Plot: Kimberly (A.J. Cook) is about to embark on a road trip with some of her friends, but before the party in Daytona can kick off, there is a long drive ahead and traffic looks to be quite killer. As she waits on the flow to pick up again, Kimberly falls asleep and has a dark, twisted vision of a horrific chain of car accidents and in the carnage, she and numerous others are all killed. But she wakes up when traffic starts to move again, in a panic, but relieved it was just a dream. Then she notices a lot of the same things from her nightmare are happening in real life, so she blocks traffic in hopes of preventing the terrible pile up. As it turns out, her vision does indeed come true, but even her actions can’t stop the hands of fate and several people lose their lives. She and her friends are spared, as well as a handful of other motorists, but as she soon learns, death doesn’t appreciate being cheated.
Entertainment Value: The original Final Destination was passable, but failed to either drum up effective, serious scares or embrace the b movie vibes, so we were left with a middle of the road teen horror flick. In Final Destination 2, that mistake isn’t repeated and we have a movie that dials up the camp and focuses on the kills, while letting the overly serious elements fall to the wayside. I know some will prefer the more serious approach, but I think this was a wise choice, as the kills are much more creative and fun to watch, while the the more over the top style narrative helps up the entertain value as well. I also think the car accident sequence is light years more effective than the plane crash, with those log hauling trucks becoming an iconic and anxiety inducing sight on real life roads after the film’s release. We have a new group of friends this time around, but the movie also weaves in enough connections to the original, in both theme and a couple of returning cast members. Ali Larter and Tony Todd are back from the first movie and the newcomers are fun to watch, since they’re able to go melodrama rather than the first movie’s emo approach. I think Final Destination 2 is eons more fun and memorable than the original, so even if Final Destination left you disappointed, give this tuned up sequel a shot.
A little sleaze here, as a woman flashes her bare breasts on the open road, but that’s all the naked flesh in this one. Where Final Destination 2 shines is the kills, which are so much more inventive, splashy, and memorable this time around. I love the falling glass death so much, as it is so sudden and hilarious, while the visual effects are good enough to make it look good. That is my personal favorite of the kills here, but the body count is high and most of the deaths are at least solid, if not outlandishly fun and the movie keeps the blood flowing in most. A barbed wire slice up, severe eye trauma, log through the windshield, elevator head job, and of course, an exploding barbecue are all present, as well as a near miss that feels like a dark Finding Nemo outtake. The gore includes a lot of CGI and while it doesn’t always look great, it is better than expected and looks much more effective than most CGI bloodshed. The dialogue has some bright spots, as the movie has a good sense of humor at times and there’s some melodrama in the acting, but not a wealth of snappy lines are present. I was let down by Tony Todd’s role this time, as he was a highlight of the original, but does little here. As for craziness, the creative kills and b movie vibes earn a few points and while this is still not as off the rails as I’d like, it was a step in the right direction.
Overall Insanity: 3/10