NOW PLAYING: Final Destination 2

Posted: Monday, February 03, 2003

Whatever you do, do not go see this movie by yourself! If you do, you'll end up like me, lamely trying to toss witty comments over your shoulder in a pathetic attempt to join someone else's group in mocking how incredibly bad this movie is. Truly bad movies should not be a solitary occasion. And yet, for Final Destination 2, all my regular movie dates had other plans, and I was left to sadly mumble at the screen, "You morons!"

It's no wonder that Final Destination 2 was made. The first film in the series did a modest box office, drawing in the post-Scream teen crowd, along with a dozen others; Urban Legends, Soul Survivors, I Know Who You Slashed Last Weekend, they're all the same. But do any of these movies need sequels? I guess they do, because they're making them in droves. And the teenagers are lining up. The showing I went to wasn't packed, but considering it was at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon, the number of kids there was impressive. They had a blast, which leads me to wonder if the fact that this is a terrible movie is even relevant at all. They shouted at the screen, they screamed at the appropriate parts, they laughed. Isn't that what going to the movies used to be all about? What is the difference between Final Destination 2 and Creature from the Black Lagoon? At least they know their audience.

The movie begins, much as the first one did, with a bunch of high school kids starting out on a trip. In this one, the teens are on their way to a wild, unchaperoned week in Daytona, I think. It's not important, because just as they get to the freeway, they are killed in a horrible traffic accident. This, by the way, was truly terrifying, and should give any parent who lets their kids drive themselves on long trips something to think about. It's the only really scary part of the movie. But, luckily for the kids, and all the people on the on-ramp behind them, it's all just a premonition, had by our heroine, who immediately blocks the road, not allowing anyone to pass. They are all saved. Too bad for them that Death (that's with a capital D) has a plan; a design that they have now screwed up. You see, they were all meant to die at that moment, and now the Grim Reaper has to clean up the mess, usually in the most gruesome and illogical way possible.

Of course the movie makes no sense, but the bad part is that the writers know it, and are constantly trying to keep you, the audience, up to speed. 90% of the dialogue consists of long-winded, convoluted explanations for what is happening. "Aha! So Death is killing us in backwards order because we are all related in some way to the people from the first movie who were supposed to die. So that means that Cheryl is going to be the next one to get her head chopped off in the elevator. And because of the complex geometrical shape of the freeway we were all supposed to die on, Tommy will be impaled on a T-square. It's all so clear!" I guess this is no surprise. Bad movies have a history of complicated exposition. Watch any movie about people trying to raise the devil and you'll get a doctoral thesis on the many uses of the pentagram and 101 uses for goat's blood.

There is only one returning character from the first Final Destination and she's only worth mentioning because her character's name is actually Clear Rivers. I kept thinking they were talking about a town. I had to wait for the credits to roll to confirm that they were talking about a person. Lame names notwithstanding, Final Destination purists (if there is such a thing) should be pleased with this film. You don't have to have seen the first movie to enjoy (I use that in the loosest sense of the word) the second one, but they do heavily reference the original. I appreciate it when a schlocky sequel that's just out for the quick buck doesn't forget where it came from.

Final Destination 2 is truly a bad movie. It's so bad, in fact, that it's come full circle and is actually kind of fun. The acting, the dialogue, the idiotic situations, and the convoluted explanations will have you howling. Take someone, take a crowd. Make a night of it. Maybe if we all go, it won't be the final Destination after all. Grade: B+ (or D-, depending on how you look at it.)

Final Destination 2 is rated R for gruesome violence, language, and brief nudity.

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