Sunday, August 14, 2011

Final Destination 2 (2003)

An insurance company's worst nightmare

The film here began the franchise that would take the death-trap idea and turn it into a full fledged formula and a no brainer. "Final Destination 2" is a very quick experience with very little getting in the way to think about as it's mostly laid out on the table and goes for straightforward entertainment that meanwhile causes the audience to do nothing more than aim for the bottom of the popcorn container. Compared to the first, this essentially amped up the deaths and the dark humor by even taking a poke at itself, and then steps even further away from reality and never lets the viewer forget they're watching a movie in the meantime.

"I saw it...there were bodies everywhere...there were logs. I saw just happened," says Kimberly (A.J. Cook) to the officer after getting a premonition of a pileup to come on the interstate and taking the initiative to block the way with her car for those about to turn onto the road. Sure enough massive explosions and metal grinds on metal as the people behind her, that were initially annoyed with the delay, now think they're some of the luckiest people on Earth to narrowly escape death. Or so they think. They're taken to the police station for statements with one thing leading to another and they're reminded of the flight 180 incident. They maintain their denials and laugh it off while then attempting to go about their lives...except an inexplicable shadow keeps following them with accidents just a awaitin' to happen. This doesn't even try and hide the fact that it could be mere coincidence, as Death is furious this time around for missing loose ends that also tie into the survivors of Flight 180. The story is about as simple as Kimberly and the earlier officer quickly suspending their disbelief to figure out the clues for their and hopefully everyone else's survival. Including more paralyzing, I-feel-what-they-feel visions occurring and some surprise meet ups with past characters from the first: one defensive but then ready to help, the other sums up an opinion with: "Such fire in you now. People are always most alive just before they die."

Apart from some misplaced jokes, there's no prancing around, as the ground work is gone through fairly quickly and then this goes right for the throat in inventive over-the-top gory ways that would make a front page news article every time. They still manage to pull out some surprises as to which direction it's coming from and then when it happens it's shown in all of its juicy, not-for-those-on-a-full-stomach glory. The characters with the least background development usually means they're going to be victims, and then the ones gone into more are going to survive the longest. It's a horror movie in the slasher vain and this isn't really trying to invent anything new, just capitalizing at this point at what they already have. It's the type of movie where you know exactly what you're going to get and that part makes it somewhat superficial but at the same time still easy fun. The highly elaborate traps that would excite the most morbidly curious engineer, are set up for the audience to see them getting it beforehand because lets face it: the gorier the merrier and no one cares for their well-being and safety. It's sadistic and it unabashedly knows it. "FD2" can almost be looked at like a lynch party where the onlookers have froth at the mouth and venom spewing out, and aren't leaving without some blood being shed.

Rating: 6.5/10

Director: David R. Ellis
Stars: A.J. Cook, Michael Landes, Ali Larter, Tony Todd
Link: IMDB

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