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IN SHORT: Death never takes a holiday. this time though, "it" is even a more demented reaper than ever. [Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, language, drug content and some nudity. 90 minutes]
We remember Halloween and Friday the 13th, the originals, first hand. They were unique in their day but sequel after sequel, and imitation after imitation that followed put the kibosh on the traditional horror genre and we didn't care for any of that at all. Nor did we care for the first installment of Final Destination, which struck us as a poor man's Rube Goldberg-conformed murder machine.
Either they've gotten it right or we've mellowed in the last two years because Final Destination 2 was a more enjoyable sit than its predecessor. Perhaps it's the (fact) that the killings are telegraphed enough in advance and still manage to deliver a surprise – hell, we usually forget the things within a day and we're writing this review three days after the fact and the gore is still sticking with us, so to speak.
It's a policy of this site not to compare sequels to their originals and it's also a personal quirk that we don't think you should have had to have seen the original to understand what the heck is going on in the sequel. With a new set of hands controlling the screenplay (with series story creator Jeffrey Reddick hanging on to his story credit) Final Destination 2 gets off to a bone crushing start and, once the effects nuts are sated, gets down to explaining what little story idea it builds upon. Simply: there is an accident which doesn't kill the mountains of people that it is supposed to, in this case a freeway pile up. "Death" spends the rest of the movie taking out all the victims who got off easy. All the explanation you need comes your way via the appearance of the sole survivor of the first movie, Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), now safely locked away for her own protection (hah!)
This movie is about Kimberly Corman (A. J.Cook), caught up in one of those highway entrance ramp jams that is just begging to turn into a zillion car pile-up, if just one impatient driver jumps the line. Kim has a premonition of disaster while waiting for the on-ramp traffic light -- they're used to time access out in California (our only experience with the things since we live in Manhattan) and deliberately sits on the ramp, pissing off everyone behind her. Lucky them, as the crash that should have caused the pile up happens with no cars behind it to pile up. The pile up doesn't happen. Death is pissed off, once again. And then Kim has another premonition about pigeons . . .
Which means nothing to our new group of corpses to be. Some, if not all of those Doomed ones include hip, motorcycle-riding schoolteacher Eugene Dix (T.C. Carson); drug-addled Rory (Jonathan Cherry) who gives Kimberly his keys and instructions to clean up his joint so his mom doesn't find his drugs before he splits the scene; aggressive corporate type, Kat (Keegan Connor Tracy) who cheats death more times than she'd like; widow Nora Carpenter (Lynda Boyd) whose son Tim (James Kirk) has a smashing good time after sucking down way too mach laughing gas at the dentist office -- before Kim's premonition about killer pigeons comes true; and lottery winner Evan Lewis (David Paetkau).
Gee, have you ever notice how the big lottery winners are usually about two steps away from death, anyway? Heh heh heh.
There are many connections to events and characters if the last movie and none of 'em require any knowledge on your part as to who they are or how they shuffled off this mortal coil. Well, one does (sort of) but his presence in the tale is to present a way out of the path of the Inevitable, something about the birth of a child who was supposed to die in the pile up. If the pregnant mom can be found; if the child is born, all will be well.
Nonsense, of course, but it drives the film forward and, let's face it, you go to these things to see disaster and death. Final Destination 2 is one big tease after another, or, Death screws up more in this flick than before. There is a great sense that the screenwriters/effects folks are teasing the audience unmercifully before delivering the big one two – you'll understand if you see it. As much as we dislike most of these flicks, Final Destination 2 was a good popcorn flick. As we wrote about Darkness Falls last week, you know your likes better than we. If you live for hard core slice 'n' dice, there isn't enough spurting blood in Final Destination 2 to make you orgasmic, though some of the killings are totally demented. If you despise even the thought of graphic violence, Final Destination 2 is not for you. If you sat for Darkness Falls and wished for something a bit more graphic and less dependent on the SUDDEN LOUD NOISES to scare you silly, bingo.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Final Destination 2, he would have paid . . .
dateflick level, aimed at teens and 20somethings. Final Destination 2 is a totally sick, demented and twisted scareflick. We giggled like a little gurl...
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