Final Destination 2 (2003)

9 Apr


Smith’s Verdict: *1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

The original “Final Destination” was a good movie about teenagers trying to outsmart Death itself. They try to cheat Death’s design so that they will not die immediately in bizarre freak accidents. The twist was that Death seemed to be a fan of Rube Goldberg and that element gave a comic element. The serious element was that the teenagers talking amongst themselves about outsmarting this ordeal. So it wasn’t long before the obligatory sequel took place. And here it is, entitled “Final Destination 2”—the most thought-provoking horror movie title since “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.”

Boy, is this movie a mess. It’s the same situation as before, the original cast (with the exception of two original cast members) is out of sight, the characters are dumb this time around, and the supposed horror is laughable beyond belief. You could call this movie a comedy instead of a horror movie. During the first half, the horror doesn’t work. And when horror doesn’t work in a horror movie, it’s pretty much doomed by the time the second half develops into more silliness.

One of the teenaged survivors of the original film—Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), who has since developed a strong persona and physique that resembles Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2”—is back, respectively, to provide information for survivors of yet another freak accident that should’ve taken the lives of many teenagers (and a few adults) if the new main character hadn’t seen it first and intervened. Earlier in the film, the cute, smart Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) is driving down a highway with her obnoxious best friends in tow (two of them smoke pot and crack jokes, the other complains constantly). Suddenly, a terrible thing happens and there is a massive road collision that kills them and a few other people on that highway. That, of course, turns out to be just a vision for Kimberly to see. She blocks the on-ramp, saving the drivers behind her, and then the worst occurs on that highway. But, just like in the original movie, Death is not finished with those survivors yet and plans to finish them off right away in the exact order they would have died if they weren’t saved from the accident.

And just like that, many survivors die or come close to death in bizarre, horrific ways. One almost chokes in a dentist’s chair, one is flattened by a plate-glass window, one is decapitated by an elevator door, one is even killed by an airbag, and so on. There’s one particular sequence that brings the show to a halt. It shows one of the survivors as he gets his hand stuck in the sink drain, the microwave explodes, the frying pan on the stove starts a fire, he gets his hand out of the drain, fails to put out the fire, tries to escape through the window which is locked, he breaks it open, goes down the fire escape, tries to get the ladder to come down with him, lands on the sidewalk where a lot of glass is dropped, and he seems safe…but he’s not.

These deaths are so improbable that even Rube Goldberg would’ve had a thing to say about them.

Then there’s the basic question which is, “Do you care if the characters’ lives are in jeopardy?” My answer for the original was yes. My answer for this sequel is no. The characters are unpleasant to watch (with the exception of Larter and Cook, who shine despite the bad dialogue in the script) and I think they all deserved what they got. If I don’t care about the characters who I’m supposed to root for, I have no interest in them.

Then there’s that situation in which a woman who also survived the crash is pregnant and if she has a baby, the design will be ruined. But the question is, will the baby die? Or will the woman die? Or will Death double back on the other survivors after sparing one?

I did like A.J. Cook. She has a natural presence on the screen and although her character is a dud, she’s great to look at. She also has a voice that demands attention, but doesn’t often ask for it. Too bad she attempts to drown herself at the end before she has a chance to do something better with the character.

“Final Destination 2” is a mess. The original “Final Destination” wasn’t like this at all. I hope to see a better sequel from this supposed series. This is just flat.

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