Spooktober Franchise Review – Final Destination 2 (2003)

So, three years pass and ‘Final Destination 2’ officially becomes ‘a thing’. This time, it’s the same old story with a whole new cast. Well… almost.

Ali Larter returns as Clear Rivers but Devon Sawa’s character, Alex Browning, was killed off screen. Rumours circulated quickly that Devon Sawa was asked to return but he got into a dispute with the producers about a reduced fee and so he backed out of the project but Producer, Craig Perry denied this and stated that Alex Browning’s absence was purely a narrative decision.

Whichever is true, I still don’t like it. I love Devon Sawa.

Anyway, the story of ‘Final Destination 2’ follows Kimberly Corman who’s played by A.J. Cook and I remembered her from ‘Criminal Minds’ although she does look different in ‘Final Destination 2’ and when I say ‘she looks different’, I mean that she’s got short, brown hair rather than long, blonde hair.

So, on the one-year anniversary of the explosion of Flight 180, Kimberly and her three friends are driving to Daytona Beach in Florida for Spring Break. However, as she pulls up to Route 23, Kimberly has a premonition of a deadly pile-up that was caused by incorrectly secured logs on a Semi. Terrified, she pulls in front of the cue of cars waiting to pull onto the highway to stop them. From the back, Deputy Marshall, Thomas Burke (Michael Landes) heads to the front to see what’s going on and is confronted with a hysterical Kimberly.  Moments later, the pile-up that she prophesized happens.

But there’s a twist right from the get-go. In her premonition, Kimberly and her friends are the last to die and are hit by one of those lorries that carry cars, a ‘transporter’ I think they’re called. After her premonition and the accident has already happened, that same transporter is about to hit Kimberly, but Officer Burke pulls her out of the way just in time and the transporter only kills her friends. That’s intervention.

There’s a nice little scene that’s reminiscent of the scene after the plane explodes in the first film where the survivors are gathered in a room and chat about their circumstances. The survivors are Kimberly and Officer Burke, Evan Lewis (David Paetkau), Nora Carpenter (Lynda Boyd), her son, Tim (James Kirk, no not that one), Kat Jennings (Keegan Connor Tracy), Rory Peters (Jonathan Cherry), Isabella Hudson (Justina Machado) and Eugene Dix (T.C. Carson).

The night before Kimberly has her premonition, she watches a TV feature about Flight 180 and the deaths of the survivors afterwards. During the meeting with the other survivors, Kimberly mentions Alex and Eugene gives a little recap of the events of the first film. He however is skeptical that Death will be coming after them because they have survived.

The first person to die is Evan. It turns out that he’s a lottery winner with $250,000 added to his account. His death is pretty elaborate and totally avoidable. As he’s unwrapping the trinkets that he’s bought with his winnings, he doesn’t notice that a few fridge magnets have dropped into a tub of Chinese food and he’s put that tub in the microwave and that causes his microwave to blow up and start a fire. Evan climbs out of his fire escape and reaches the bottom just as his apartment explodes. Just as he’s pleased with his luck, he slips of a load of spaghetti that the chucked out of his window earlier. He lands on his back and the ladder to the fire escape slips and goes straight through his eye. Thing is, when he lands on his back, the ladder slips a little bit and startles him. He had more than enough time to move out the way of that ladder before it became another piercing that I’m sure he didn’t want.

Anyway, new reaches the survivors soon that Evan has died and that only reinforces the idea in Kimberly’s mind that Death is coming for them. Her next course of action is to visit the only Flight 180 survivor who’s still alive, Clear Rivers.

After Alex’s death, Clear knew that she was next and so admitted herself voluntarily to a padded room in Stonybrook Institution where nothing and no one can get to her without her permission.

Kimberly asks Clear for her help but Clear is unwilling to leave the safety of her padded room. The only advice that she can give is to ‘look out for the signs’. We also have the weird ‘death running backwards’ theory. Since Burke pulled Kimberly away from the crash that killed her friends then she’ll be the last to go BUT, she and her friends died last in her premonition, not first.

We’ll discuss that a little more later but as it stands, fifteen-year-old Tim is next.

‘Signs’ are much more prominent in this movie than they were in the last movie. Kimberly sees birds and thinks that birds are going to be involved in his death. Tim is at the dentist and has to have the ‘laughing gas’ and I nearly had that done to me once and I wasn’t having any of it, that’s beside the point. After the dentist, Tim sees a load of birds chilling out on the ground and so he runs into the pack to make them fly away. They do and knock a crane operator whose crane is holding onto a pane of glass. The pane drops and lands on Tim… ouch.

