Each decade has a certain franchise that it is remembered by. Back in 2000, the horror genre gave us something new to fear: the beginning of the Final Destination Franchise, a series that explored the idea that you can’t escape your fate and death is inevitable.
Each movie in the franchise comes with uniquely bizarre kills, fun characters, a different storyline with connections to the first installment, and the anticipation of wondering who will/can escape their fate. If you’ve seen the series you know that, unfortunately, death may have missed the characters at first, but it always comes back. Although I enjoy most of the Final Destination Franchise, not all of the movies leave a lasting impression; therefore, let’s get started ranking them from lowest to highest!
The Final Destination (2009)
“That’s the car that’s gonna crash. We have to get out of here!”
Directed by David R. Ellis, The Final Destination is the 4th film in the franchise. In this installment, a man saves the lives of his friends after his premonition about a deadly race-car crash comes true. As in all the movies, death comes after them one by one. I and many other fans did not care for the 4th installment in the Final Destination Franchise. First of all, it begins at a racetrack – a place where accidents are expected to happen – with a premonition of an accident. I mean, a deadly crash at a place where people drive at insane speeds!? Who would have thought this could happen!? Yeah, I don’t buy it. Beyond that, the kills weren’t that creative and the movie just didn’t seem to have a purpose other than killing the characters. If you’re going to call a movie “The” Final Destination it should give the other movies a point, tie up loose ends, and be memorable. But it didn’t do any of that. Luckily, though, it wasn’t the last movie in the franchise, despite its name.
Final Destination 5 (2011)
“Death… doesn’t like to be cheated.”
Final Destination 5, directed by Steven Quale, is the last film in the series to date. After a premonition, several people survive a suspension-bridge collapse only to have death chase them down later on. This movie is what The Final Destination should have been. It came back with an intense story, awesome kills, and helped wrap up all the movies, the connections, and gave purpose to why it all was happening. Tony Todd came back to play his previous role in the first two movies as William Bludworth who explains to the survivors that this has happened before and the purpose of it all. Fun facts: The opening disaster scene is the longest one in the entire Final Destination Franchise, lasting around four minutes. There are multiple connections to the previous storylines that show up throughout the final installment including a scene where you can see models an airplane, truck, and race car, references to 3 of the 4 past movies.
Final Destination 3 (2006)
“Death is fucking complicated.”
James Wong directed the 3rd installment in the Final Destination Franchise. In this entry, a girl saves herself and a few friends with her premonition of a deadly coaster ride. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky to escape. It doesn’t matter though because death shortly creeps up on them, sealing their fates; and, once again, showing you can’t cheat death no matter how hard you try. The opening rollercoaster disaster scene is pretty terrifying and gets your adrenalin pumping – it’s definitely something you never want to happen, but the thought has probably crossed your mind a time or two. Some of the kills are pretty cheesy, but either way, I always love the “signs” that death is coming and a small glance into how the next person will die. Fun facts: Although he did not play his character from the past two movies, Tony Todd provides the voice over for two initial parts in Final Destination 3 one of them being, “This is the end of the line” at the subway towards the end of the movie.
Final Destination (2000)
“I’ll see you soon.”
This is where it all began! Released by New Line Cinema and directed by James Wong, Final Destination brought horror fans something new to get excited about. The story begins with a teenager having a terrifying vision of him and his friends dying in a plane crash on their way to Paris. He freaks out on the plane; some of his friends get off while others say on. Within a few minutes, the plane crashes, leaving everyone shocked that his premonition came true. The loss of their friends and the eerie fact that they are still alive based on someone’s vision has everyone on edge; even more so after some of the survivors mysteriously and bizarrely start dying off one by one. This movie is great; it has a dark tone, awesome kills, and makes people think. It’s just not standard “Oh that person died, let’s move on to the next.” It makes us try to understand why everything is happening, who will be next, and how will they die.
Plus, it has a great cast including Devon Sawa and Ali Carter who work together to hunt down death. For fans of Devon Saw, he’s enough reason to watch this movie in the first place; I only wish he could have been in all of them. Tony Todd also makes his first appearance in the series, as the mortician, who just happens to be full of facts about death. Fun facts: The story was originally a concept for an abandoned television script for the television series, The X-Files (1993). The music throughout the movie is played by John Dever, who, ironically, was a musician who died in a plane crash. Also, each installment in the Final Destination Franchise has characters that are named after famous horror directors, which is pretty freaking awesome.
Final Destination 2 (2003)
“Only new life can defeat death.”
The 2nd installment in the Final Destination Franchise was directed by David R. Ellis and is very connected to the original story. This story, however, is much more involved than the other ones and we learn more about the rules of death and how to “possibly” survive it. Final Destination 2 begins with Kimberly (A.J. Cook) having a horrible premonition about a highway pileup that will kill her and many others. She frantically blocks the freeway and in doing so she saves the lives of many people as her vision comes true, freaking everyone out. As per usual, the people who were saved aren’t really safe though and slowly start dying off in mysterious ways. Kimberly sees a connection between this highway crash and the recent one-year anniversary of the Velez Air Flight 180 explosion that killed several students flying to Paris, except for the few that got off the plane after a former student’s premonition. Just like in the highway crash, the people who survived the airplane crash mysteriously started dying off except for one survivor, Clear Rivers (Ali Carter). Clear has spent the last year in a mental institution, in hopes to beat death, but when the same scenario happens to a new bunch of people she decides to help.
In my opinion, the 2nd one is just a little better than the original and has some of my favorite characters and favorite kills in the entire series. The story is also amazing and the connections to the original are great. The log truck scene has become one of the most recognized moments in horror history and I, like most fans, will purposely avoid any truck like this on the highway when I see it. This is the only movie in the Final Destination Franchise to have a survivor from a previous movie, Clear Rivers. Although she doesn’t make it in the 2nd one, she puts up one hell of a fight. Some more fun facts are that the accident on the highway is based on the 125 car pileup on Interstate 75 in Georgia (2002). Real logs were tested for the crash scene, but they didn’t give the effect the filmmakers were wanting, so they used CGI ones. Before the awful crash, the school bus full of kids chanting “pile up” is actually from Mt. Abraham, which is the same school as all the victims from the first movie.
Overall, minus the 4th installment, the Final Destination Franchise was a great one. There has been some discussion about more movies in the future, which I don’t think is necessary, but I’m not opposed to it. I’m always down to see a brutal opening disaster scene with a few survivors that will die later on in their own specifically designed way. Either way, the ones we have will always be a favorite series among horror fans.