Film Reviews:

Final Destination

(James Wong, US, 2000)

I caught this at the open-air cinema in Argostoli on the island of Cephalonia in Greece. I was on holiday and most definitely in holiday mode which was just as well. If I'd have spent £9 to see this in London's West End (extremely unlikely though that is) I'd have been a tad pissed. This is a fine example of the Hollywood teen terror flick and as is, therefore, predictable, stupid, cheesy and, goddamn it, sometimes entertaining too. The plot focuses on a handful of American teens who are saved from certain death in a plane crash by the prescience of one of their number. Thereafter, they believe they have cheated death and must try to guess when death will strike next so as to outwit the force and remain alive.

As staple fodder of the US teen-horror genre this is mostly by the numbers. The idea of cheating death isn't new, even for Hollywood, but there's certainly a certain amount of vigour on display. The cast are all fresh-faced youngsters having been tested out previously on TV shows such as Dawson's Creek and the like. Most of them deliver adequate performances but the two most likable characters are the two FBI agents who have some humorous dialogue and some brief but amusing scenes. Shame there wasn't more of them. Common logic is noticeably absent, most memorably in a sequence when a train trashes a car on the railway line which explodes killing its driver and doesn't think stop to enquire after what just happened.

The pace hots up as the 'who is next to die?' structure beds down, and the death sequences increasingly take on the facade of 18-rated, real-life version of the board game Mousetrap, with an almost inconceivable chain of events leading to some deaths. This culminates in the final sequence which is far more funny than scary. Entertaining by the end but only if you're very undemanding mood.

Rob Dyer

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