Film / Final Destination

Final Destination is the first film in the Final Destination series, released in 2000.

Alex Browning and his classmates are going on a trip to Paris when he receives a horrifying vision of the plane exploding soon after take-off. He causes a scene that ends with Alex, several other high schoolers, and one of their teachers avoiding the disaster. When the survivors start dying off one by one, Alex realizes that Death itself is coming after those who escaped their fates.

This film provides examples of:

  • Angry Black Man: The pilot on the flight 180, although he had a very good reason.
  • Asshole Victim: Carter Horton, initially. The openly and proudly insensitive prick of a boyfriend amongst the leads, with not one decent and good bone in his body. Throughout the movie, Carter performs a gradual Heel–Face Turn and becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, even saving Alex's life in the ending.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The doomed Flight 180 was run by Volée Airlines. Volée is French not only for 'flight' or 'flown', but also for 'stolen'. Highly appropriate given that Death's attempting to claim everyone's lives after the explosion. Also see Meaningful Name below.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alex and Clear survive the car explosion and go to Paris with Carter 6 months later and Carter saves Alex's life just as he's about to get killed by a sign, but then the sign swings back down and it's implied that it killed Carter just as the movie cuts to the end credits.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three females in the cast. Terri Chaney is the blonde, Valerie Lewton is the brunette and Clear Rivers is a light brown substituting for redhead.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Anyone notice the seemingly large stain on Carter's pants after Billy's decapitated?
  • Car Fu: Terry Chaney VS a city bus.
  • Clawing at Own Throat: A character gets a rope wound around their neck and is clawing at their throat to try to get it off.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: One of these was among the toys panned over during the opening credits.
  • Death by Pragmatism: Was going to be subverted in the first movie, but they made them reshoot the ending.
  • Death of a Child: Both an infant AND a mentally handicapped patient wearing numerous breathing tubes die in the plane crash/explosion, even when one of the characters declares that the plane can't possibly crash due to this trope (Mercifully, their deaths aren't shown).:
    [Alex sees a crying baby upon boarding the plane]
    George: That's a good sign. Younger, the better. It'd be a fucked up God to take down this plane.
    [Passing through the bulkhead to the next compartment, the duo see a patient and his carer in the front row.]
    George: A really fucked up God.
  • Death's Hourglass: Some DVD menus for the first film use this theme, showing a clock ticking by the hours with an eerie, deterministic theme in the background, visualizing the survivors' limited time until Death catches up with them.
  • Delayed Explosion: The explosion of the plane in the first film is a case of Realistic Delay, though some say it's exaggerated given the short distance involved.
  • Died Standing Up: Billy Hitchcock, who stays standing after his beheading for a few seconds before his body realizes he's dead.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: For some odd reason, after the Flight 180 disaster, Mrs. Lewton begins to act cold and dismissive to Alex after he accidentally got her and the others off the plane. It's implied she's afraid of him due to the fact he knew the plane was going to blow up, but still. She even calls the agents on him when he goes to check on her!
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In this film, there's often a black shadow on a reflective surface seen when Death is coming for someone, sometimes accompanied by gusts of wind from nowhere. The first of these omens wasn't used in any of the sequels.
    • An odd case of this happening within the film itself. For the first death, it's made to look like a suicide - with the water that Tod slipped on vanishing after he's killed. Early on in production, filmmakers abandoned this idea and had the rest of the deaths as more obvious accidents.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The explosion of the plane is a bit too spectacular, really.
    • Or is it? The plane explosion and decompression is actually based on TWA Flight 800, where the effects on passengers would have been very similar.
  • Final Girl: Clear considering Alex's fate.
  • Focus Group Ending: The original ending featured a somewhat happy ending. Alex Browning sleeps with his Clear Rives, gets her pregnant, then dies. The movie closes on Clear Rivers and Carter Horton standing by his grave a year later. Test audiences hated it, not liking the fact that Alex dies before the end of this film, and said they wanted more Rube Goldberg deathtraps. Ironically, the second film revolved around that plot point, just with different players involved.
