Final Destination 4: The Final Destination

You know, when I was working on the reviews of the last three movies I gradually developed a theory that the premonitions that led people to escape their imminent deaths were being by the Ghost of Murder, solely for the purpose of his own amusement – he’s got infinite chances to kill them after all, and as only the sickest of hunters will tell you, hunting is far more pleasurable when your prey knows that they’re going to die.

It was intended as nothing more than a joke about the series’ baffling lack of an identifiable antagonist, or really any drama of any kind. Ever since the first movie it’s been a foregone conclusion that every character would die in the end – even 2’s happy ending was apparently undone in the supplemental material on part 3’s DVD, although I haven’t actually watched it to check. Tony Todd’s lines about death having a plan, and the crackpot with a book at the beginning of 2 were as close as the series ever came to giving ‘death’ a personality – the rather thin idea that ‘Death’ has a specific plan for when all living creatures were going to die, and that if you see that plan you can avoid it, at least until Death circles back around. This explanation seemed a little on the idiotic side, especially when you consider that it in no way explains the premonitions people received.

So I thought it would be funny to refer to ‘The Ghost of Murder’, a malicious spirit who arranges tragedies, then warns people about them through signs and premonitions – explaining that he was like a cat that lets a mouse go over and over just so he can catch him again and again.

Little did I know that FD4 would, whether it was intentional or not, go on to confirm my suspicions about the Ghost of Murder in their entirety. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at Final Destination 4: The Final Destination!

I wonder, if the Final Destination series continues (and I can’t see why it wouldn’t – absurdly, FD4 was the highest-grossing entry), will this be remembered as the entry where they formally declared they were doing away with things like ‘character’ and ‘plot’, and just devoted themselves entirely to gore setpieces.

The film’s opening certainly makes a persuasive argument that they’re going in this direction. Absolutely no time is wasted getting to know anyone – the main characters are introduced as they sit down to watch the NASCAR event that will quickly lead to disaster, and we barely even get a chance to learn their names before the bloodshed begins in earnest.

Hell, I’m not even going to bother listing their names here, since I’ve already forgotten them, but for the sake of clarity I’ll put their pictures up so you’ll know who I’m talking about:

(From right to left – Guy, Gal, Friend, Douche)

The carnage starts just seven minutes in, and I’m happy to announce that, this time, they didn’t cheat with the accident. As in the first movie it occurs without input from the main cast, and exactly the same whether they’re present for it at all.

I’ll give the movie this – they know how to use digital gore to great effect. From the opening tire-beheading-

(you may be wondering why that tire isn’t slamming into Gal and Friend right now, despite them being directly in its path. Good question.)

To the sundering of the racist couple by… um, the giant buzzsaws they keep in cars, I guess-

All the way to the hilarious 3D chest stabbing, the sequence is hilariously violent.

Which makes this a good time to point out that this film series has basically converted into comedy at this point. It’s a gradual process that begin with the final sequence of Final Destination 2, in which the scene of a mother being confronted with the severed, burning arm of her dead son is played for laughs-

The series has been dedicated to showing the lighter side of horrible human tragedy. Although that’s not technically what they’re doing, I suppose – actually they’re dehumanizing people to the point that we can laugh at their disgusting demises, rather than being horrified or saddened by their pain and suffering.

Which is why the characters’ reactions to being the few survivors of a tragedy have gone from providing the emotional core of the first film, to being given a slight nod in the second and third films, to not even coming up this time around.

Seriously, everyone in this movie goes right on with their lives as if nothing at all has happened to them – and this film doesn’t even take place over a long period of time the way the first and third films did – as far as I can tell, other than the ending, the whole thing takes place within the confines of a single week.

Anyhow, Guy gets the message from the Ghost of Murder and leads a variety of people outside – in addition his three friends there’s the Mechanic and his woulda-been-beheaded girlfriend, racist guy, and black security guard. They’re shocked and don’t believe Guy’s claims that he had a vision, right up until his yells are interrupted by the crashed car’s other front wheel, which flies down out of the heavens and beheads the same woman that its brother would have in the original timeline.

