How many of us are paranoid about something? We all are, right?
Do movies help or hurt with our paranoia?
I shudder to think about spiders (thanks, Arachnophobia!), scorpions (thanks, Clash of the Titans!), snakes (thanks, Snakes on a Plane!), sharks (thanks, Jaws!), and severe storms (thanks, Twister!). I could keep going, but you catch my drift.
But, does paranoia stop us from watching these scary movies?
Usually not! Most of us have babysat and been alone in the dark of someone else’s living room and pictured Michael Myers, right? Or gone to bed and prayed Freddy is really only a fictional character? Or maybe we’ve gone camping near water and crossed our fingers that Jason is tied tightly and cemented to the bottom of the lake, right?
What do we do when Death decides it’s our time?
If the question alone isn’t enough, the Final Destination franchise doesn’t help the paranoia, at all!
It all started in 2000 with the release of Final Destination and the curse of Flight 180. Alex (Devon Sawa, Nikita), Clear (Ali Larter, Varsity Blues & Heroes), and their classmates gather at the airport for their senior trip. But before take-off, Alex has a premonition that they’re all going to die. Pandemonium breaks out and Alex and Clear, along with a few of their friends, are booted off the flight. Guess what? Alex’s vision saves their lives; the plane explodes and everyone left on board dies.
Matters continue to worsen when Alex’s friends start to die in freak accidents – in the order of their original seat number on the doomed flight! One accidentally hangs himself in the shower; another is splattered by a moving bus; one is stabbed by a kitchen knife (that’s right, no one was controlling the knife; it did it all on its own); one is decapitated at the scene of a train wreck; and one is pummeled by a neon sign.
To add to the paranoia, in 2003, Final Destination 2 hit the movie theaters. Kim (A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds) envisions a massive wreck on the highway she and her friends are about to pull onto so she stalls her vehicle. Crisis averted, right? Nope! Not minutes later, an 18-wheeler causes an accident. Kim, as well as a few of her friends, survive the crash, including Officer Burke (Matthew Landes, Special Unit 2) who would have died had it not been for Kim’s actions.
Knowing the past mysterious deaths of the survivors of Flight 180, Kim and Officer Burke visit Clear in the mental hospital, but Clear only warns there is nothing they can do to escape Death. And, guess what? One by one the survivors of the wreck die in freakish accidents. One can always count on at least one character death by impalement, decapitation, explosion, or by being crushed by some object. One of the deaths that grabbed our attention in FD2 followed a car crash when an emergency worker accidentally set off the airbag trying to remove a survivor from the wreckage, knocking her head into one of the metal pipes thrown through her car from a truck involved in the accident — brutal!
The fun doesn’t stop there! In 2006, Final Destination 3 introduced cinema-goers to a new crowd of unlucky teenagers. Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Kevin (Ryan Merriman, Pretty Little Liars), and friends board the roller coaster at a local theme park. What happens next? Wendy has a premonition; some get off the doomed ride; and, the rest fall to their death.
Kevin tells Wendy about the others and warns that everyone that managed to escape the roller coaster will start to die. And? They do! The death scene in FD3 that still haunts me to this day is when two girls get trapped and roast to death inside a couple of tanning beds –talk about a case of vanity kills!
The Final Destination was released in 2009, and thinking this was the last installment in the series, I was sure not to miss it! Nick (Bobby Campo), his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten, One Tree Hill), and their best friends, Janet and Hunt, are attending a Nascar-like event where Nick envisions debris on the track causing a wreck, that leads to mass chaos, and eventually explosions killing nearly everyone in the crowd.
Like clockwork, one by one the survivors die in even more crazy accidents. The climatic tension surrounding the hot mom’s (Krista Allen) impending death was pretty great. Will she get chopped up by the loose ceiling fan? Will the hair dresser accidentally stab her with her scissors? Or will she escape? Well, we know that’s not going to happen. Instead, she dies when a flying rock rips through her eye after being tossed by a lawn mower across the street. I normally wouldn’t mention the almost situations, but TFD filmed one potential death scene that really freaked me out when Janet’s sun-roof opened and malfunctioned inside a drive-thru car wash. She managed to escape, but the thought of what that would feel like is haunting.
Everyone dies in The Final Destination, another reason why one might think this movie wrapped up the franchise. But, guess what?
Final Destination 5 in 3D hits theaters this August!
What do you think now: Do movies help or hurt with our paranoia?
Which of the Final Destination movies do you like best? Because of these movies, do you think twice now when flying? Do you fall farther behind or drive past the trucks hauling metal pipes? Do you check the tanning bed to make sure you can open it once inside? Do you watch a roller coaster and envision something horrible happening? Will you take your car through a drive-thru car wash and stare at your sun-roof the entire time? Do you avoid walking under large, dangling signs or cranes lifting large objects? What makes you paranoid? Will you see Final Destination 5? I’d love to hear from you!