COLUMN: “Final Destination,” a horror film with a faceless killer

Rob Le Cates

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

Drew Coffey, Columnist

Multiple horror franchises such as “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” have well known killers with memorable masks that go around killing unsuspecting teenagers.  

But in this film, death itself is the bloodthirsty, vengeful villain. 

The film is “Final Destination” which was made in 2000 and stars Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, and Tony Todd, who is most known for his role as the bee-covered, hook -wielding Candyman.  

The film tells the story of a group of high schoolers awaiting a flight to Europe for their class trip. However, once Alex, played by Sawa, sees a vision of the plane exploding seconds upon take off, he manages to get a handful of students off the plane before it actually catches fire.  

After they survive the horrific accident, the teenagers begin to die one by one in mysterious ways begging the question: Does death have a design?  

This is a question that is nicely explored throughout the film. Whether death is a predestined design that cannot be tampered without repercussions.  

In the death scenes, seemingly accidental events happen whether it be the characters slipping on water to their deaths or the stove somehow getting turned on resulting in a deadly explosion.  

The film does a great job showing death’s presence in creative and anxiety-filled ways that makes the viewers tensely await the gruesome outcome for the characters. Cleverly, it also characterizes death itself as an unrelenting character without showing an actual person.  

This is what makes this film and the many others in the franchise so different and creative compared to other horror movies. The fear of not being in control of our lives and not being able to assure ourselves that something won’t happen.  

The characters feel this anxiety and claustrophobic energy following the plane crash and but heads many times on if death is out to get them or if it is just a coincidence.  

The acting is fitting and appropriate for a film of this caliber. I could really feel the fear in their performances at times when they know something bad is about to happen.  

Not to say this film does not have corny and pretty much cringe-inducing dialogue that was heavily present in horror films in the 2000s, but the creative and original concept is definitely the element that carries the film to the finish line.   

The cinematography and little examples of mis-en-scene within scenes are very fun because they hint at how or when a character will die. For example, a John Denver song plays throughout the film every time a character is about to be targeted by death.  

Little things like this are what makes the film fun to watch and builds the uneasy feeling that something extremely horrifying is going to happen.   

In the end, “Final Destination” is an original horror film that builds suspense and anxiety by having an antagonist that is seemingly unstoppable leaving viewers to only imagine the various ways a character will die.  

Overall rating: 3.5/5 

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.