There, with the twitching body on the ground signalling our first obvious comedy edit of the night, the film finally cuts to its opening credits, 11 minutes into the proceedings.

Oy. Thank god there’s only an hour left in this thing.

No, you’re not reading that wrong. FD4 clocks in at a just-under-feature-length 76 minutes when the ending credits roll, and that’s only if I give them the ridiculously self-congratulatory opening credits sequence, which offers up X-Ray recreations of some of the series’ most memorable kills during its 90 second runtime.

You know what’s great about this sequence? Just how many times it gets the fatal injuries from the earlier films wrong. Here they are, in the the order they appeared-

That’s Yuppie from part 2 getting a jagged PVC pipe in the head. But take a look at her actual death-

And you can clearly see that it was coming from a completely different angle – the sequence also shows it flying through a window and impaling her, but part 2 took a more circuitous, and far stupider, route to that impalement.

Then, after a few choice kills from part 3, a power drill shows up-

Even though, insanely, a power drill has never been featured in any of the series’ kills. Which, even as I type it out, seems crazy.

Then we take a trip back to the first film, with Stifler’s half-beheading-

Which is depicted as being above the mouth, when it actually cut his head off at exactly mid-mouth level-

You know, it’s quite possible that this is the nit-pickiest thing I’ve ever done. Huh. But again, I’d just like to put it out there that there were people being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to recreate 3D CGI animated versions of these character deaths, and they failed to do so.

Hell, at one point they realized that building a 3D model of a van and barbed wire and then having them explode and fly (respectively) would be too difficult, so they just used footage from the actual film-

With a ‘X-Ray’ filter put on top of it to make it match the rest of the footage. It doesn’t, though.

Then things get even weirder when, instead of just filtering footage from the actual movie’s kill-

Or creating a full-body skeleton and showing the barbed-wire hit it, they shot new footage of a different guy wearing different clothes, having a different (not arm and hand-severing) injury happening to him-

Now that’s just weird. Did they not want to use footage of the previous film because they didn’t want to have to pay that actor again? Could anyone be that cheap?

Also, take a look at those posts behind the new dead guy-

I’m getting so hard-core into this pointing-out of flaws that I can’t help but notice that in the actual footage the Druggie was standing perpendicular to the line of fenceposts, rather than directly in front of them.

Wow, I just totally topped my greatest nit-picking excess ever. Hell, this incoherent, poorly-designed image is only onscreen for like half a second.

Oh, and when they do get around to shows a closeup of that severed arm, it’s the wrong one-

Yeah, that’s his right arm being cut off, where the left one was severed in the movie.

Damn, this is too hardcore. Let’s move on to the actual movie.

Like the filmmakers before me, I’m going to forgo all of the character stuff, and just let you know that the friends meet up at their local coffee shop, and while Guy and Gal want to go to the memorial at the track, Friend and Douche do not.

Also of note in this scene? The following has been gouged into Guy’s regular table-

At this point you may wonder ‘Is the Ghost of Murder now resorting to defacing tables in order to leave his cruel clues?’ The answer, as we will learn a little later in the film, is yes.

Anyhoo, over at the memorial the film’s ‘plot’ gets rolling, as we discover that the racist guy blames the guard for his wife’s death, because the guard wouldn’t let him run back to certain death while attempting to save her. The racist decides that he’s going to get back at the guard the only way he knows how – by burning a cross on the guard’s lawn.


You know, I’ve always wondered how someone can carry a cross on their back to one of these things without pausing to wonder ‘Hey – what do you think Jesus might think of the thing I’m doing right now?’ I’m guessing he’d be against it.

Oh, and did I mention that the guard was black earlier? If not, he is. I guess the cross might seem confusing if that wasn’t clear.

The Ghost of Murder doesn’t truck with racists, of course, so he sets the racist’s tow truck rolling along, spilling gasoline, dragging a hook behind. Racist gets caught in the hook and set on fire, then killed in the explosion. It’s kind of a ‘phone-in’ death, as far as the Ghost is concerned, actually. Not a lot of cleverness there.

