Leaving On A Jet Plane

This contrived horror flick is quite avoidable.

Can you cheat Death?

This is the question which Final Destination seeks to explore.

Based on a story by James Reddick, this is the cinematic debut of James Wong, who was hitherto well known among television fans as the creator of "Space : Above And Beyond" and as a producer for two early seasons of "The X-Files" with his long-term partner Glen Morgan, who also co-wrote the screenplay of this film.

A film where Death plays the central lead, it starts with Alex Browning (Devon Sawa), a high school student who is flying to Paris along with the rest of his French class, suddenly experiencing a strong premonition that the plane will explode. He panics and in the ensuing melee, seven people, including a teacher, Ms. Lewton (Kristen Cloke) (a woman who instinctively heeds him); Clear (Ali Carter); and four of his class mates – Billy (Seann William Scott), Tod (Chad E. Donella), Carter (Kerr Smith) and Terry (Amanda Detmer) - get left behind. To their horror, they witness the plane take off and explode mid air in chilling resemblance to Alex’s vision.

Though Alex’s premonition saves lives, it does not bring him any obvious happiness. His friends stay wary and suspicious of him and view him as something of a freak. The FBI, extremely suspicious, also dog his heels. Only Clear stays by his side.

Then as the survivors start dying under mysterious circumstances, he figures out that somehow they have managed to cheat death by stepping off that ill-fated plane and now death has woven a new design to snare them all. He realises that in order to stay alive, he will have to continue to cheat the "grim reaper".

The tight, fast paced and suspense filled script combined with the slick direction creates an impressive package that will hold the viewer’s attention easily. Heavily laced with atmosphere, the movie provides a host of occasional scary moments cleverly interwoven in a reasonably strong story line.

On the flip side, the acting leaves a lot to be desired. The story also falters in a few places. There are even a few times, where the movie veers towards predictability. Especially avoidable was the last five minutes of the film.

However, do not let that stop you if you get a chance to catch this flick. The movie remains extremely engrossing on the whole and is well worth an afternoon.

This article was first published on 05 Sep 2000.