Death comes a-knockin'

`Final Destination 2' is a grisly thrill ride

Movie Review

January 31, 2003|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Final Destination 2 is definitely nasty.

Ostensibly a supernatural /horror thriller about how cheating death is not a life choice to be taken lightly, what it really is is a doctoral thesis on how many grisly, inventive ways people can die supposedly accidental deaths in a movie. The answer is plenty, the inventive factor considerable, the grisly quotient off the charts.

It ain't art. But as a cinematic house of horrors, it more than fills the bill.

In the original Final Destination, we met a bunch of high school students who were supposed to be on a plane to Europe, but were instead yanked off at the last minute thanks to a ruckus caused by one of them having premonitions of doom. Wouldn't you know it, the plane ended up exploding, with everyone onboard dead and the kids thanking their lucky stars - until they all started dying themselves, each in a more grisly fashion than the last.

The hardly comforting message: When your time is up, your time is up. The Grim Reaper, it seems, doesn't like being disappointed.

Here it is, a year later, and the cycle is starting again. This time, just as young Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) is about to pull her parents' SUV onto the highway, she has this frightening vision of a horrific pileup that leaves her, her friends and a bunch of other people dead. She freaks and refuses to move, preventing the other cars behind her from entering the highway as well.

And then the pileup happens, just as Kimberly saw it (watch this and you may never travel the Interstates again). Except she and her buds and the people in the cars behind them are still alive, having avoided their date with death by only a few moments.

Ah, but as we learned from Final Destination, old man Death doesn't like being stood up. Soon, people start dying, generally from incidents that involve projectiles rammed through various parts of their bodies. Like we said, this one isn't for the squeamish.

As one might guess, it's silly to talk about anything as mundane as plot, acting or nuance when it comes to this flick. The cast of unknowns who serve as Grim Reaper chow don't make much of an impression, and Ali Larter, who returns from the first film as the lone survivor of that ill-fated flight (she's been hiding out in a psych ward), only has to register two emotions: fear and defiance.

But taken strictly as a thrill ride, it's hard to argue with this movie. Yes, it wants to do nothing more than shock its audience. But it does it so well, and with such absolute abandon, it's impossible not to be impressed with the results. Final Destination 2 may leave your brain unchallenged, but it will certainly get your pulse racing.

Final Destination 2

Starring A.J. Cook, Ali Larter, Michael Landes

Directed by David R. Ellis

Rated R (strong violent/gruesome accidents, language, drug content, brief nudity)

Released by New Line Cinema

Time 100 minutes

SUN SCORE * *

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