Are there any films more efficient that the Final Destination movies? Here is a series of slasher films that cleans up the usual stalk-and-kill rigmarole by merely removing the actual slasher from the equation; rather than being hunted and murdered by a mad supernatural zombie, the people in these films are offed – one at a time – by death itself. They die in a series of horrible (and often spectacular to watch) accidents. People get impaled, drowned, crushed, decapitated, strangled, and immolated by the everyday things around them. For no other reason than they “interfered with death's plan.”
Death, you see, has a plan. Everyone is slated to die in a mysterious order as foreseen by Providence. The plan, however, can be interrupted by the machinations of a psychic. At the outset of each of the Final Destination films, one character has a psychic vision of some horrible accident, wherein they and all their peers die in an explosive or violent fashion. They stop their friends from getting on that plane/taking that highway/getting on that bridge, and their lives are saved. Death itself, however, is upset that it didn't get a chance to take out these people at the right time, and the cast proceeds, over the course of the film, to die in a series of complicated accidents. The accidents, as the films progress, get more and more elaborate, until we're witnessing a bizarre Rube Goldberg-like setup of events leading to, say, a guy getting sucked into a pool drain.
Filmmaker John Waters has said that, of the Dead Teenager films, he likes these ones most of all. There is no malice behind the death. There is no reason. There is no killer to defeat, nor psychopath to psychoanalyze. There's just the simplified beauty of accidental decapitation. How glorious.
With Final Destination 5 finally released on DVD and Blu-Ray, what better way to usher out 2011 than looking at the graceful and bloody exits of 13 attractive young people from the Final Destination series entire. So check out our list of the 13 Craziest deaths from the Final Destination 5 Movies.
From Final Destination 5 (2011), Directed by Steven Quale:
Each of the films, as I have said, opens with a vision of a horrific accident, causing the deaths of each of the cast members (which I guess means that each actor has the opportunity to die twice!). In the opening of the fifth film, we see a bridge collapse. We see one guy get baked to death by molten tar, and another is shot through with steel construction rods. The most notable death from this opening sequence, in my twisted little mind, anyway, is the death by ship mast. A young woman falls from the bridge, screaming as she plummets toward the water. Her fall is, however, interrupted by a passing sailboat beneath. She lands cleanly and squarely on the ship's mast, back first, impaled through her stomach. It's fun to watch, but I picture the aftermath, where the poor sailor has to sail to port, climb the mast, and try to lift the body off. Icky and fun.
DIDN’T STICK THE LANDING
One of the characters in Final Destination 5 is a gymnast who manages to do herself in with a bad dismount. She is at the gym working on the uneven parallel bars, when other characters approach her about the whole psychic thing. Each film, you see, has to feature a scene where the characters all figure out what's going on with Death's Plan. They usually get help from actor Tony Todd. As our heroine does flips and twirls on her bars, a screw from the air conditioning unit above falls onto the nearby balance beam. The woman on the beam steps on it, and falls off of the beam onto a nearby fan. The fan turns and blows a pile of chalk into our heroine's eyes just as she was flipping to dismount. The dust causes her to lose her balance, and gravity itself does the rest. She essentially folds herself in half. I'm not sure if any real professional gymnast would make this kind of mistake, but it's always something I'm afraid of seeing at the Olympic Games.
In every Final Destination film, there is a scene wherein all the (remaining) characters gather to discuss what's been happening, and how they intend to cheat death. During this scene, one character will always declare that this “cheating death” thing is complete nonsense, promptly followed by their rather speedy death at the hands of something nearby. In the fifth film, comedian David Koechner has one of the more amusing of these speedy deaths. A wrench is lying innocuously on a nearby engine of some sort, right next to a grand spinning wheel. The wrench, in a comparatively unspectacular manner, slips next to the wheel, and is batted at a great speed right at Koechner's head. Thunk. Stuck in skull. Gross. Is it wrong to giggle at something like that?
