Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Ultimate Slasher: Rube Goldberg

In March of 2000, we witnessed the beginning of something bland-ish.

Part of the wave of self-referential teen thrillers, Final Destination did give us one cool thing.  Death itself as a slasher.

Our story begins with a 15 fucking minute dream sequence on a plane that explodes that gets REPEATED in the next 15 minutes with the added bonus of a Devon Sawa freak-out.  The cops get involved and then the plane he just got booted from for claiming it was going to blow up, as in his dream, blows up.  A bunch of his classmates and a teacher get booted with him and they are all rightfully tweaked the fuck out at the loss of the entire rest of the French class.

After the mass memorial service, the snarky best friend manages to get himself hung by the bathroom clothesline and we should never believe that's an accident for a MINUTE!  Mostly because we then see the toilet water that caused the problem recede back under the toilet.  When our protagonists go all Scooby-fuckin'-Doo to find their friend's corpse, they find Tony Todd instead who, in that creepy-ass voice of his, tells them about Death's Design.

Ooooooooh, creepy.

David Carradine, eat your heart out.

Then the girlfriend of the douchecanoe that hates Sawa gets a bus to the face proving that creepy mortuary dude is right and then the teacher that got left behind gets stabbed with a kitchen knife that also causes her house to explode.  WOOOO!
That towel is NOT her friend.

So, then. in the process of explaining all of this to the douchecanoe, douchecanoe gets all pissy and moany about having no control over his life and parks his car on the railroad tracks.  Sawa saves him by the skin of his teeth and then the village idiot gets decapitated.

After that, Sawa goes right 'round the twist and segregates himself from society, eating pudding out of cans and avoiding getting tetanus from old fish hooks.  He thinks he's next but it's actually love-interest.  He goes to her rescue, gets some impromptu electro-shock therapy and then they all go to France where he has to avoid a swinging sign and forget about that whole "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" thing.

 Now, as a concept, I think this movie is kinda neat.  Originally written as an episode of The X-Files, they decided it was a little too heavy for the show and expanded it into a feature.  All "strange coincidences" and "fate" and "intuition" and all of that crap made it an interesting watch and the best thing was that you never saw a killer except in dark flashes and redirected fluids.  The philosophical idea of the inevitability of death isn't new but it was handled in a kind of awesome manner.

As a finished product, though?  How long do we have to sit through someone's psychotic break?  Sawa is a good actor.  The entire cast is made up of good actors.  They all take a back seat to Sawa's Nicholas Cage impersonation.  There's craziness all throughout this movie but there's a point in the film where I just want to slap the bejeezus out of EVERYBODY.  It's like it lost control of itself somewhere in the middle of the movie.

All in all, this is an OK time-waster but I'm not sure it should be considered a horror classic in any sense other than the choice of villain.  The Scream movies are SO much better than this.

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