Final Destination 2 (2003)

We continue our journey through the Final Destination franchise with the second installment. For us it’s been 3 years, but only a year has passed in since the events of the first film. And what a year it’s been…

Still spoiling…

The film kicks off with some light exposition regarding the events of the Final Destination 1. The media have taken notice of the strange deaths that occurred in the wake of the Flight 180 plane crash.

We left the survivors (Alex, Clear and Carter) in Paris where Carter was about to get demolished by a giant building sign before the credits barged in. We can now confirm that Carter did indeed get taken out in this fashion.

Similarly we are informed that Alex also died off screen, killed by a falling brick, which seems oddly simplistic given the lengths Death will go to to ensure an elaborate kill. But then again we’re unaware of the chain of events needed for that brick to dislodge so we’ll let it slide.

Devon Sawa was set to reprise his role as Alex but was spared joining this project by an ongoing contract dispute with New Line Cinema that could not be worked out in time for shooting.

We join the protagonist Kimberly who is leaving for a roadtrip with her friends. There’s a lot of teen angst and hormones in the car and no sooner have we been introduced to these characters, they are dispatched. It’s enjoyably cruel.

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Compared to the first film the insighting incident is treated with a lot more emphasis than the previous films event. With FD1 the plane crash was discussed and referenced just as heavily, but as i mentioned in my review, the event seemed to be relegated to the background. In FD2 focus is awarded to the pile up crash, still in the background but with extended reaction and screen time.

It’s safe to say that this film emotionally scarred everyone enough to avoid driving near logging trucks. Myself and cupcakesandmachetes included!

This portion of the film reminds me loosely of that Simpsons episode S03E17 Homer At Bat? Jose Conseco is saving a baby from a burning building and there’s just a list of cliches that he has to save. (I’m sure it was parodied somewhere else to greater effect but i can’t remember where, maybe Airplane or Naked Gun perhaps? Please put me out of my misery…)

The cliche’d victims just keep appearing on this highway like some sort of trope-conveyor-belt? Knowing the flavour of this franchise it’s not difficult to ascertain the reasoning. Aside from that, everyone on this road is drinking, doing drugs or being generally careless.

This event is also a bit muddier in terms of the people involved. With the plane crash there was a very definitive group of people affected and it was a very clear why. Whereas in FD2 a stream of cars behind those affected were somehow not part of Death’s design. Fast forward to the police station when the survivors are gathered (for specific reasons unknown) it’s hard to determine exactly what would have linked them in the eyes of the law.

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Continuing the masterclass in foreshadowing, Final Destination 2 takes a very literal approach. For example, in the moments leading up to the crash we see a kid literally smashing cars together. This foreshadowing is not just misplaced irony, this has become (among the fandom) known as “Death’s clues”. You can find the FD2 list of which here. There is also the familiar hallmarks of Death in the area, a breeze that seems to target dangerous objects which is only vaguely perceived by the characters. Apart from the presence of terrible luck, ignorance and stupidity, Death manifests as weird reflections, shadows and sounds. Once again this gives Death a sense of unrelenting focus.

“Seems like a bit of a reach, don’t you think?”

The series does continue with its signature sense of humour, verging on misplaced but able to claw it back from the edge. This is comically evident during the scene in which Evan’s apartment is on fire and his subsequent demise. And again with Tim being crushed and the associated pigeons.

The scene with Bludworth is unsettling for the wrong reasons. Specifically when Kimberly asks how he knew her name. Bludworth answers the question with a stupid grin and the audience is hastily shuffled on to the next scene. Question unanswered. Audience confused.

The camera work continues to be fantastically creepy with Final Destination 2 and the majority of the transitions are smooth and inventive.

Conclusions

I felt like there’s a very clear step down in quality for this outing. The premise is stretched beyond the already stretched levels of the first film. At this stage in the franchise i’d be happy if they called it The Wacky Adventures Of Death.

This one still has that X-Files feeling about it (outside of the Vancouver locations) which isn’t a bad thing as it sets the film in a time and place.

I enjoyed the character development with this one. Clear (Ali Larter) has become a darker and ballsier bitch who is itching to kick Death in his/her/they/ze’s boney face. It’s refreshing and gives her character purpose outside of bringing a character back from the original film. Much like the evolution of Sidney in the Scream franchise.

And as with this film it gets the final kill in just before the credits. We continue!

Those legends over at Final Destination Fandom actually put together Deaths List (intended and played out) so why not check it out after watching this one?

You can also check out our Review of Final Destination 1 here!

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