From The Final Destination (2009), directed by David R. Ellis:
THE BEST PART OF NASCAR
The title of this fourth Final Destination film would lead one to believe that it was either another cynical remake, or that it was intended to be the final film in the series. Nothing doing on both accounts. It's merely another sequel in the series, this time in 3-D, and with some pretty spectacular deaths. One of my favorites is one that kind of pokes fun at the reason most people say they go to high-profile car races: The accidents. There is a spectacular accident (i.e. psychic vision) at the film's outset, wherein the cast is killed. Immediately afterwards, our heroes flee into the parking lot. They hear the accident from afar. One complains that the accidents are the best part of NASCAR. A car part promptly flies over the stadium wall, and rends a poor young woman into mush. The timing of the scene and the residual deaths from the barely avoided accident is nearly poetic.
One character nearly avoids death. He is placed in the hospital after Death's first attempt. Death, I suppose, followed him there, as the machinations continue. As he convalesces in his hospital bed, a man prepares to take a bath on the floor above. The tub overflows. It runs into the floor. The room above begins to fill with water. Our hero, injured and wrapped in bandages, begins to notice water dripping from the ceiling. He manages to roll out of bed onto the floor in an attempt to escape the room. The only manages to make it to the foot of his bed, before the floor in the room above, thanks to dampness, gives away entirely. The tub crashes through the floor, landing on our hero below. I'll have you know that I've had leaks in my apartment ceiling before and nothing so spectacular has ever happened. This is one shoddy hospital. This death, to me, seems like it would make for the strangest epitaph. Here lies Bobby. Crushed by a falling bathtub.
IT’S IN 3-D!
The Final Destinationwas released in 3-D, and the film's director planned something really insidious to tie in with the gimmick. No he didn't just shove spinning glass at your face (which he did indeed do), but worked a 3-D movie into the story itself. One of the characters is at a 3-D action film, wearing her 3-D glasses; proudly refusing to change her habits merely because Death is out to get her (each film has a character like that). Being stored at the movie theater is a large canister of explosive liquid of some kind. I've worked at movies theaters for years, so I can't exactly say why a theater has such a canister, but never mind. Right at the moment the film-with-a-film features a big explosion, the canister itself explodes, making for a spectacular 3-D explosion on two levels. Our heroine is impaled by a random flying pipe. How metaphysical.
From Final Destination 3 (2006), directed by James Wong:
Prurient and gratuitous nudity has long been a staple of exploitation movies, but such a gratuity is often absent from these Final Destination films. I mean, if there's no altruistic killer on the loose, killing off all the young men and women who have premarital sex, then why have the sex at all? Thanks to this pair of deaths from Final Destination 3, however, we're allowed, at the very least, a glimpse of two topless women. This pair of blonde ditzes, obsessed with an all-over even tan, visit a local tanning salon to get cooked. They both strip nude (well one leaves her undies on, to allow for some requested tanlines from her boyfriend), lay down to get their tans on adjacent tanning beds, and relax. A long board somehow falls between them, and manages to lodge itself in the latches of both tanning beds simultaneously. Both women are trapped. Then, as so often happens in this film series, there is an electricity surge, and the tanning beds kick into overdrive. Both women are roasted like turduckens. This is why I'll never use a tanning bed.
If you learned that Death is on your tail, would you ever enter a hardware store? He'll try to kill you with a forklift! Is there any location with more sticky-uppy pointy stabby bits around? One may as well enter an Iron Maiden wholesaler, or try juggling knives in a wind tunnel. But never mind. Two of our main characters work in a Home Depot-like hardware store in Final Destination 3, and they refuse to leave the one place that has nails, saws and forklifts within ready stabbing distance. They say that they've stayed there to fight off whatever will come their way, but I think we can all see where this is heading. When a large supply of plywood falls on our heroes, they dive out of the way. One of them falls into the muzzle of a nailgun, and it proceeds to fire nails into the back of her head. Not just one or two either, but about a dozen. It's the repeated firing of the nailgun that makes this particular death so spectacular. You grunt in pain with each “pkunk” of the gun.
