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Final Destination

Rated [R]
Starring Devon Sawa
Screenplay by Glen Morgan, James Wong and Jeffrey Reddick; story by Jeffrey Riddick
Directed by James Wong

IN SHORT: Rube Goldberg makes a scareflick

A planeload of high school students on a field trip to France. A nervous kidlet, Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) who has a vision of a horrific plane crash that terrifies him so that he gets kicked off the plane. Four others students and one teacher get knocked off the boarding list as well, for other reasons. The plane crashes, just as Alex had forseen. Death, force that it is, comes calling for the six who got left behind in Final Destination, a scareflick so painflully bad that viewing it will convince you that suicide should be legalized in all fifty states. You won't be angry enough to want to go out and kill the filmmakers, 'cuz you'll want to waste yourself for wasting your cash money.

It's not that the idea isn't a good one. It probably sounded great in the pitch meeting, since it had been developing in the mind of Jeffrey Riddick since he was 14 years old and decided he wanted to write horror movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street. The problem is that the script, finished by Glen Morgan and James Wong, goes to such lengths to set up an unbelievable sequence of coincidences that lead to the snuffing of each survivor student that you don't believe 'em -- especially since the first one starts as something really cool but ultimately comes up so damn short of a scare. An experienced director might have looked at the storyboards and seen what didn't make sense; he may have known how to make the deaths visually arresting. But director James Wong does neither and, having co-written the script, doesn't step back to say "Whoa..."

Cranky felt like he had seen all this before. Toonhead that he is, the name of cartoonist Rube Goldberg came to mind. Goldberg who made his fame by creating cartoons of over-elaborate machines created to do simple things. Here's one example, and it's a simple one. More can be found at Each death in this flick plays out like one of Rube's machines, and none of 'em are as entertaining. Beyond that, the story plummets into the realm of unbelieveability when Alex figures out a "reason" and an "order" for who is going to die and when. Does he tell the cops? No. Does he show up at each scene to try to stop it? Yes. Do the cops find him there and figure he's a serial killer? Not for a second.

An unknown cast. First time creators. Major flame out. Final Destination is too painful to write anything else about. Avoid the flight at all costs.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Final Destination, he would have paid...


'cuz the plane crash, premonition that it was, was gangbusters. Find someone to rent it for you.

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