The next morning Guy and Gal hear about the racist’s death on the news. Note that the guy is fully dressed, while gal is – entirely gratuitously – in her underwear.

Ah, movies.

Guy and gal are creeped out by the news – mostly because guy had a dream the night before about elements suggesting the death. And then he has another vision right away, giving him clues about how the mom is going to die!

Right – I didn’t mention the Mom before, did I? Well, she was saved from the car accident as well. I didn’t bring it up because she dies in another one of the series’ patented ‘Screw You, Audience’ kills. You know, the ones where the Ghost of Murder goes to ridiculous lengths to almost kill someone, and then they’re murdered after that near-death by a completely unrelated set of circumstances.

This one’s even more preposterous than the dentist’s office from part 2 – A woman is getting her hair done and the Ghost of murder sabotages a chair, loosens a ceiling fan, and slides a can of hairspray into a flat iron so that it will explode, dropping a surprisingly sharp fan-

Absolutely nowhere near the mom. You can see the picture for yourself – the mom and hairdresser are exactly where they were while cutting hair. And even if mom hadn’t spun in the chair, that ceiling fan wasn’t going to land anywhere near her. So why did the Ghost of Murder pull all of that random crap? To frustrate the audience while waiting for the ‘screw you’ death of having a rock thrown through her eye by a lawnmower.

It’s supposed to be extra-funny because the scene begun with some kids throwing the rocks into the field that would later kill their mother. Funny because of the lifetime of therapy that results from seeing your parent brutally killed in front of you.

With a second person dead Guy and Gal see the pattern, and decide to bring Friend and Douche in on their theory. They even have a sheaf of papers that they printed off after doing a google search for the term ‘Final Destination’.

It seems that, as the second and third films suggested, this is a pretty well-known phenomenon in the world of Final Destination. It’s a nice bit of continuity that gets stomped all over when Guy follows up the death sentence with ‘Some say the chain can be broken.’

Um… who says that? Considering that in every documented case of this thing happening, every single person involved died? The only possible explanation is that the Ghost of Murder is putting some alternate theories out there because he knows full well that it’s more entertaining when people die desperately clinging to life rather than accepting mortality’s stark inevitability.

So who’s next on the hit list? Guy and Gal head out to the race track in hopes of helping him remember the order of death. There they run into the security guard, who’s surprisingly willing to go along with their crazy plan to thwart death. We, the audience, on the other hand, are treating all of this ‘thwarting death’ stuff with barely-contained contempt, since we know that they can’t possibly get out of this alive.

Guy figures out that the Mechanic is next, and they head over to his place of work. It’s at this point that the film proudly displays that, along with its other shortcomings, it doesn’t have the slightest familiarity with how physics work.

We’ll give films a lot of credit in their presentation of science we don’t understand. Especially where explosions are concerned. Take, for example, the sundering moment I screencapped above – now, logically I know that there’s no way a car can explode that would send its hood spinning, completely intact, at a nearly flat trajectory. But we saw an explosion, and when explosions happen, bad-ass things follow close behind, plausibility be damned.

But there’s acceptable suspension of disbelief – say, the kind that allows you to believe that an exploding van could perfectly detach two fenceposts and throw them (once again at a completely flat trajectory) while keeping two lengths of barbed wire between them so that they can cut a man to pieces, rather than wrapping around him and tearing his flesh apart – and then there’s preposterous contrivance on the part of the writers.

I’m watching a Final Destination movie, the fourth one, in point of fact, so obviously I’m fine with the idea of the Ghost of Murder manipulating small details of the environment in order to elaborately kill people in the cruellest, bloodiest way possible. What the Ghost of Murder can’t do, on the other hand, is completely alter the way the entire world works in order to allow his hilarious murders to take place.

Only the writers can do that, and even then, only the terrible writers.

First off, there’s the fact that, instead of a chain-link fence outside, the garage has the kind of real thing that totally exists in real life-

A criss-cross of razor sharp metal slats. Gee. Wonder how the mechanic’s going to buy it, huh?

