Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Final Destination

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A group of high school students is boarding a plane to head off on a class-trip to France. One of the students suddenly has a horrifying premonition that the plane is going to explode mid-air. Terrified, he makes a scene and both him and a handful of classmates are thrown off the plane. Minutes later, the plane explodes on take-off. We quickly find that death is angry that its plans have been messed with. It begins to pick off each of the survivors one by one.

Scariness factor: Creepy creeps.

Gross-Out Factor: All the death-scenes are pretty over-the-top. They are mild compared to, say, Hostel or something Rob Zombie-ish. But there's a generous amount of blood and decapitations.

Complaints: I am hard-pressed. I mean, it's not got the best acting or dialogue. But I am forgiving in the face of its smart plot.

High Points: I have been a fan of this movie for a long, long time. As teeny-bopper horror flicks go, this is one of the best to grace the screen since the 1980s. Granted, the acting's not fantastic. And there's nothing special about the camera-work. And the dialogue ain't all that. But what this movie is lacking in all these other departments, it makes up for in idea. What is so damn brilliant about this movie is that it doesn't hide behind symbolism while attempting to make us anxious. In Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, Freddy Krueger is the symbol of death. And because he is death's representative, we are able to fear Freddy Krueger himself without being forced to realize that what we essentially fear is not necessarily Freddy but our impending deaths. Freddy is a buffer, if you will. He allows us to suppress our anxiety over death--he is something we can project our fears upon. Final Destination doesn't make any attempt to give us a way to project our fears onto a villain. In Final Destination, a villain does not represent death--death represents itself. And that is what is so damn smart about this movie. This movie scares us because its plotline serves to reinforce the fact that DEATH IS IMMINENT and that no matter how hard we try, we cannot escape it. It need not take the form of a villain--it is terrifying enough in and of itself. In Final Destination, death is a predator, just like it is in real-life. And it gives us no sense of safety--it just says, yeah, this is the way it is. It's not gonna be Freddy Krueger on your tail when you go--but it *will* be Death. Its sequels don't nearly have the self-awareness of the original--they are much more entertainment-oriented without feeling quite so smart. But the original is definitely worth-while.

Overall: I heart this movie, teeny-bopperishness and all.

Grade: A



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