In the first installment of the “Final Destination” saga, Clear Rivers (Ali Larter, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”) and several others fortuitously escaped death. Following this prescient escape, however, Clear’s friends began dying mysteriously and of apparently random causes. Clear recognized this phenomenon as death’s vindication and subsequently committed herself to an asylum, in hopes of escaping the reaper’s grasp.

“Final Destination 2” opens at the home of Kimberley Corman (A.J. Cook), as she and several high school friends embark upon a journey to Daytona Beach. As she leaves her home, paying keen attention to insignificant goings on, Kimberley has a premonition of disaster in the form of a massive and gruesome traffic accident.

Kimberley attempts to prevent the accident by barricading the on-ramp with her SUV, but fate takes precedent, and many die, including the friends she was vacationing with.

Because of Kimberley’s efforts, though, a small group of would-be victims survives the accident. Not long thereafter, members of this group begin to mysteriously perish. Kimberley seeks out Clear’s assistance, as she knows of no means by which to solve their deadly conundrum. Finally agreeing to fight with Kimberley, Clear joins the other survivors in a brutal struggle to re-establish death’s harmony and save their own lives, before their time is up.

While its undertones about death’s retaliatory nature are somewhat chilling, “Final Destination 2” utterly fails as a film. From the outset, one must realize that “Destination,” like the lot of teenage horror, is intended solely to titillate audience members through scenes of grotesque violence and the occasional dose of crass humor.

The story is centered upon the random but systematic deaths of the survivors of the wreck, and the focus is noticeably on their tragic final moments. For example, a mother is decapitated by getting her head lodged between elevator doors after a man with a bucketful of prosthetic arms accidentally snags her hair with one of his hooked limbs. Rather inventive, eh?

Such scenes of the macabre are fairly well crafted and vivid, but the rest of the film is essentially filler. The flaccid script gives the characters little personal appeal. As the plot progresses, the characters’ deaths become almost farcical and are capable of evoking more laughter than pathos.

The film’s atrocious score only exacerbates such problems. The frenetic sound behind “Destination” is an absolute annoyance, and like the script, it counteracts the film’s suspenseful aims.

“Final Destination 2” lacks the requisite substance of its subject matter, and it fails terribly at thrilling audiences. Its only merit is fairly well-crafted scenes of death and dying, and those become rather predictable and unappealing progresses.

One can only hope that the makers of the “Final Destination” series are aware that their number has been drawn.

1 Star

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