Before we move on to the murder, though, I will offer that this is the one scene where the film attempts to create ‘character’, as the guard explains that his wife and daughter were killed because he crashed their car while driving drunk. It puts him and his character completely out of place among all of the mannequins that populate the film, which is largely about watching people getting diced into cubes (IN 3D!).

But back to the death – the Ghost of Murder makes a cable spool release, which sends a van rolling down a ramp towards mechanic – but the line goes taut just in time!

The Mechanic is saved! At least until the film decides that it’s forgotten the basics of reality. You see, just as the mechanic steps out from behind the van the spool breaks off, flies through the air-

And smacks into a compressed-gas tank, which-

Hold on a second… how did the spool wind up flying through the air? What force was being placed on it that caused it to rocket like that? The van is rolling down the ramp, and then stopped suddenly as the cable ran out – that moment, when the van’s momentum was suddenly halted by the spool, was the absolute high point of force being exerted on the cable. Had it broken just then, the spool would doubtless have been sent flying.

It didn’t, though – it broke off ten seconds later, when basically no force was being exerted on the spool. The van was at a dead stop, sitting on relatively flat ground, and the cable – being steel – doesn’t stretch and therefore stores no potential energy that it could use to whip the spool around were it a bungee.

This is science so basic that even I know it: take a piece of wire and give one end to a friend, then both pull on it. If you let go, the friend’s hand will jerk back, and the wire will whip towards it. Tie that same piece of wire to a nail on a wall, and you can pull as hard as you like, when you let go of that piece of wire, it’s just going to fall. That’s the situation we’re presented with in the film, and yet we’re asked to believe that a hundred-pound steel spool will be tossed around a room by no energy at all.

God-damn, is this a stupid movie.

Oh, right, the death. Let’s get a look at that.

As anyone could predict, they were just so excited to be ripping off Cube that they didn’t really care about the details leading up to the death.

Do you think that in the script it said that he was pushed through a chain-link fence, and then later someone noticed how stupid it was, but instead of rethinking the scene they just said ‘Ah, screw it, it’s a razor-slat fence – those happen, don’t they?’

Even more contemptuous of reality is the next scene, which is part of a first for the series: simultaneous deaths planned by the Ghost of Murder to kill two people at the same time in different locations. Even wondered how the Ghost of Murder works the timing when a giant slab of concrete falls on two people at once in the original timeline? Wonder no further – friend gets attacked in a car wash, while douche is trapped at the bottom of a pool.

Let’s look at the Friend’s preposterous brush with death, being trapped in her car as it goes through a car wash. First off, I can accept that the Ghost of Murder can screw with her car’s electronics, locking her inside it as it fills with water from a pipe that he also tampers with. That’s just how the ghost of murder rolls.

What I can’t accept is how the whole scene kicks off, with a roller knocking the antenna off of Friend’s SUV into the circuit breaker, causing the car wash’s machinery to malfunciton. Here’s a picture of that happening:

An explosion launching a flag so that it will act as a spear? Sure, why not? A regular not-at-all-waterproofed-even-if-it-was-closed circuit box set on the wall in a room designed specifically to splash water everywhere? The Ghost of Murder has a lot of powers – forcing an architect and contractor to do god-awful work five years earlier is not one of them.

Again, only the writer has that power.

You know, the filmmakers can put these characters into any situations that the budget will allow. It’s not like plausibility is an issue for them. We, the Final Destination-watching audience, expect them to come up with weird and interesting ways for these murders to happen. If you can’t come up with an interesting, way for someone to get killed in a garage or car wash without preposterously rewriting reality to arrange it, then just don’t set a scene there.

You’re obviously not able to write hard enough, so next time around maybe have the characters work at places that will be a little easier to arrange creative deaths in. Like a chainsaw factory. Or an acid storage warehouse.

Then again, I’m not even sure if the imminent death that was planned for Friend was even possible – she got her head trapped out the top of a sun roof, and was moving towards a roller:

Yeah, there’s a metal bar in there somewhere, but is it really low enough that it would hit her face?

