The Final Destination series is one of many horror franchises and it now includes five films. Just like any other franchise, it has its ups and downs in terms of quality. But whenever I’m in the mood for some good Final Destination fun, I always choose Final Destination 2 because it is far superior to the original film.
The formula for the entire FD franchise is gloriously gory and fun. It’s full of inventive kills and several of the films within feature great plot lines. In each of the installments, a group of people are saved from imminent death by a premonition. But all of them are later stalked by Death itself for interfering with its design. Some might argue that FD2 is simply a rehash of the original. In fact, all of the sequels could be accused of this. And it’s true that the sequel does build on what was done in the first picture. But Final Destination 2 is a better quality feature all around and it dramatically improves upon almost everything from the original film.
First of all, the premonition sequence in Final Destination 2 featuring a massive highway pileup is perhaps one of the best ever filmed and far outshines the plane crash from the first film. It is everything an audience could want in an onscreen automobile crash and confirms everything you fear could happen when getting behind the wheel. No one who has seen this movie can forget the logs, the swerving and rolling cars, the explosions, and the fire. Save for the end, there is no music in the sequence, so the audience can clearly hear the thunk of the first log on the pavement, and every crunch of metal and breaking glass that occurs after that. This sequence is also impressive because it employs the use of practical effects (mostly) and therefore looks all the more realistic. Final Destination 2 is the sole reason why I refuse to follow a truck carrying PVC piping ever again.
Aside from Clear Rivers, I didn’t like any of the characters in the first Final Destination film. They were all either annoying, boring, or just plain mean. So, there was no reason to sympathize with their plight. The second Final Destination film brings the audience a new cast of characters (except for Clear, who returns for this installment). This time around, the cast is much more likable as well as much funnier. Each of the characters brings just the right amount of comic relief to the picture.
The filmmakers put a nice spin on the original formula by making the audience think that the main characters will be Kimberley and her friends – another set of teenagers. But they smartly made the core cast adults for the sequel. This gave them access to better resources and allowed them a better handle on their situation. Despite initial hesitation, the characters are also more quick to believe the idea that Death is after them which moves the plot along much faster.
The first Final Destination featured a wonderfully elaborate death sequence for the character of Valerie Lewton that I still love to this day, but the rest of the death scenes fell flat. Final Destination 2 really upped the ante for the series in terms of the way the deaths are set up and just how much more gory the series could be. It employed more use of the red stuff in increasingly horrific deaths for the characters, including a couple of impalings, an elevator decapitation, a fatal falling pane of glass, a fiery explosion, and a barbed wire fence that cuts a man’s body three ways. The film’s final scene is a nicely disgusting touch, and further adds to the darkly comedic tone that was earlier established and which is employed in the sequels to come.
Final Destination may have been the film that started it all, but ultimately, Final Destination 2 outdoes the original film in just about every way. If you haven’t seen it in a while, pull if off the shelf and give it another look.