It’s been exactly one year since a horrible plane crash that killed, among others, a high school group set for an overseas learning experience. Left behind was a handful of students who were lucky enough to be pulled off the jet prior to takeoff — only to drop one by one over subsequent days in a series of remarkable accidents. Those were the events of Final Destination, an entertaining 2000 thriller with a dark, funny edge.
And now, Final Destination 2 covers nearly identical territory, beginning on the anniversary of the accident, when a gruesome highway pile-up kills 18 people, but leaves a new handful of survivors untouched. They were meant to die, but are saved by a premonition from Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook), who sees the disaster coming and refuses to let her friends enter the highway.
The fact that some members of the audience were not did not contribute to the original’s $53-million take at the box office doesn’t matter. The sequel could as easily been called “Final Destination Revisited.” The film follows the same trend that most modern horror sequels fall into: repeating the success of the original while adding more elaborate death scenes and using the most expensive special effects at its disposal.
Indeed, the only apparent difference between this and the original film is that death wields its murderous wheel in reverse. In the first movie, the survivors of flight 180 were slaughtered one by one in the order that they would have died had they remained on the plane. Here, those who died first are the ones who would have died last on Route 23. The literal-mindedness of the material suggests that its been written for idiots with no concept of the afterlife.
A scene where an otherwise precious teenager runs gleefully towards a flock of pigeons just before being crushed by a gigantic plate of glass has to be one of the funniest scenes in the history of the horror genre.
The measure of Final Destination 2 comes down to whether one can buy the idea of 100 minutes devoted solely to how creatively people can be sliced, diced, broiled, crushed or dismembered.
Unless the writers can figure out new ways for death to kill, they have completely exhausted their directions and the third film now seems unlikely.
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Horror, R, Running time: 100 min.