Friend is actually saved from finding out how plausible her death was by gal and guard (guy went to the pool to look for Douche) pushing her SUV back with their pickup. This causes the Ghost of Murder to temporarily skip her, so let’s move on to the far more plausible, but stupid-for-other-reasons death of the Douche. After having sex with a random woman (the film series had been notoriously low on breasts up until this point, just the tanning twins in 3 and this gratuitous sex scene keeping fans of nudity happy) he accidentally turns a pool’s drainage pump on and then dives in, looking for the lucky coin he dropped.

The Ghost of Murder then supercharges the drain so that it’s capable of tearing the cover away-

So when Douche swims over it, he’s sucked down and stuck to the drain, which proceeds to suck his guts out through his anus. This is the standard FD kill – a normal situation has, with a little help from the Ghost of Murder, been transformed into a deathtrap.

And what were the reasons for me calling it ‘stupid’ earlier? Ah, well it seems that Douche dives into the water at 47:25 and gets stuck almost immediately – but then he’s struggling and fully awake right up until the suction kills him at 49:50. So yeah, I don’t believe he could hold his breath that long, especially not on a casual dive into a pool.

Okay, let’s give the film the benefit of the doubt, and assume that whenever the film cut over to the car wash time was standing still for the douche. Even discounting that minute and a half, Douche spends an entire minute onscreen and under water, all the time thrashing about and spewing bubbles.

How on earth was he still conscious?

With half of their friends dead it’s time for more soul-searching. The guard, again being the only character to have one, announces that either the chain has been broken, or he’s going to die next. In either event, he’s prepared for it, and heads home to kill himself.

Guy and Gal head home to go the Alex route and death-proof their apartment, just in case the plot of the film continues.

You know what’s great about that picture? They’re not throwing the knives out, they’re just taping them together and covering them with cardboard. Because, you know, if it turns out the Ghost of Murder is done with them they don’t want to have to go to the all the trouble of buying new knives.

It’s at this point in the film that, once and for all, the movie announces that the Ghost of Murder is the one sending these signs to the main characters, expressly for the purpose of making them run around frantically and get killed off in entertaining ways. How can I be absolutely sure of this fact? While they’re sitting on the couch, relaxing and hoping to dodge the whole ‘being killed’ thing, the Ghost of Murder knocks over a cup of coffee, which stains all but five words on a newspaper:

“Through…Action…they were saved”. This is the sign that motivates them to run over to Guard’s house and check on him, believing that they’ve saved everyone’s life by rescuing friend, and hoping to catch him before he kills himself.

But before we get to the results of their quest, let’s analyze this key moment in the film, since it defines both the Ghost of Murder’s character, and proves that he’s the one sending the messages to Guy, and all the previous clairvoyant main characters.

Q1 - How can we be sure that the Ghost of Murder knocked over the coffee cup?

A1 – The coffee cup is knocked over by a sudden mysterious gust of wind, which also picks up Gal’s hair and clothes-

Despite the fact that the windows are behind her, and closed. This ‘mysterious gust of wind’ is the most common way that the ghost of murder operates, followed closely by ‘unscrewing something inside a machine’. Across the entire length of the series that ‘mysterious gust of wind’ has always acted as short form for – the Ghost of Murder is at work.

Q2 – Is the message intended to help the characters?

A2 – Clearly it isn’t, because the message is a lie. The entire point of the last three films has been that nothing can save you once the Ghost of Murder sets his sights on taking you down.

Q3 – So why does the Ghost of Murder send the message?

A3 – Because the absolute last the the Ghost of Murder wants is to have two people on his hit list sitting on a couch in a stab-proof apartment. The Ghost of Murder loves to cause obscenely brutal deaths, and nothing incredibly gross is going to happen to them in that apartment. So what does the Ghost of Murder do? Whatever it takes to get them out of the apartment, running around and trying to save themselves – it’s obviously more fun to kill them in this state, and he has access to so many toys to do it with!

