Final Destination – USA, 2000

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‘I’ll see you soon’

Final Destination is a 2000 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wong (Final Destination 3; writer on American Horror Story; Rosemary’s Baby). The screenplay was written by James Wong, Glen Morgan (Black X-mas; Willard) and Jeffrey Reddick, based on a story by Reddick (Dead Awake; Day of the Dead).

The film began as a spec script written by Reddick for an episode of The X-Files, in order for Reddick to get a TV agent, however, he never submitted it after a colleague at New Line Cinema persuaded him to write it as a feature-length film. Later, Wong and Morgan, The X-Files writing partners, became interested in the script and agreed to rewrite and direct the film, marking Wong’s film directing debut.

James Wong: “One thing we were all in agreement on from the start is that we didn’t want to do a slasher movie. We didn’t want a guy in a dark cloak or some kind of monster chasing after these kids. That’s been done again and again. I became very excited when we decided to make the world at large, in the service of death, our antagonist. Everyday objects and occurrences then take on ominous proportions and it becomes less about whether or not our characters are going to die and more about how they will die and how they can delay their deaths. The entertainment value is in the ‘ride’ not in the outcome, and by placing the premise of the film on the inevitability of death, we play a certain philosophical note”.

Budgeted at $23 million, the movie took $112.9 million at the box office; its success spawned a media franchise, encompassing four additional movies, as well as a series of novels and comic books.

Devon Sawa (The Exorcism of Molly Hartley; 388 Arletta Avenue; Idle Hands), Ali Larter (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and Afterlife; Final Destination 2), Kerr Smith (My Bloody Valentine; The Forsaken), Kristen Cloke (Black X-mas; Willard), Daniel Roebuck (Bubba Ho-Tep; short: The Vampire Hunters Club), Roger Guenveur Smith, Chad E. Donella, Seann William Scott, Tony Todd (Zombies; Army of the Damned; Candyman).

Opening plot:

High school student Alex Browning boards Volée Airlines Flight 180 with his classmates for their senior trip to Paris, France. Before take-off, Alex has a premonition that the plane will suffer a catastrophic engine failure, causing the plane to explode in mid-air, and killing everyone on board.

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When the events from his vision begin to repeat themselves in reality, he panics and a fight breaks out between Alex and his rival, Carter Horton. This leads to several passengers being removed from the plane. None of the passengers, except for his girlfriend Clear, believe Alex about his vision until the plane explodes on take-off, killing the remaining passengers on board.

Afterwards, the survivors are interrogated by two FBI agents, who believe that Alex had something to do with the explosion…

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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Reviews:

“At least one death is an exhilaratingly shocking, out-of-nowhere surprise. More often, though, Wong likes to toy with audience expectations, mercilessly extending sequences in which one thing leads to another, like interlocking pieces of a Rube Goldberg device, and somebody winds up garroted or decapitated or even worse.” Variety

” …even by the crude standards of teenage horror, Final Destination is dramatically flat. Mr. Sawa’s teenage clairvoyant is colorless and charisma-free. And Ali Larter is equally pallid as the empathetic girlfriend who feels his pain. The movie is so busy rigging its stunts that it forgets its teenagers aren’t just sitting ducks; they’re people, too.” New York Times

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” …the characters are paper-thin, and many of the plot’s contrivances are just plain silly. A word of advice to horror buffs-turned-filmmakers: Don’t name all of your characters after classic horror directors and actors — Browning, Dreyer, Waggner, Lewton, Schreck, Murnau, Chaney, Wiene et al. — unless you’re dead sure your work compares favorably to theirs.” TV Guide

“This durable horror franchise would up the ante on baroque “accidental” killings as it racked up entries (Runaway roller coasters! Decapitating elevators! Tanning machines turned into broilers!), but its first installment remains eerily prescient, kicking off a decade that’d be characterized by IRL instances of horrific, random acts of violence on a large scale.” Rolling Stone

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Cast and characters:

  • Devon Sawa as Alex Browning
  • Ali Larter as Clear Rivers
  • Kerr Smith as Carter Horton
  • Kristen Cloke as Valerie Lewton
  • Daniel Roebuck as Agent Weine
  • Roger Guenveur Smith as Agent Schreck
  • Chad E. Donella as Tod Waggner
  • Seann William Scott as Billy Hitchcock
  • Tony Todd as William Bludworth
  • Amanda Detmer as Terry Chaney
  • Brendan Fehr as George Waggner
  • Lisa Marie Caruk as Christa Marsh
  • Christine Chatelain as Blake Dreyer
  • Forbes Angus as Larry Murnau
  • Barbara Tyson as Barbara Browning
  • Robert Wisden as Ken Browning

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