Clear decides that she can’t stay in the hospital forever and so checks herself out to help Kimberly. They go to the once place where they can get some answers. She takes Kimberly and Burke to the mortuary to see William Bludworth (Tony Todd) who became something of a fan favourite after the first movie. Well, he’s back and offers them a solution. According to Bludworth, ‘only new life can defeat death’ which means that if a life if brought into the world that was never meant to be born then Death will back off. Isabella Hudson was meant to die in the pile-up but she’s pregnant and so if her baby is born then death will leave them all alone. All they have to do is find Isabella and keep her and everyone else safe and alive until the baby is born.

Nora is of course devastated that her son was splattered right in front of her, but she still goes to Burke’s apartment that night to talk about what they’re going to do next. They decide that they have to watch each other’s back. Since Kimberly is having visions rather than seeing signs, she gives the rest of the survivors a mobile phone and so when she has a vision, she will call them and give them heads-up.

Nora and Eugene aren’t down for any of this nonsense and so they decide to leave as the others prepare Burke’s apartment for the stay. When Rory fucks up in a cupboard and trashes a load of stuff, he sees a shadow of a man with hooks for hands. Burke calls Nora as she’s on her way down in the elevator with Eugene and coincidentally, stood behind them is a man with a box full of prosthetic limbs with hooks on the end.

Once again, another death that’s totally avoidable. Nora’s hair gets caught in the hooks and she starts to freak out because she thinks that she’s next to die and she totally is even though she’s just watched her son die and she pretty much said that she’s not bothered but boy does she change her tune when her head gets caught in the elevator doors. All she had to do was not freak out and stay in the elevator, unhook her hair and step out. But nope. Nora ends up without a head and Eugene is officially a believer, even going so far as to take Burkes revolver, put it to his head and pull the trigger…. Several times. But nothing happens.

This was a bit of a ‘huh?’ moment because Burke checks the chambers and the gun loaded so why didn’t Eugene have his head blown off and Clear states that it’s because it wasn’t his turn to die. So… does that mean that everyone but the next person to die is invincible? This film needs to step carefully because it’s looking a bit unsteady.

The next scene is interesting. As they are driving to see Isabella (who has gone into labour) they all talk about how they have cheated Death before due to them getting mixed up in the deaths of the Flight 180 survivors. That’s apparently why Death is running backwards. Let’s see if this makes sense.

In the last movie, the order of death’s was; Tod, Terry, Valerie Lewton, Billy, Carter.

In Kimberly’s premonition, the order is; Burke, Eugene, Rory, Kat, Nora and Tim, Evan and then Kimberly and her friends. However, the list is running backwards so it’s now; Kimberly’s friends, Evan, Nora and Tim, Kat, Rory, Eugene and then Burke. As we know, Kimberly was meant to die with her friends, but Burke saved her so now she’s last on the list. Bear that in mind.

Also, let’s make one thing clear. I watched the premonition again, and I didn’t see Isabella die. I saw her swerve but not crash. We don’t know that she died in that pile-up.

Anyway.

Eugene tells the group of how a kid came to the school where he worked and stabbed a teacher to death. That teacher would have been him, but he was transferred to another school to replace Valerie Lewton. Burke reminisces about how his partner was killed in a shootout that he didn’t go to because he was sent to the train wreck that killed Billy Hitchcock. Kat explains that she was supposed to stay in a B&B where a gas leak occurred and all the guests died. She would have been there except the bus that she was on was the one that hit Terry. Rory explains that he had tickets to go to a concert in Paris where the building collapsed and killed everyone inside except Rory never went because he saw Carter die by getting hit with the falling sign. Kimberly tells of how she was shopping with her mother in a shopping mall and Kimberly stayed behind to watch the news report on Tod’s death whilst outside, some kids are trying to steal her mother’s car and they kill her.

They reach the conclusion that everyone getting off the plane in the first film caused a ripple in Death’s design because if they had all died in the explosion, all the survivors of Route 23 would have died in their individual tragedies.

So, let’s see if this works. Remember the original list? Tod died first and he’s the reason that Kimberly is alive. She was supposed to die first in the backwards list so that checks out. See how this works? Who’s next? Terry. That’s Kat. At this point in the story, Kat is next to die. Who’s next? Val? That’s Eugene. Oh no, it all falls apart. Rory is the next to die after Kat. But do you see what I was going for? Wouldn’t that have been cool if the list from the previous film matched with the list for the second film based on which death saved who’s life. That would have been cool.