Think of the Ghost of Murder like a duck hunter – Ducks are simple, docile creatures. If all you wanted to do was kill a few ducks it would be easy enough to point a gun at them as they swim slowly across a pond and pull the trigger. But the duck hunter sees no sport in that – they know that the only way to find fun in murdering a duck is if the duck is terrfied and trying to escape its fate. So the hunter sends a message (by dog or rock) to startle the ducks and gets them flying for safety, then murders them as they flee.

Because that’s more entertaining.

Likewise, the Ghost of Murder sees no sport in killing a pair of immobile stupes. He wants them frantically running about in all directions like chickens. And then he cuts their heads off.

With all that in mind, what could this scene possibly mean other than that the ghost of murder is a dick who’s impatiently awaiting the gore scenes to come in the last half hour of the film?

Which, come to think of it, is something he and the audience have in common.

So they rush over to the guard’s house and discover that, in a callback to part 2, he’s completely incapable of killing himself. Pills won’t work, his car won’t start, and they arrive in time to pull him out of his noose. Weirdly the characters interpret this as proof that the chain has been broken, and that they’re from the Ghost of Murder’s plans. I’m not sure why they do this (how does being off an evil ghost’s hit list make you immune to suicide?), but we in the audience naturally know better, since we’re intimately familiar with the rule that you absolutely cannot kill yourself out of order when the Ghost of Murder’s got you on his list. Which must mean that, despite their best guesses, there’s someone else on the list before the guard.

They don’t think the situation through, though, so the film jumps a couple of days forwards, giving guy and gal time to impulsively decide to head off on a trip to Europe. Gal and Friend go to a movie at the mall while Guy handles some last-minute planning. Which means it’s time for another clue about who’s going to die next, and how. The vision is kicked off by a fake European guidebook (the cleverly-named ‘Europe by the Book’) falling open to a telling image:

Hold on a second, why is there a picture of a person drowning in a travel guide? That picture doesn’t even have a title explaining what it is. The vision shows dripping water, blood splattering, and a caduceus (or snake-staff, if you prefer). Since those clues are far too vague to be useful the Ghost of Murder also flips on the television, letting guy know the identity of the person who’s about to die – another survivor from the disaster who’s just been identified now that he’s come out of his coma!

Wait, it was common knowledge that there was another survivor from the disaster? How come we haven’t heard about this before? Their exhaustive googling didn’t turn this up?

Guy and guard rush over to the hospital, hoping to save this mysterious survivor. It goes exactly as well as you’d think.

The idea was that a hydrotherapy tub upstairs had overflown, which caused it to weaken the floor and fall through. Because it’s entirely plausible that a hospital’s floor (especially in the hydrotherapy room) would be made of things that water would weaken, like wood and plaster, and not, you know, concrete.

Amazingly, though, that idiotically contrived death isn’t the stupidest thing about this death. You see, the mystery victim notices that water is leaking onto him in his bed, so he strenuously crawls out of it, hoping to escape, and winds up moving to the very spot the tub was going to land on! Hilarious, right?

Except for one profoundly stupid thing – where was he crawling to? Here’s the guy in his bed as water drips from above-

Now he’s climbing off the left side of his bed.

And here he is crawling across the floor.

Please note the conveniently-placed door just to the right of the bed. You’d think someone trying to reach safety might be headed for that door, wouldn’t you? Especially one who only knows that water is leaking down, and not that a giant metal tub is going to come crashing through the ceiling, which, again, is made entirely out of paper-mache.

But he’s not headed for the door. He must be crawling for something important, though, right? Like maybe there’s an open door over there, and he was worrying about being able to reach the much-closer-door’s handle?

Nope. It’s a flat wall.

So why was he crawling in that direction? Ah, right – terrible writing. For a moment there I guess I forgot what movie I was watching. Sorry.

The film reaches new depths of stupidy just moments later when, despite the fact that they know Guard is the next to die, they take no effort to protect him or look out for possible ways the Ghost of Murder might be out to get him. Which leads to outright theft-

I know the filmmakers might claim that this is a reference or homage to an earlier film, but that’s just not accurate – the 3D X-Ray callbacks that played under the credits serve that purpose. This is just theft.

