Sunday, August 14, 2011

Final Destination 4 (2009)

One way to beat a dead horse

New characters, new locations, new accidents: sounds like ridiculously awesome fun! Negatory. This was delivered pretty flat for a film about grisly death and the eerily supernatural. Back again is David R. Ellis in the director's chair from the second film, though this might as well have been handled by a guy fresh out of film school; that's unless the studio wasn't just kicking sand in his eyes and walking him out to traffic like they usually do with money making machines. One thing can be certain is it feels rushed, even with the three year gap from the last. The tone feels all over the place--not helped by generic radio rock music at points and half-baked lighting setups that make everything unnaturally murky--and it doesn't always transition back and forth from the dramatic, humorous to the supposed scary.

"Nick, was it like a dream or like a voice in your head?" Janet says in a coffee shop called Death by Caffeine just after a horrific, flames-and-wreckage-everywhere speedway accident that makes you wonder how Dale Earnhardt really went out. "I just...I just saw it," Nick responds back as the gang of four sits around and tries to figure out what it all means and why they're alive. Though as an audience member, decoding the movie is like decoding the back of a cereal box game for children, it's seriously that deprived of earnest challenge. Nick periodically gets random visions and with the help of his girlfriend has to figure out the clues before it's too late. Sound familiar? Yep, if you've seen any of the other "FD" movies it's not going to be a surprise as the no-one-else-believes-them amateur detective duo are always just inches away from Death's own grasp. Then hopefully in the meantime the viewers at least get some gory traps for characters you don't care about to get ensnared in. Though even then, this feels pretty hit and miss with attempting to build up any worthwhile tension or suspense because instead of being tried-and-true, this feels worn-and-tired and regurgitated.

The second and third films rode passenger seat by capitalizing on the formula, and even the first film borrowed some conventions from the slasher format, though "FD4" or "The Final Destination" feels like one of the cheapest, safest, laziest cash-grab sequels out there to hit the theater. The experience feels pieced together and hurried along to be part of the whole beginning of the 3D craze. I myself got duped and early on nearly walked out of the theater when I originally seen this. There are interspliced CGI scenes that, instead of effectively portraying the abstract of what Nick sees in his visions, come across as years old graphics with very little put into them. The performers surprisingly attempt to take it all seriously and the lines delivered aren't the worst they could have been. Though the movie was so straightforward, you could have muted their words and still known what was going on. The only thing to do here is sit around and wait for someone to die in a hopefully more gruesome way than the last, leaving "FD4" to be literally stripped of all worth, not to mention have an incredibly abrupt and anticlimactic ending, even more so than the third film.

Rating: 2/10

Director: David R. Ellis (Cellular, Snakes on a Plane, Asylum)
Stars: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson
Link: IMDB

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