The Horror Honeys: The 'Final Destination' Franchise: A Lesson In Tribute

The 'Final Destination' Franchise: A Lesson In Tribute

A Slasher Honey Retrospective by Chassity

The Final Destination Series

In 2000, a little horror film dealing with the fallout from a plane crash was released. Fast forward to today, and that film has lead to yet another franchise. It’s a good thing it came out the year it did because if it had come out just a little over a year later, this franchise might not have even existed, for the obvious reason. 

That film franchise is Final Destination, and Saturday January 31 marked the 11th anniversary of its second film in the franchise. 

All these years later, I still find myself defending the films, their relevance to the horror genre, and whether or not they fall into the slasher category. 

As far as that last part, I absolutely believe the Final Destination franchise falls into the slasher category, but I’ll get to that. First, let me explain what I mean by having to defend the franchise. 

This particular franchise is in that class of horror films that no one takes seriously and everyone seems to write off as existing just for the gore. I’ve heard it argued many times there is no plot to these movies, and while I would agree to some extent, I still find that this does not make the films any less enjoyable. 

NO! STOP THAT! WHY DIDN'T YOU LOOK BOTH WAYS???

You had WAY too many butcher knives in your kitchen. That's on you.
For one thing, despite all the negative criticism levied against the franchise, most people will admit that the original film was pretty good. It was unique, suspenseful, and captivating because you had to go in without knowing what you were in for. On top of that, the original was full of refreshing characters. It was nice to finally have a horror movie with teenagers that were actually likable. And with the exception of one character, none of the teens in it truly fit the generic horror movie teenager stereotypes. But the thing is, this holds true for pretty much the entire franchise, and it’s one of the reasons I will always defend it. With the exception of maybe Scream, the Final Destination films are the only horror franchise that doesn’t have characters so asinine you wholeheartedly root for their deaths. Unlike other slasher films, I am never on Death’s side. 

This scene brought to you by the Anti-Melanoma Foundation.
More than that, the concept of these films is brilliant. It isn’t some drowned 10-year-old reincarnated as a fully grown man, or a formerly psychopathic 6-year-old turned silent adult killing machine in a William Shatner mask. It’s Death itself. These films removed the issue of even having to worry about their serial killer defying the concept of suspension of disbelief. Because everyone believes in death, and we know it’s going to happen to all of us some day. But more than that, in these films Death doesn’t just come and take you out while you’re sleeping or just have you catch a disease or get hit by a car. No, death is creative and takes people out in a series of seemingly endless, fascinating ways. 

At least she got a 10 from the German judge. Sick bastard.
Which leads me to the biggest reason why I defend these films as a collectively great horror franchise. Look, obviously they aren’t deep, Oscar-bait movies. They’re basic horror films. When people say that these films don’t have a plot or are too repetitive, I’m not sure what they’re expecting to get out of them. For me, outside of the original, it was never about the story, but always about three things: 1) being caught up in watching the character investigate what was going on, 2) figuring out death’s pattern/design, and 3) watching the chain of events in each impending death unfold so as to figure out exactly how each character was going to get it. 

Eesh. Sorry Koechner. We still love you.
And that brings me to why I consider these movies to be slasher films. Sure, it’s true that Death itself as a character isn’t quite the same as Michael or Jason or Ghostface. But even your most basic of slashers don’t always use the most obvious means of killing their victims, either. They all can get crafty at times, just as Death does in this particular franchise. Death stalks its victims, taking its time and picking just the right moment in making its move. Death operates similarly to the most infamous of slasher legends in this way, and its victims always seem to be young teenagers and 20-somethings—just as any other good slasher’s victims are. 

Is the Final Destination franchise the best in the genre or even the sub-genre? Absolutely not. But they’re definitely popular with good reason. There’s also a lesson to be learned from the flack that these movies get. Maybe instead of trying to find depth in something not meant to be deep, we could just appreciate this franchise for its pretty cool twist on the formulaic nature of the genre, and enjoy it for what it is. 

And also this. Enjoy it for this.