That was totally fucking pointless, but I’ve written it all out now so it’s staying in. Anyway.

There’s only about 20 minutes left in the film and at least four more people need to die so it’s time for a car crash and crash the car does. Such crash viciously injures Eugene with a punctured lung and traps Kat in the car.

To speed things up a bit, Kat is accidentally killed by a rescue worker when he jabs the car with a piece of machinery in this case ironically called ‘The Jaws of Life’ and that sets off the airbag with forces Kat’s head onto jagged piece of pipe sticking through the headrest.

Dead Kat drops her cigarette which ignites a trail of Petrol leaking from underneath the car which leads to a news van. The van blows up and blasts off a piece of barbed wire fencing that hits Rory and slices him into pieces.

So that’s two character’s down in a matter of minutes.

At the hospital, Isabella gives birth and it seems that all is forgiven with Death but not really because Kimberly has another vision of someone with bloody hands being submerged in water. She realizes that Isabella was never meant to die in the crash which explains why we never saw her crash and forgive me because a lot of this is from memory.

They go to find Clear who’s off to find Eugene, but Death has already found Eugene and has cheekily caused an oxygen leak of such proportion that when Clear enters the room, there is a huge explosion and both Eugene and Clear are killed.

Kimberly realizes that the person with the bloody hands being submerged was her and she must die to defeat Death and it has to be her because Burke is next, so she has to fuck Death up by dying first. Makes sense, sort of.

So off she goes in a stolen ambulance, straight into the lake and to the bottom but Burke’s not going to have that because he’s the love interest and so he dives in after her and takes her back into the hospital where they resuscitate Kimberly so she has ‘new life’.

A while later, Kimberly and Burke are seemingly ‘a thing’ and are at a barbeque with Kimberly’s father and the family who own the farm where they crashed their car. Their son, Brian (Noel Fisher) tells Kimberly and Burke of how on the day of the crash, he was nearly hit the news van but Rory pulled him out of the way, saving him. As Kimberly and Burke look at each other, the barbeque explodes, killing Brian and sending his charred arm onto his distraught mother’s plate.

End of film.

As sequels go, it wasn’t better than the first but I’ve certainly seen worse sequels. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. I’m still a bit iffy on the ‘Devon Sawa’ thing because if it was a ‘narrative decision’ to kill off Alex Browning then why have Clear Rivers in it? Wouldn’t it be better to have the main character from the original back instead of the not so main character? It’s obvious that they wanted someone from the first film in it to continue the continuity since the plot is heavily based on the first as well. I don’t know, it all seems iffy to me.

Speaking of, I wasn’t too enamored with many of the characters. I don’t think A.J. Cook was very good in this film but then again, she hardly had some stellar material to work with. The script wasn’t as good as the first one and that only to be expected because the guys that wrote ‘Final Destination 2’, J. Mackye Gruber and Eric Bress, are the same two guys who wrote ‘The Butterfly Effect’. And that movie was shit.

As for ‘good’ performances and characters; Michael Landes is always a good choice for a romantic lead because he’s gorgeous but other than that, they didn’t really have him do much other than hold Kimberly back from a series of tragic accidents and look serious whilst everyone else tramples all over him. T.C. Carson was very good and I liked his character as well. He was actually the level headed one because if someone told me that Death would be coming after me because I avoided being in a tragic accident and I didn’t know I was in a movie then I wouldn’t believe anyone either. I also liked Jonathan Cherry’s performance as Rory. There’s one really nice moment where Rory gives Kimberly his wallet and keys and asks her to throw away his drugs and pornography if he dies next because that stuff would break his mother’s heart. He played that scene really well. Other than that, Ali Larter was really good as ‘crazy Clear’ but then again, Clear wasn’t exactly stable in the first film. Finally, it’s always a pleasure to see Tony Todd. That’s it for Bludworth… for now.

But what do I know? ‘Final Destination 2’ took in $90.4 Million against a $26 Million budget which is a pretty good return.

The reviews on the other hand were quite mixed. The general consensus was that it was the first movie just not as good and I would be happy with that analysis.

So, what’s next? They’ve killed off any connection to the original and the two leads are happily… doing their thing but Death is still roaming around so there’s plenty of room for a sequel. Oh, joy.

 

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Patient 187

Devinelogic555 Gaming

Video Redux

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