More to the point, though, what’s an ambulance doing going thirty miles an hour in a hospital parking lot? With no siren?

Now that we’re down to three remaining cast members it’s time to enter… endgame.

Guy rushes to the mall, hoping to rescue Friend and Gal from an as-yet-unknown fate. The two women are attending a 3D action movie, which gives the filmmakers a chance to show off some of the joke posters that people love to print up for sets-

The other one is really obvious, but is ‘Death Fist’ a parody of something? A Van Damme movie, maybe? It reminds me of the Lionheart poster a little, but I’m guessing that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So what could possibly happen in a theatre that would get people killed? It seems that they’re building some new screens, and when the guys break for lunch one working with coke-bottle glasses leaves his specs on a table. This allows the Ghost of Murder to use a gust of wind to move the tarp covering some closed windows – the sun shines in and focuses through the lenses, setting a pile of sawdust on fire. The fire quickly spreads along a path of paint thinner over to the, uh…

Barrels of rocket fuel that malls keep stacked in all construction areas.

Confession time – I’ve never worked any kind of construction site (shocking, right?), but seriously, what the hell are those barrels for?

Hell, at this point in the construction process they’re still cutting lumber and building walls and supports – why would there even be cans of paint and paint thinner there?

It’s benefit of the doubt time, I guess – let’s just assume the construction guys were also domestic terrorists planning to build a bomb, and all the jet fuel (and paint) was somehow an integral part of their scheme.

While Gal and Friend sit in the movie theatre, watching a fake action film (which features a bridge explosion that I think is from ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’), Guy runs from screen to screen, looking for them. In the film’s only slightly clever sequence Gal intuits that something is wrong when she notices that the people all around her are analogs to the victims at the NASCAR crash! Just then Guy runs in and warns her about his vision – there’s going to be an explosion! Gal’s happy to leave, but Friend is having none of it – her life has been saved once, and she’s sure that the whole thing is over.

And then, something completely impossible happens. As Guy and Gal flee the theatre, Friend is killed-

Only she couldn’t have been.

What’s the one god-damn rule this franchise has followed? It’s that you can’t get killed unless it’s your turn on the Ghost of Murder’s hit list. So whose turn was it?

Since Friend’s life has been saved once, that means the list currently stands at: Gal, Guy, Friend. So even if pulling Gal out of the theatre counted as her skip, it doesn’t matter, the Friend still can’t die, because it’s Guy’s turn next, not Friend’s. You might think that Guy fleeing the theatre counts as him being skipped, but no – the rule has clearly been that if you put yourself in harm’s way to save someone else and then narrowly avoid being killed, it does not count as your turn. This was covered in the first god-damn film, people. Alex nearly got killed saving Clear, but because it wasn’t his turn, the near-miss didn’t count.

Which means that it can’t possibly be Friend’s turn. Which means the filmmakers didn’t even care the slightest bit about the rules of their own franchise. Wow.

Out in the main stretch of the mall everything is falling apart because of the explosion. As Guy and Gal struggle to make it down an escalator it collapses on them, causing Gal to be dragged into the gears-

It’s at this moment that we discover that, like the end of Final Destination 3 before it, this whole theatre explosion sequence has been a new premonition that Guy was having as he walked out of the hospital. Which means he’s got time to save everyone!

Well, except for the guard – the Ghost of Murder is such a dick that he only sends the vision once they’re already crossing the street, meaning that Guy gest to watch his friend die twice. Although, thankfully, we’re spared the ordeal.

Now it’s up to Guy to save the day! But how? Simple: instead of running into the theater, he goes back into the construction area where the paint cans are, sadly, already ablaze.

Guy goes through a ridiculous ordeal that involves getting his arm nail-gunned to a wall and then manually setting off the sprinkler system with a burning stick. It’s the only sequence in the entire film that actually manages to create any drama – mostly because it’s not being edited for maximum comedic effect, but also due to the fact that we’re not sure how Guy is going to going to get out of the situation.

