With millions of memes scattered across social media pages, there is one that shows up from time to time. All that consists of the meme is a photo of a logger truck making its way down a highway. The meme has been reused and edited multiple times, but the message being conveyed in it is the same. You’ve seen Final Destination 2 and know exactly what to do in this situation. You are going to keep your distance so that maybe you’re not a part of deaths plan today.
Death – The Ultimate Villain
It’s been twenty years since the opening scene of this film terrorized audiences’ psyche and made them more scared than ever to travel long distances down a highway. Final Destination 2 did for logging trucks what Jaws did for going to the beach. No matter where you rank the films in the franchise, the message they all give to the audience always hits well, you never know when Death is going to strike; it’s never clear who’s next and how you’re going to go out.
Building off of the original installment to the franchise. Final Destination 2 takes place a year after the events of the first one. Ushering in a new batch of survivors who cheated death. The formula is the same as the first. The main character, this time played by A.J. Cook, has the premonition of all her friends dying horribly in a freak highway car pile-up so she makes the choice to hold off on her trip down to Daytona Beach. The formula furthers itself as it gives you kill after kill of all who thought they could cheat death.
The film is composed of building block of near death experiences, and just when you look away and then look back at the screen is when death strikes.
Stacking up to the original
Of course, a sequel would try to outdo its predecessor in scale and overall cinematic experience; sometimes bigger isn’t always better and that is the case here. There are a lot more characters in the film than the first film. With a run time of only ninety minutes, it crams some of these characters into the story making their deaths not as impactful. You don’t get as emotionally invested in them. Some of the supporting role performances are lacking, and it is hard to tell if the actors are missing their mark or if the lines and direction they’re being given is just falling short.
The film’s leads do deliver, A.J. Cook, Michael Landes, and reprising her role from the original film, Ali Larter, all put the film on their backs and carry the exposition to make you feel the high stakes. It also needs to be acknowledged that the great Tony Todd is back in his cameo appearance. It’s a shame to say this time around it feels like he is there for fan service and just there to cram more exposition.
It still packs a punch, or rather a log through the windshield
With all that’s wrong with some of the film, there are still a lot of moments that deliver. The Final Destination franchise did for us what Saw would eventually do in the years to come. Nobody paid a ticket to see these movies for character arcs, and plot twists. As morbid as this sounds, audiences want to see somebody die in creative ways. The kill scenes all have a formula to them. You see multiple red herrings as the scene starts of what is eventually gonna do this person in and you try to add up how all of it is going to come together. The film aims high on that and does in fact deliver. The opening premonition scene is iconic and could be argued that it trumps the original and other films that followed.
20 years later it still delivers
Final Destination 2 delivers on entertainment, which genre fans can get behind. And still holds up as a fun popcorn flick. It needs to be mentioned what draws us to a film like this though. Whether we like it or not, it’s the concept of death. Death being the villain of the movie, as a force of sorts that we can’t escape. Despite all the big set pieces and moments that make you look away, it is that simple idea that we can never escape death, one day it is going to happen to all of us, and the scary thing about it is, we don’t know how or when. That frightens audiences and also invites them to want to learn more about their own fears.It’s this reason alone why we’re still talking about Final Destination 2 and all the other films in that canon, twenty years later.
Final Destination 2 (2003) - A 20 Year Retrospective - Malevolent Dark
Director: David R. Ellis
Date Created: 1970-01-01 00:33
- Fantastic open sequence
- Create and 'fun' kills
- Knows its place and executes to plan
- Teenager pop horror
- Not intellectually deep