THE FINAL DESTINATION franchise is one of the rare series that never overstayed it’s welcome. Instead of cranking out a new film every October and further complicating its own mythology (I’m looking at you PARANORMAL ACTIVITY) the Jefferey Reddick-created series thrived on its premise. In this series, it wasn’t a serial killer or a ghost chasing you. It was Death itself. The five films in this series all explored the consequence of escaping death after a catastrophic event. While some films dipped in quality, the overall series still holds up to this day. The FINAL DESTINATION series brought us some of the most brutal and creative deaths in film history. Below is the official ranking of each film from least to best. No need to look anywhere else.
(5) The Final Destination (2009) This fourth installment, which repurposed the original film’s title, is arguably the worst in the franchise. In this chapter, a group of people escape an accident at a Nascar race before death starts coming after them. Personally, I thought the Nascar race would’ve been punishment enough but the Grim Reaper has a 9-5 like everyone else. The characters were beyond bland and mostly unlikable. The deaths were also less creative and more silly this time around. When Nick Zano’s asshole is sucked in by the pool, I don’t know if this movie was intentionally goofy or if cocaine was part of the film’s budget. This installment brought nothing new to the series except an excuse to use 3D technology and is the biggest blemish on this, otherwise, enjoyable series. Ironically, it’s directed by David Ellis who also directed the far superior second installment.
Hottest Guy: Nick Zano and his ass cleavage take the honors.
Best Death: I really had to struggle to remember a death that stood out. I’ll vote for Justin Welborn’s racist character’s demise. It just feels right.
(4) Final Destination 3 (2006) This third installment is one of the most fun installments in the franchise. The comedic tone of the characters and their deaths are essentially leftovers from the second installment yet it all still feels fresh. After a horrific accident on a roller coaster, the survivors are all picked off in various over the top fashion. Interestingly, this is the only film in the series that doesn’t feature mainstay Tony Todd (his voice is just heard). However, a new concept brought to the series is the idea of predicting someone’s death through various photographs of the would-be victim. This prevents the film of suffering under its own weight and pushes the story further.
Hottest Guy: Texas Battle’s
stereotypical annoying jock, Lewis Romero.
Best Death: The tanning bed deaths of Ashley and Ashlyn is one of the best sequences of the entire franchise.
(3) Final Destination 5 (2014) After the disastrous 4th installment my hopes weren’t very high for this latest entry. Instead of the Abercrombie-esque, one-note characters from before we’re now treated to (mostly) developed young adults. After having a vision where he sees the death of his friends and coworkers during a bridge collapse, Sam (the doe-eyed Nick D’Agasto) and his friends fight to alter death’s plan while one of them (Tom Cruise and Christan Bale’s lovechild Miles Fisher) tries to takes the power in his own hands and pursues Death’s next victim himself. This created more suspense as now Death wasn’t the only killer in the movie. With well-placed humor added back, this sequel is not only better than it should be but is also one the most imaginative in the series. The kills are more gruesome and the characters are very likable. Plus bonus points for the most surprising “ending” in the entire series!
Hottest Guy: Arlen Escarpa. He was the hottest guy in the FRIDAY THE 13th remake and he was the hottest guy here as well. D’Agasto was the runner-up but he reminds me of someone I really despise. Not his fault.
Best Death: FD5 was like the grand ball of creative deaths. However, Ellen Wroe’s gymnastics death makes me cringe every time I watch it.
(2) FINAL DESTINATION (2000) The one that started it all! After having a vision of his plane exploding while en route to Paris with his class, Alex Browning begins to figure out death’s plan and warns his friends about the Grim Reaper’s plans. This is the one that started it all. The first FD is the darkest and most sinister in the series. While it lacks the sense of humor of some of its sequels, the tone never feels bleak nor does it takes itself too seriously.
Hottest Guy: Kerr Smith’s douchey-bro jock was a far cry from his douchey-gay role on DAWSON’S CREEK, but he was still gorgeous.
Best Death: Everyone’s death was brutal in this first installment, but it’s Amanda Detmer’s Terry who’s, “death by bus,” is the most memorable.
(1) Final Destination 2 (2003) This direct sequel to the smash original is essentially more of the same, yet sprinkled with dark humor in place of the creepy atmosphere. The energy and style of the deaths are amped up as if the movie was sponsored by Red Bull which makes this installment the best in the entire franchise. When Kimberly Corman (the excellent A.J. Cook) sees a vision of a highway pileup, she warns a group of strangers only to be stalked by Death itself. The highway nightmare is not only the best catastrophe of the series but is also one of the most impressive car crash sequences in film history.
Hottest Guy: Michael Landes as Officer Burke- a man in uniform we can all appreciate.
One of the best deaths is the first one involving a fire escape, spaghetti and Incubus’ Vitamin playing in the background. It was…eye-popping.