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From the June 2000
Film Review

Film Review Hotline
FINAL DESTINATION
4 Stars

Final Destination star Devon Sawa interviewed in this issue

STARS: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Kristen Cloke, Tony Todd
DIRECTOR: James Wong
SCREENPLAY: Glen Morgan, James Wong and Jeffrey Reddick
CERTIFICATE: 15 TBCDISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright: Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 37 mins
OPENING DATE (UK): May 19

Devon Sawa, Ali Larter and Kerr Smith in Final Destination
Death holds a grudge

Death has an agenda. No matter how many precautions one takes, It will find a way of meeting its deadline. But what if by some supernatural accident you manage to keep your celestial discharge waiting?

Alex Browning is an ordinary teenager with a taste for unusual figurines and John Waters movies. But, when he arrives at JFK airport for a school trip to Paris, he starts to feel uneasy. The word ‘terminal’ stares him in the face, a baby starts screaming and music awfully like Alfred Newman’s score for Airport plays on the soundtrack.

Then, while waiting for his plane to take off, Alex falls asleep and has a horrific nightmare: he dreams that, on take-off, the 747 erupts into flames. Waking up in panic, he fights his way off the aircraft, followed by five friends and his teacher. Moments later the plane departs without them and almost instantly explodes, killing everybody on board.

Relief is followed by grief and then guilt as the survivors come to terms with what has happened. Yet, far from bestowing gratitude on Alex for saving their lives, his classmates avoid him. All, that is, except for Clear [sic], the school outsider, who reveals that she ”felt” what Alex ”saw”. Even Tod, Alex’s best friend, keeps a healthy distance. Then Tod dies in a freak accident while shaving, a mishap so bizarre that the FBI call Alex in for questioning. Alex wasn’t there but he saw it coming. Because they were all meant to die on that 747. So whose turn is it next and can they do anything to stop the devious hand of fate?

It’s such a blissfully simple idea. And, in the hands of the (TV and) film-making duo James Wong and Glen Morgan, things are kept succinct, tight and unexpected. Jumping between scenes of ingenious fatality and self-mocking satire, the film succeeds in having its cake and eating it. One sequence in particular should have you jumping out of your seat. And, for genre buffs, there are plenty of in-jokes, although, unlike in Scream, they are never forced (remember, John Denver was killed in a plane crash and Val Lewton was a horror movie producer).

Taken simply on its own terms, Final Destination is a minor suspense classic.

James Cameron-Wilson

Read our massive reviews section in this month's Film Review
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.

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Also reviewed online this month:
5 Stars
GLADIATOR • released May 12

FULL DETAILS AND REVIEWS OF ALL THESE AND MORE IN THIS ISSUE

5 Stars
May 12 • Sullivan's Travels
(re-issue)
May 26 • To Walk With Lions
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May 05 • Boiler Room
May 12
The Filth and the Fury

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The Girl on the BridgeMay 26
Man is a Woman • May 26
One Day in September • May 19
Rules of Engagement • May 26
28 Days - just rescheduled!June 16
The Virgin Suicides • May 19