Believe it or not, the Final Destination series is among the highest grossing horror franchises. Not bad for what’s essentially a slasher movie with a premise that should defy sequels. Seriously, how many times can a ‘random’ person have a premonition that allows them to cheat death? Temporarily, at least. In spite of its silly premise, the Final Destination movies are wildly fun. Besides, we’re not watching for story, logic, or characters. To the contrary, it’s the death scenes that bring us back for more. With a Final Destination reboot now I pick out my five personal favourites from the Final Destination series. No, there’s nothing from series dud, The Final Destination.
Honourable Mention: Tanning Bed (Final Destination 3)
Like any list, there will inevitably be exclusions that draw criticism. Rankings and lists are inherently subjective. For me, the idea of being confined in a tight space, like a tanning bed, is terrifying. Add the possibility of being burned alive and Final Destination 3 delivers a gruesome double-death that earns it an honourable mention.
5- Suspension Bridge Collapse (Final Destination 5)
Are you afraid to drive over high bridges? I am. Not surprisingly, Final Destination 5 gambled that most viewers have similar fears. Come on, suspension bridges look pretty sketchy.
Surviving the fall into the river only to be crushed by a falling car – how is that not hilarious?
Final Destination 5 perfectly stages its opening death premonition. First, aside from some briefly obvious CGI, the special effects are top-notch. The plummeting bus with its remaining passenger still holds up. In addtition, there’s tension to spare from those first spider-web cracks to scaling the metal beams. Lastly, the scene boasts a good balance of gross-out gore and dark laughs. Surviving the fall into the river only to be crushed by a falling car – how is that not hilarious?
4 – Mrs. Lewton’s Death (Final Destination)
Did you know the kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house? Obviously, Final Destination’s creators did their homework. In this death scene, director James Wong makes the implausible almost plausible by imbuing even the kitchen’ most benign objects with menace. Furthermore, Wong balances the cringeworthy with pure dark humour that prompts equal part gasps and laughs. The knife falling from the block holder was bad. But when the chair tips over and drives it in just a little further – best PSA for safe kitchen storage, ever.
3 – Laser Surgery (Final Destination 5)
Eyeballs are a sensitive subject. Some people avoid getting contact lens because they’re so put off by having to finger their own eyeballs. As much as I’d like to have laser surgery, Final Destination 5 is the reason I’ll stick with my finger-smudged glasses. This scene from Final Destination 5 does a good job playing on our inherent squeamishness with eyeballs. Anticipation, misdirection, and teasing – then everything ends much differently than expected. It’s a cringe-inducing scene that doesn’t forget that the franchise has succeeded in large part due to healthy does of humour.
2 – The Gymnastics Scene (Final Destination 5)
Personally, I believe our bodies aren’t not intended to bend certain ways. Even today, as a parent, I’m creeped out when I see people do somersaults. On some level, I can’t help but think someone is going to break their neck. And enter Final Destination 5, with yet another entry on this list.
And the special effects … absolutely gruesome.
Like the other scenes on this list, the ‘gymnastics’ death plays on natural fears. At the same time, it relentlessly teases the inevitable. It’s a nerve-wracking moment that has you looking for the death blow in all directions. Yet director Steven Quale still manages to shock you. And the special effects – absolutely grueseome.
1- Highway to Hell (Final Destination 2)
Final Destination 2’s opening death premonition is why you go to the theater to watch movies. Also, it’s the perfect combination of all those things that make the franchise work. Specifically, the Highway to Hell scene mixes real-life fears, an unbearable build-up and tease, and cheeky humour to deliver exactly what the franchise advertises. And director David R. Ellis sets it all up very impressively accompained by staggering effects. Anyone who commutes on busy highways will instantly appreciate why this scene works. I’ve had something fly off a transport truck and hit my car, so the bouncing logs are indeed terrifying.