From Final Destination 2 (2003), directed by: David R. Ellis
This death wouldn't necessarily work in real life, unless you had a 12-inch-long neck, but it still taps into all the fears we've ever had of elevator doors. A young woman, by merely stumbling, manages to find herself with her head stuck in an elevator door. Elevator doors ordinarily have a failsafe to prevent this sort of thing, but Death laughs at panic bars. Her head remains in the cabin of the elevator, while her body is stuck in the hallway outside. The elevator, doing what comes naturally, begins to ascend. The woman, kicking all the while, has her head swiped cleanly and slowly off. I've seen people get crushed by elevators in movies in the past (Total Recall comes to mind), and they're always hard to watch because we can so vividly picture it happening to ourselves. We can't all relate to being immolated, but we an easily picture losing our heads to a fickle elevator.
NOT SLICED, BUT CRUSHED
I remember seeing The Omen as a teenager, and being particularly impressed by the decapitation of David Warner, when a pane of glass slid off of the flatbed of a runaway truck. I have been wary of panes of glass ever since. And, wouldn't you know it, in Final Destination 2, there is another pane of glass. Panes of glass in movies mean one of two things: Either someone's going to be decapitated like in The Omen, or a car/bike/person is going to crash through it during a big chase. Final Destination 2 subverts that by providing us with a pane of glass that doesn't break and doesn't slice. Our character, running out into a construction site (another bonehead move when you know Death is stalking you) underneath a pane of glass being hauled far up above by a crane. Right on time, the pane of glass breaks free, falling onto our hero. But it doesn't cut him. It flattens him. Seriously. Like really, really flat. It must have been a heavy piece of bulletproof glass, because that boy folds up and crumples like a dummy. The film, sadly, does not provide us with the obvious through-the-glass shot. Maybe that was for the best. Ugh.
POOR, STAB, ‘SPLODE, SLICETY
This was a wonderful two-in-one death that I greatly admired. One young woman has just suffered a car crash, and has barely survived, even though a spiked pipe (there seem to be many pipes in this universe) has impaled itself through the back of her headrest. She is also trapped in the car. While she's waiting for the Jaws of Life to appear, she lights up a cigarette. When the rescue technician finally begins working on the car, he accidentally deploys the car's air bag forcing our heroines head into the spike, killing her. Sometimes air bags kill. She then drops her cigarette in a pool of gas, causing the car to explode. The explosion picks up a length of bard wire fence, which flies vertically through the air. The taut barbed wires then neatly cut another nearby character into four equal sections. The mechanics of this scene will be hard to beat.
From Final Destination (2000), directed by James Wong:
This was the first of the Final Destination films, so the Rube Goldberg-like deaths weren't as elaborate yet, but there were two incredibly notable ones that made me afraid of bathtubs and buses respectively. The bathtub death was painful to watch, as it took a really, really long time to happen, and it looked like our hero might escape. Our leading man, you see, was preparing to take a bath, when various bottles and cups of liquid began to slowly crack, leaking onto the floor. The film set us up for the inevitable electrocution, but then doubled back. Our hero slips on the water toward the tub, and accidentally dislodged a detachable show head with his own forehead, the shower head flung around his neck, and he stumbled further into the bathtub itself. He lays, face-up, in the tub, the cord around his neck, strangling him. He tries to get up, but soap spills into the tub, making him unable to get a foothold. We see him reach for the door in impotent hope. His eyes fill with blood. He suffocates. For a few years there, I thought of this scene every time I went to take a bath.
This one was not long or protracted, but it did come as a surprise. I've seen this sort of thing in movies before, but it's particularly effective here. There is another compulsory scene where our main characters have gathered to discuss the whole Death's Plan thing, and one arrogant type declares the theory to be bunk, only to be taken out immediately. In the case of the first film, it was a pretty young blonde, and the thing to take her out was the sudden appearance of a speeding bus that liquefied her on contact. Yes, she – or one of her nearby friends – would have seen or heard the bus coming. The bus driver would have at least blown his horn. This doesn't happen in the bustling streets of New York either, but in broad daylight on a relatively traffic-free street in a small suburb. Maybe Death can make buses just appear. Whatever the reason, the death is unexpected and glorious. It's nice to be surprised every now and again, isn't it?