One of my favorite things about the Final Destination series is its refreshing honesty; most slasher movies have never carried much of a pretense, but they always tried to bury their slashing within some silly narrative fraught with silly excuses to get a bunch of teenagers together before slaughtering them. Final Destination dispenses with the bullshit by having death itself come after its cast with a vengeance. It’s so deceptively simple and straightforward, as if series creators Glen Wong and James Morgan knew what people really wanted to see and gave it to them. I’m speaking of course about the franchise’s signature death sequences, many of which rank right up there with their counterparts from the cycle of body count films. So, let’s have a morbid celebration of death by highlighting the best kills of the series. And since the franchise itself is up to part five (and because I’m lazy), let’s limit it to the really gory cream of the crop by looking at the top five. I’d add another one for the series to grow on (for good luck), but something tells me Final Destination 6 will be greenlit by the end of next week.
5. Why Can’t We Be Friends? (The Final Destination)
While the fourth entry (which really wasn’t the Final Destination, obviously) was pretty average overall, this death scene is pretty memorable, if only because it captures one of my favorite things about our antagonist. See, death sometimes doesn’t come without a sense of humor and irony--he (or she--I think most guys would imagine a life sucking force to be a “she”) is often accompanied by droll images or dark, oddball wit. In this case, we have a guy who is simply billed as “The Racist” (another example of this series just cutting straight to the chase), who shows up on a black guy’s lawn with the intention of burning a cross. Instead, he gets burned himself when his tow truck (property of Destiny Towing--ha!) mysteriously starts itself up; the towing apparatus then “accidentally” grabs The Racist by his leg and drags him down the street before it all goes up in a blaze of glory. All the while, War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” blares on the radio--who knew death was such a smarmy bastard?
You can divide a majority of the series’ kills into two categories: some are swift and sudden, while others come with a suspense-wringing anticipation, where a bunch of puzzle pieces slowly fall into place, like something out of a demented game of Mouse Trap. This sequence from the third film fits the latter category; in case you’ve forgotten, that was the one where a bunch of photographs vaguely foretold the fates of death’s victims. Anyway, Frankie’s picture seems to indicate that his head is going to have an unfortunate encounter with a fan blade. In a meticulously constructed sequence, he finds himself stuck in a pretty innocuous place: a fast-food drive-in (though usually the shit they serve at those places will kill you--eventually). Death starts knocking over some dominoes and maneuvering vehicles with his sinister hand; one car bumps into another with such force that its engine is thrust forward, right into the back of Frankie’s head. Probably not the milkshake he was expecting.
Speaking of elaborate Mouse Trap-style sequences, this is one of the best in the series. Evan just won the lottery, but today’s his unlucky day because death is out to get him--we’re just not sure how he’s going to go about it (he does provide one clue though--check out the magnetic letters on the refrigerator, which spell out “eye”). Devious possibilities abound--is he gonna get it from the garbage disposal, his possibly-explosive stove, the microwave that’s sparking like all hell? None of the above--in fact, he makes it out of the deathtrap he calls his apartment. The only problem is that the ladder escape is a little finicky and works when it wants to. After Evan slips on some spaghetti noodles (which he had just tossed out the window), the ladder decides it finally wants to be fully functional, but bores itself right through Evan’s skull first.
This is arguably the most infamous kill to emerge from the franchise, and it’s one of those lightning quick ones that comes out of nowhere. Terry has had just about enough of her boyfriend being a dick to poor Alex Browning, who engage in a petty rivalry as death stalks them. Fed up, Terry tells him that he can drop dead right there on the street. Death is all to eager to oblige, only he drops her instead with the help of a bus that plows right into her, splattering her remains all over the place. This was one of the first signs of the dark, ironic humor that would become a staple for the series--and it’s a real jolter too.
My favorite film in the series also yields my favorite death sequence, which is another elaborately constructed set piece full of red herrings, fake-outs, suspense, and jolts. Teenaged Tim finds himself at the dentist’s office, which is full of all kinds of tools to do him in. This scene is brilliantly drawn out, and it’s classic Final Destination. It plays the audience like a marionette, dangling multiple insidious possibilities in front of them before leading them to an unexpected climax that features a spectacular gore effects showcase when Tim is crushed by a huge plate of glass. comments powered by Disqus Ratings: