Boarding the plane at the start of Final Destination, one of the destined-to-die schoolkids looks at the screaming baby in Aisle D and the cerebral palsy case a few rows back and comments: ""It would be a fucking sick God who'd take down this plane."" Minutes later, when all that's left of the flight are burning patches of fuel on the Atlantic, the scene is set for one of the most inescapably powerful serial killers in screen history. Forget some psycho schoolboy in a rubber Munch mask, the kids in this movie have picked the wrong guy to mess with. Call it the Grim Reaper, Fate, God, whatever - - but the survivors of the plane crash have cheated destiny, and it's only a matter of time before it catches up with them.
Final Destination wisely decides to play its curious premise for laughs. It throws in creepy bits and jolts along the way to see-saw the viewer between mild terror and disbelieving snorts as the characters are whittled down one by one. It's the same smattering of tittering and splattering that made the Scream series so freaky but fun, and although the movie progresses down an increasingly humorous road, it's not without its entirely dark moments - - most notably the horrifyingly believable plane crash.
Past that though, everything gets splendidly silly as Fate starts hoovering up the survivors in a series of bizarre accidents, culminating in an Itchy And Scratchy-style death that clubs, slashes, stabs and then burns the unfortunate victim. Faced with a world in which even a staple gun could be the cause of death, Final Destination manages to avoid being a whodunnit and starts being a how-dunnit, dropping numerous red herrings on an increasingly expectant audience.
With its laboured exposition, Final Destination is as subtle as a brick, but sometimes obvious silly, shrieky fun is all you want from a film. This one will have you laughing all the way to the end.
Just when we were predicting the demise of the slasher movie, here's a truly different slant on the genre. Taking cues from The X-Files and the Scream series, Final Destination hits just the right note of creepiness, jumps and good old gory slapstick.