Horror review: The Final Destination

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 31, 2009

The world of 3-D gore has given horror fans some landmark moments. Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein comically kicked things off in ’73 when a victim got viciously speared in the back, the weapon bursting through his chest, a chunk of liver or spleen or something else meaty and raw dangling from its point, right in the viewer’s face.

Then there was the unforgettable scene in 1982’s Friday the 13th Part  III when Jason squeezed some guy’s head so tightly between his mighty mitts that one of the poor sap’s eyeballs came shootin’ right out at ya.

The latest flick to woo moviegoers with the promise of having to dodge flying body bits is The Final Destination, the fourth and, apparently, last in the series of body-count films in which a gaggle of teens or 20-somethings are hunted down by Death after being saved from his clutches by one of their group’s premonitions of tragedy.

In 2000’s Final Destination, it was a plane crash; in 2003’s Final Destination 2, it was a freeway pileup; and in 2006’s Final Destination 3, it was a roller-coaster accident.

This time the disaster that Nick O’Bannon (Bobby Campo) envisions, and from which he and (most of) his friends manage to escape, is a race-car crash at a speedway. Apparently, returning FD2 director David R. Ellis didn’t get enough vehicular-carnage jollies the first go-round.

He needn’t have bothered with this repeat effort, though, because The Final Destination is a catastrophe in and of itself. The initial disaster sequence comes off like a montage of outtakes from an Irwin Allen production, with the shock of the 3-D effects totally lost to hokey CGI. And once the cookie-cutter racetrack survivors start meeting the tardy Reaper, their grisly deaths, as scripted by The Butterfly Effect cowriter Eric Bress, are rarely anything to scream—or even chuckle—about.

Where’s that old spleen-on-a-stick trick when you need it?

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