One thing lacking in horror these days is originality. In large part, horror is dying because horror films lack the originality to scare today’s audiences. Moviegoers are desensitized and few tales keep them interested and on the edge of their seat. One of my favorite films, mostly for its originality at the time, is Final Destination. Before the endless sequels and progressively crazier death scenes, Final Destination was a fresh idea. This film has a fantastic combination of elements: a cast of b-list actors (essential for a horror film); anything-but-ordinary death scenes rife with blood and gore; and a storyline that actually makes the audience think and follow along.
Starring Devon Sawa and Ali Larter, Final Destination follows a group of high school students who were kicked off their flight to Paris because one student (Sawa) had a vision of the plane crashing and made quite a scene about it when he awoke. The audience watches as unfortunate situations befall the survivors of this crash, allegedly because “death” is coming after them. You can’t cheat death, and boy do these survivors learn that the hard way. The concept is intriguing and allows the audience to try and predict what will happen next and to whom. When’s the last time you watched a horror film that actually made you think?
But the best part, hands down, are the death scenes. They are gory and excessive and timed to perfection. The audience doesn’t get out easy. Some deaths come quick and fast and catch the viewer off guard, leaving them shocked and silent. Other deaths are drawn out and excruciating to watch, leaving the audience begging for mercy. And bottom line - they are creative. These aren’t run-of-the-mill horror film death scenes. Some are based on common knowledge and some are bizarre and totally unpredictable. And as a nice touch to the film, they’re all prefaced by the playing of “Colorado Rocky Mountain High,” tipping the main character off just before, yet long after he has time to escape it.
Final Destination is an insane roller coaster of random death scenes, ominous music, superstition and blood and gore. It’s a fun, original film that keeps the heartbeat of horror going strong. Not sure if I can say the same for its many sequels, but at least the first one does the trick.
If you liked Final Destination, you might also like Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2 and Sinister.