Final Destination 2 (Review)

Final Destination 2 (2003)

(d: David R. Ellis; s: A.J. Cook, Ali Larter, Michael Landes, Tony Todd)

If you liked the suspense and hinted-gore that the first Final Destination movie provided, don't bother with the sequel. That's pretty much the bottom line here, with director Ellis (fresh from his 1996 directorial debut of Homeward Bound 2) taking all that was interesting and fun from the first movie and twisting it into a sickening bastardization of what made that movie great.

The action starts right away, with an extended freeway sequence that really does rival that of The Matrix Reloaded. We watch as step-by-step the horrific outcome of the freeway scene is built before our eyes, then are quickly over-gored out as this outcome is brought to fruition. There's only one other horror movie that my fiance has been completely unable to watch through - Wes Craven's classic Last House on The Left - but even there she made it halfway through. Not five minutes into this film, she left the room and wouldn't come back until it was over. Not because the movie scared her, not because the movie was holding any suspense, but simply because it was utterly disgusting. Maybe that's what some people think "horror" is - how gory can you make a death scene? - and for those people, this movie is picture-perfect for you. But for someone expecting the unexpected, the suspenseful "how is he really going to die" feeling that the first Final Destination left you with, you'll be sorely disappointed.

The acting (what little there is of it) is okay (well, practically Oscar-caliber for a movie of this nature), and the leads pull it off surprisingly well, considering blood, guts, and gore are flying around like seagulls at the Fisherman's Terminal. Direction is decent, but with too many hints and eye-winks to the audience, tipping you off to what is going to happen next. The writing...well, I'll just drop the detailed technical review here.

Even the original plot device from the first movie is altered here. Death takes a far more active hand in many of the deaths in this movie, whereas in the first it was a passive player. Ali Larter reprises her role as Clear Rivers, the last remaining survivor of the plane crash from FD1, and pretty much steals the movie (until she, too, suffers at the hands of the F/X designers). Premonitions come left and right, and when combined with Ellis' "eye-winks" give away everything that would have surprised you to no end.

Bottom line: if you're looking for fun, suspenseful horror, this ain't your movie. If you're looking for gory, bloody, yet unsatisfying horror, then maybe this one's for you.