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Final Destination (2000)

Just like Jaws made you scared to go in the water, this film series makes you want to bunker down and never leave your home again. Even to this day nearly 22 years later, I still think about this film every time I enter an airport. It’s not very often a horror film is impactful enough to create a level of anxiety that can impact on day to day social situations. Literally starting off with a bang, this first film in the wildly popular franchise focuses on the fear of flying - exploring it deeply and going into extremely graphic detail. It does so in the kind of high production style format that you would commonly expect to see in closing moments of a film of this standard, not within the opening 10 minutes. Multiple variations of this 'opening disaster' would later go on to become a signature starting point for an influx of sequels that would naturally follow such a creative and undeniably thought provoking plot device. The whole cast do a rather impressive job. Considering how youthful both Ali Larter and Devon Sawa are in this, they do great carrying this through to the end. Sawa in particular is a standout for me. It’s nice to see him have somewhat of a resurgence in his career in the past few years. What is more surprising is how much I wasn't irritated by Seann William Scott's performance. Usually I just can't tolerate him and although he does seem to be following the general typecast character he is know for playing, it just felt more tolerable here. Seeing him get decapitated probably helped. One thing I will give this film a lot of credit for is the depth it goes to explaining and justifying its lore. It does this in a way that not only provides ample exposition but doesn't feel at any point forced or openly spelt out to the viewer. At no particular point did I ever feel lost or second question why the deaths were occurring or the order in which they play out. Using the seating arrangements of the plane for this really made for what I found to be a very clever narrative. As with the Saw franchise, these films became synonymous with their creative kills and although these don't quite have the same flare as some of the later sequels, they were very impactful at the time of release. Seeing the environment around each characters change when their time was up was entertaining. It was creative and had me check for every sudden movement from objects in anticipation each time. I have to say though, I found the death of Terry (played by Amanda Detmer) to be the most surprising of the bunch. Having her be so suddenly taken out by the bus was quite a shock upon first watch. Each one of these moments are accompanied perfectly by a very suspenseful score and sound design, all of this culminating in a very tense and heart pounding closing act that had me continuously guessing who was going to be around once the credits started rolling, if anyone at all. Given how the final moments end just before the credits roll its clear that this is an inescapable situation and an endless cycle, a cliffhanger I really enjoyed. I'm yet to see past the second installment in this franchise but thankfully a revisit to the one that started it all has really got me excited to see more from these films. I can't recommend this enough, it certainly isn't a scary horror film per se but it is a truly enjoyable one nonetheless.



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