There’s never any danger of him dying, mind you – he’s the main character, and they either die off camera (1 and 2), or in the end-of-movie kill. Still, though, the sequence works because they actually manage to get the character into an incredibly dire situation, and then have him noodle his way out of it.

Just one brief, shining moment this film that doesn’t serve as a practical demonstration of filmmaking incompetence. Startling, right? Kind of like finding a brand new, totally unscratched CD at the bottom of a pile of garbage.

So, with the fire stopped and the disaster prevented, it’s time for the end-of-film wrapup, which is set just two weeks later – a record in briefness from the franchise, I think.

The sequence begins with Guy on the way to his local coffee shop (from the beginning of the movie, remember?) and seeing a construction scaffold that’s about to collapse.

He points out the flaw to the workers in a surprisingly genial manner, then continues into the coffee shop.

Um… why? Why isn’t he taking this as an important sign about his upcoming murder? Guy acts like his survival at the mall has moved him off the Ghost of Murder’s hit list – but how could he possibly think this?

The two possibilities, as he explained it earlier, are that the chain can be broken, saving everyone’s lives, or that the Ghost of Murder just keeps coming back over and over again until he succeeds. Well they’ve done nothing that could constitute ‘breaking the chain’, so why is he so blasé about the rickety scaffold?

He can’t possibly think that the Ghost of Murder would only take two shots at a person, because in his second premonition he saw the Ghost of Murder make a third (successful, if completely illogical) attempt on Friend’s life. Since he saved everybody at the mall, that means either he or Friend is next on the hit list, depending on how the Ghost of Murder scores his ordeal in the construction area.

Despite these obvious reasons to be nervous Guy meets up with Gal and Friend at the coffee shop and sits at their usual table, where he makes a shocking discovery.

That’s right – the Ghost of Murder scratched out the ‘It’s Coming…’ and replaced it with an ‘IT’s HERE’ – not coincidentally that exact message has been showing up in all of his premonitions. Which means that the Ghost of Murder planned for him to save all those people so that he could kill them all at this moment. And how’s he going to do that? By collapsing the scaffolding, which causes a truck to swerve-

Killing all three of them in one fell swoop, presumably in the order they were meant to die in the original timeline.


Except for a couple of things.

First off, it’s nice that the guy’s last line is him realizing that running him through the deadly rat’s maze that is his life has been the Ghost of Murder’s game all along, and that was who sent him all of the premonitions. Of course he’s stupid enough to try and explain this to Gal and Friend rather than just fleeing in terror, but that’s not a surprise, he’s never been demonstrated any particular intellect or cleverness, he’s just a guy who was, for a brief window, given the cheat codes to life, but now they’re not working any more.

The other huge question left at the end of the movie is just why the Ghost of Murder offered such an elaborate series of clues to help Guy along. Even for the notoriously dickish Ghost of Murder, two separate premonitions sent to one person is a bit of a stretch.

Unless you consider the movie theatre, and all the people who would have died in the mall had Guy not intervened. Now, the Ghost of Murder has been established as loving one thing and one thing only – sparing people’s lives just so he can make them suffer a far crueller death a little later on. In order to do this, he needs people to save those lives.

Which is exactly what guy does twice in the film. Which means that, according to the rules of this movie the Ghost of Murder is going to be coming for every single person who would have died in the mall that day.

Yeah, the next few months are going to be pretty gruesome in that unnamed American town.

Hey, do you think the filmmakers realized just how dark their ending was, or were they satisfied with killing off the main characters and never even paused to consider the five hundred other people who’d die cruel, protracted deaths soon after?

I didn’t think so either.

Oh, and what's with the absence of Tony Todd? I mean, he obviously had better things to do. But still, didn't you make an effort?


jordynmarie_25 said...

Loving all of your Final Destination reviews. I think you should do the fifth one.

It is such a laugh.

Anonymous said...

Actually when I saw it in theaters, the bolded carving on the table at the end of the movie was "IT'S BACK" (likely because all the videos/hints at the next death had "it's here" carved into them. Don't know why they cut it from the dvd/BluRay.