While watching scary movies by ourselves is fun, have you ever noticed how much more fun it is to watch with friends? We can share our screams, grab onto each other when something jumps out at us, laugh when something ridiculous happens, and reassure ourselves that everything is okay once the movie finally ends. If it’s good, we can squee together about how much we loved it. If it’s bad, we can tear it apart over drinks.
Movie going is a communal experience. Even if you go to a theater by yourself, you’re not alone (unless it’s a really slow day at the movies). I can’t remember ever having a theater to myself. It’s part of what makes watching movies so great. We get to share them.
That being said, I have been sharing my scary movie watching. Carnival of Souls, Troll, and this movie I’m about to talk about. Final Destination.
My roommates both know that I’ve embarked upon this crazy, scary movie watching adventure. And the other night when my roommate Margie was wondering what I was up to, all she had to do was ask “Scary Movie?” The answer, naturally, was “Yes.”
We flipped through my DVD collection, picked out a couple she had never seen, and settled on Final Destination – the 2000 Devon Sawa starring flick about the kid who has the horrible vision of the plane exploding, saves a few lives, upsets Death’s plan… and things just go downhill from there.
Join my roommate and I for our Final Destination watching. She’s M. I’m E. My notes are in the parenthesis. Some spoilers happen.
Skip to the end for a brief conversation Margie and I had after watching. I think it’s interesting how different our reactions were at times – this was her first time watching Final Destination, I’ve seen it a couple of times. This is something I’m going to come back to later.
But yeah, you should see us watching A Haunting… We are ridiculous. These are the things we do.
Final Destination – USA, 2000. Dir. James Wong, screenplay by Glen Morgan. Starring Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Seann William Scott.
M: It opens very scary. Did you write that?
M: What does it all mean!?
(religious imagery, fan spinning is ominous, screams, sound design, This is the END)
(Weird wind. Music.)
M: There’s a lot of air.
(Is he dreaming? 1:80 on clock)
(Intro of character. “Hitchcock.” Teacher is cheesy. Intro the weird girl. “Death is not the end.” Bad ass, cool teacher. Why is the board freaking him out? He sees omens everywhere.)
(Oooh. They say “Terminal”)
(The plane is evil!)
(Why are they freaking out about everything?)
M: I like all the numbers repeating – what time he left, his flight number, his seating. The time he was departing is the same as his birthday. All of the patterns click into place.
(I’ve all seen the trailer so I know what’s going to happen. How does that effect the tension? The “omens” seem over the top at this point. Heavy handed.)
(And then oh shit, it goes wrong.)
M: Oh my gosh.
(It’s like driving on the highway, passing a wreck. We all look.)
(And then the dream ends. What’s your problem, freak the shit out!)
(The fight. And then BOOM! Actually really well done.)
(CU everyone’s reactions. They’re all “oh shit”)
(Oh Ali Larter, you were so cute. And alone. That’s sad. But what is up with the midriff shirt?)
E: What’s up with the midriff shirt?
M: Was it made in the 90’s?
M: That’s what it is.
(Letting the tragedy sink in.)
(Plane explode. Lightning. The signs begin. The thing I never understood about these movies, if death wants them so bad, why did Alex have the vision?)
(39 days, 39 victims, more numbers)
(His friend is a sweet kid.)
M: Is he going first?
E: Oh god, this…
M: Okay, let me put this down so I can focus on Death. That sounds so wrong.
(The air again, we know it’s bad.)
(Alex is clearly now obsessed.)
M: Shut up.
(and false cues.)
(Back to Alex. And owl. And fan. And another clue.)
(This strangulation scene in the bathtub is so brutal. I remember everyone freaking out about the blood vessels bursting in his eyes.)
M: Oh my gosh.
(The music is very actiony. And fluid retreats.)
M: What the?
(What did they just say??)
E: That was a horrible thing to say!
M: Are you taking notes on the horrible thing?
(She totally didn’t answer his question)
(There’s lots of talk about death, and spirituality, art, attractions, taking form, emotions.)
(This movie is so morbid. And then they break into the funeral home.)
M: Wow. They broke into a mortuary.
(Bad 90’s jokes.)
M: Oh my gosh!
(The Candyman!!!! I love that this guy is in these movies but I really wish he had more of a role.)
E: This movie is seriously morbid.
(Why does this guy know so much??)
(Aaaaah song. “Final Destination”)
M: Holy shit.
E: Uh. Yeah.
(This movie is more about the shocking scares. There’s a sense of inevitability, helplessness.)
E: He’s acting like such a creeper.
(This movie isn’t always as scary as it is an adrenaline rush.)
M: Was that necessary?
(And the air again. She knows something is wrong.)
M: Is she gonna get sliced up by a disc?
E: I don’t remember. Something horrible happens to her.
