Rue Morgue contributor and 3-D expert Jason Pichonsky checks in with a look at the latest tech treat for 3-D fans, 3-D TV, to see what it offers horror fans. This time, yet another 3-Dimensional sequel: The Final Destination.
How do you continue to keep a decade-old horror series alive? The producers of the Final Destination series turned to the gimmick that had worked so well for horror series in the ’80s, namely 3-D. As a fan of 3-D, I obviously have no problem with this; unfortunately, though, the producers of the movie thought the 3-D would make up for a convoluted plot which is more about red herrings (notably a sequence in a hair salon that recalls part three, but with a payoff completely unrelated to the location – a fake out for the sake of a fake out) the than presenting a coherent story.
The template used for all the Final Destination films is an effective one. In this fourth installment, a handful of teens are destined to die in a horrible accident at a raceway, but then one the group members has a premonition of their demise and they duck death’s design. But Death, an unseen malevolent force, doesn’t like this and kills off the survivors via a series of elaborate “accidents.”
It’s a pretty good formula, but nothing presented in the last two sequels has lived up to the operatic roadside mayhem from the second film. The Final Destination’s raceway disaster pales in comparison; its heavily computer-enhanced death sequences come off looking pretty fake, even though much of it was shot with practical effects. And when viewed in 3-D that lack of realism is only magnified.
That said, there are some nice 3-D compositions, such as the low angle race car shots, which allow the track to jut out into the theatre space and immerse the audience in the speedway location. However, much of 3-D presented in the expository scenes is pretty flat.
The most successful, well-crafted 3-D sequences – those real cornea-scraping moments – are, not surprisingly, the death sequences. The most elaborate of these mousetrap murders come near the end of the film, when Death’s invisible hand causes an explosion in a multiplex theatre (ironically showing a depthless 3-D film) and the ensuing pandemonium in a mall. Sure, there’s debris that flies out into the theatre space and some nice use of depth, but the sequence that most effectively uses 3-D is one character’s close call in a car wash. Water is a beautiful thing in 3-D and this sequence takes advantage of it. It’s a highlight of the film’s use of the technology, but by no means a jaw-dropper. The Final Destination was a relatively early entry into the new wave of live action 3-D so let’s hope that the next sequel will make better use of the gimmick.
This 3D Blu-ray release is an upgrade for 3-D fans who bought the previous anaglyph version. The special features include deleted scenes and two alternate endings, not presented in 3-D, the later provides viewers insight into how much this film was reworked and its intentions altered from the original script.
Although the addition of the word “the” and the omission of any numeral to The Final Destination would indicate a conclusion to the series, Final Destination 5 (again in 3-D) is in theatres. Let’s hope the writers found some fresh material for both the story, and the 3-D sequences.
Jason Pichonsky shares more thoughts on stereoscopic cinema at depthsploitation.com