Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) foresees a deadly traffic accident, thus preventing a group of motorists from losing their lives on Route 23. Death has a plan, which Kimberly dutifully complicates to umpteenth degrees. It’s as if Death recently discovered Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and now sits around pondering, “How do I kill Peter Piper using a pepper but make it look like a pipe is going to do him in? I got it! Let’s have Peter accidentally drop a pepper in arsenic but before he eats it let’s have him dodge an anvil, a flock of seagulls and three blind mice.” Final Destination 2 reeks of more-of-the-same. Indeed, the only apparent difference between this and the original film is that Death wields its murderous daisy wheel in reverse. In the original film, the survivors of crash Flight 180 were gruesomely killed one by one in the order that they would have died had they remained on the plane. Here, those who die first are the ones that would have died last on Route 23. The literal-mindedness of the material suggests that its been written for idiots with no concept of the afterlife. Death itself has been successfully reduced to a punchline. To the film’s credit, the executions are sporadically funny. A scene where an otherwise precocious teenager runs gleefully toward a flock of pigeons before being crushed by a gargantuan plate of glass has to be one of the funniest set pieces I’ve seen in years. But, unless the writers can figure out a way for Death to kill upward and downward, they’ve completely exhausted their directions and a third film now seems unlikely.
If you've come to expect only the best from New Line's Infinifilm titles, this DVD edition of Final Destination 2 will not disappoint. The sheer beauty of the colors and the gooeyness of the blacks is surpassed only by the aggressiveness of the Dolby Digital DTS 6.1 Stereo Surround track (an EX 5.1 track is also available).
First up is an overloaded commentary track with director David Ellis, producer Craig Perry and screenwriters Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. Their enthusiasm is contagious but because they tend to focus entirely too much on technical aspects of the production, the track quickly loses its appeal. A series of punchy features included in the Infinifilm section make up for the loss. In the overly scientific but nonetheless interesting "The Terror Gauge," Dr. Victoria Ibric analyzes the physical and psychological effects of the film on three test subjects. "Cheating Death: Beyond and Back" is a fascinating documentary on near-death experiences featuring interviews with people who've gone to the "other side" before returning to the land of the living. This creepy piece also features an incredible collection of artwork and historical accounts on the subject. "Bits and Pieces: Bringing Death to Life" begins as a fascinating scholarly account of the origins of the splatter picture (godfather of gore Hershell Gordon Lewis's Blood Feast features prominently) before suddenly and oddly morphing into a Final Destination 2 effects featurette. (Because so many horror films are discussed in the film but no stock footage from those films could be used, the integrity of the featurette is compromised.) A pop-up fact track offers plenty of interesting factoids and gateways to interviews and screen tests throughout the film. Also included here are a series of deleted scenes (the filmmaker's wisely did away with the "Isabella's Husband" scene), two music videos, and theatrical trailers for Final Destination, Final Destination 2 and Highwaymen.
Shhhhh, don't tell anyone: The image and sound quality on this DVD edition of Final Destination 2 is so mind-blowing, you may just want to put this one in your permanent collection.