(big, black blob of death. does that happen in the later movies?)
E: Woman, just give up on the tea.
M: What was that?
E: Something about the mug
E: Oh that’s what happens.
M: Does she get electrocuted?
M: Oh my god.
M: Oh my god.
M: Oh shit. She’s gonna get stabbed.
M: Of course his finger prints all over it.
(This movie is excessive but it’s also nasty, this scene in particular. This one is almost mean spirited.)
(And then the shock death!!)
M: Oh my god.
(The attention to detail is crazy impressive. “You’re the f*cking devil”)
(“What are you god now?”)
M: He pissed his pants. Epic.
(This cabin is so ridiculous it’s funny. It’s designed as a death trap. See what we did here?)
M: Oh my gosh. He’s like going crazy.
E: He really, really is.
(It’s showing an interesting progression towards madness. When we lose control, we go mad.)
M: Oh my god.
(And again with the clues. Death is laughing at him.)
E: Where does he think he’s going??
E: She left the dog outside?
(And trailer shot)
(The dog sees death. Poor doggy.)
M: The tree!
(The power line sounds like a monster)
(I remember liking this a lot more.)
(Electricity is chasing her though, that’s pretty cool)
(Death is pissed)
(Okay, he’s fighting the power line, this is really silly)
(6 months later! They’re all friends! Her hair is blond!)
(The music starts again. They get cocky. And oh shit, you know it’s not right.)
(And end credits.)
E: What did you think?
M: I really liked it! I thought that it was really well made. I’m comparing it to, I can’t count how many I watched but I watched a bunch of the sequels. And I felt that the first one was really well made in terms of death following them instead of something just happening. The build up was there unlike the other ones. There was more thought put into it. The way that everyone died was pretty insane, though some of them were predictable. Watching it you’d think they were going to die in one way but then the death was on a completely more horrible level.
I felt like there was a bigger storyline with the FBI going after him with the premonition, than in the other ones. The ending was surprising. I thought that they were going to survive it and then the sequel was going to come. I didn’t think that there was going to be that extra death.
One comment – Ali Larter. In the three months or however long it was, the weird girl blossomed more than the boys. It’s like a break in character. Her hair was completely blond! I’m just saying, she went through a make-over.
E: What did you think of her wardrobe?
M: Um… it was very 90’s… You really wanted to write that in! Which is fine.
E: I just got such a kick out of the mid-90’s of it!
M: She was a very confusing character. She could have warn flannels all the time and it would of suited of her. Her character was very conflicting [in terms of wardrobe]. There was a lot going on.
E: So the first death?
M: The first death in the shower was insane. When the water came out of the toilet and it followed him. And you’re like, what’s going to happen? He’s going to be electrocuted or cut himself with the razor… and then he choked. You did not see that coming. The was a great beginning death and I knew that movie was going to be amazing.
E: The first time you saw a Final Destination movie, what did you think of death being the killer?
M: It intrigued me because I like patterns. I feel like I watched the 2nd or 3rd one first. So they had the reference about the airplane and I didn’t know what they were talking about. I tend to go into movies blind, I just watch it. When I watched it, the patterns intrigued me, the deaths were gruesome, like “Wow, I never want to die that way.” The end of every movie always felt eerie, like there was always something more.
E: You keep watching them. So you like them?
M: To a certain extent. Yeah. I paid to go watch The Final Destination and I watched it in 3D.
E: What made you decide to see that?
M: I wanted to see what they would do with the special effects, what they would highlight in 3D. The race car scene was amazing, like a hinge breaks off and it’s flying in your face. I thought they could do more with that.
One thing I hate about that last one is that I watched the trailers for it and I felt like they gave away too much. They showed too much. Every death that happened in the movie, I knew what was going to happen.
So the first one was really exciting because I didn’t know anything that was going to happen.
E: What’s the allure of these movies for you? What keeps you coming back?
M: Well A) I’m intrigued by death. Not in that I’m suicidal, but seeing in terms of what other people think about, in creative ways to die. These are creative ways to die, a lot of these deaths are not common. I feel like within your whole entire lifetime you might meet someone that knows someone that died in that horrible way (Not that I would want that to happen).
I also like the movie becuase it’s a thriller, action packed, and high paced so it keeps me engaged the whole time.
E: So is it a fascination or fear?
M: It’s a little bit of both, fascination and fear. Since I understand that it’s a movie going into it, I don’t get neurotic about how I’m going to die on a daily basis. But it might happen for the first hour after – “Am I going to die?” That thought crosses my mind. I also have a fear factor that if I watch this movie, everything else is going to be okay.
E: Thanks Margie! That was fun!
Just need to point out real quick that this movie was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Yeah, they wrote some awesome episodes of the X-Files. Just sayin’. I love them.
Also, Candyman in the basement of the mortuary though? That was awesome.