does an adequate lead, about as well as can be expected with what he has to work with. The script, written by the guys who brought us some really cool and creepy "The X-Files" episodes ("Tooms" and "Home"), has a really concept but it lacks skill in some parts, namely emotion. Many might notice that the characters seem to have a lack of emotion as their friends die, but I don't think it is the acting. I don't think that the screenwriters considered that losing half the school's population in a plane crash is worth crying over. Sawa over everyone especially seems okay with what's happening, even though he's trying to stop it. He knows that people are going to die and so he accepts that; no one would accept that.
The story and the concept are good, and the entire movie is suspenseful. While there is no physical killer, the death scenes, and those leading up to the death scenes, are skillfully done. Every time one of the characters are left alone, it is obvious that they are going to die, and the director takes great pride in keeping the audience on the edge of its seat. The scene with the teacher is especially well done.
The only slightly disappointing scene was the plane explosion scene. It isn't badly done but, compared to the concise version shown in the previews ("Oh, the plane's going to explode!" The plane explodes), it isn't as good. Oh well.
Is Final Destination a horror movie? Yes, and no. People get decapitated, stabbed, splattered, and vaporized, so there is a horror element. But some wanting a more standard horror formula will be disappointed. This movie probably won't suit all fans, but it is a good change from the Scream clones that we have seen over the last couple of years.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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