  • Foreshadowing: A very subtle example. When Terry dies, blood sprays on Alex's face. One of the blood stains looks like a 7. Later on, Alex thinks he's second to last to die on the plane. However, he realizes that in his premonition, he moved his seat, making him sixth to die, but he never moved from his seat, therefore making him officially seventh and final on Death's List.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Clear Rivers is a teenager who's been abandoned by her parents for years and she lives alone. Yet she has a decent-sized house, with her own car and pool. There's no mention of her having a job or getting support from the government or other family members. She does mention her mother and stepfather "taking off" so that would imply the house is her parents' old one.
  • Jammed Seatbelts: A car stalled on train tracks has one seatbelt jam, trapping Carter until the very last minute. Possibly justified, since every death in the series is set up in a Rube Goldberg style relying on a series of coincidences.
  • Jerk Jock: Carter.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Billy Hitchcock, cut off in mid-rant.
  • Look Both Ways: Terry steps out right in front of a speeding (and oddly silent) bus without even looking once.
  • The Lost Lenore: Clear's father for her mother. She became a Broken Bird and ended up in a relationship with a man who didn't want to be saddled with a daughter - so she abandoned her. It's also implied that Terri becomes this for Carter.
  • Meaningful Name: "Tod" means "Death" in German. Additionally, all the main characters share names with well-known horror directors.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Alex ends up being the target of two police agents who suspect that he caused the Flight 180 explosion due to getting the others off the plane and knowing about the explosion.
  • Murder Water: Tod is stalked by a leak from his toilet which follows him around the bathroom until he slips on it, falls into the clothesline, and strangles himself.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. The buildup to Tod's death involves him using the toilet, which then starts to leak. Even before that he and Alex take an extended dump in the airport bathroom before getting on the plane.
  • Off with His Head!: Billy Hitchcock loses half of his head due to piece of metal sent flying towards by a passing train.
  • 1-Dimensional Thinking:
    • At one point, Alex Browning runs away from a falling tree in a straight line, which gets him stuck in a mud puddle that he eventually gets out of alive.
    • Averted later when Alex jumps to the side away from a bus after Clear Rives alerts him.
  • Plot Hole: Alex refers to his teacher as "Mrs Lewton" twice in the film. Elsewhere in the film she's just called "Miss" and there's no mention of a husband.
  • Porn Stash: Alex has an adult magazine stuffed in a dresser drawer.
  • Rasputinian Death: Ms. Lewton's death. She gets stabbed in the throat by shards of her exploding computer screen, knocked to the ground by an exploding Vodka bottle, stabbed in the chest by a large kitchen knife when she was trying to grab a cloth to stop her hemorrhage, but it takes a chair falling on her and hammering the knife deeper in her chest to kill her. And Death, not satisfied with that, blows up her house! It helps cement Death's position in the series as a sadistic bastard that loves making its victims suffer for shits and giggles. The last part also qualifies for There Is No Kill Like Overkill.
  • Red Herring: The amount of focus given on the nose hair scissors in Tod's death scene implies that they'll play some factor in it - but they don't. It's all about that clothesline. It happens again, as special focus is given to the scissors when Tod is being strangled - as a possible way he can free himself. But it's just a Hope Spot.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: George is given a significant amount of lines and screen time in the first part of the film, and then is abruptly killed in the plane crash. Same for Christa and Blake, though they do also provide a Eureka Moment for Alex later in the film.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ms Lewton is planning to move due to the trauma of the event.
  • Significant Birth Date: Alex Browning, born on September 25, was scheduled to leave to Paris at 9:25 PM. The plane, in which his seat was I25, of course, exploded on take off.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: A lot of the protagonists are named after famous figures in classic horror movies. Alex's last name is Browning (after Tod Browning), Terri's is Chaney (after Lon Chaney), Tod's is Waggner (after The Wolf Man director George Waggner), Billy's is Hitchcock (after Alfred Hitchcock) and the French teacher Larry Murnau (after Nosferatu director F.W. Murnau). Ms. Lewton's first name is Valerie, after director Val Lewton - and she's called Val by the police. Tod has a brother called George, making him a full example too. Clear Rivers is the odd one out; she was just named after the director's assistant.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Even when the slasher is death it seems; the blonde is the second killed off. In the sequel Clear is now blonde and dies.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The uplifting record playing during the teacher's death.
  • Source Music: "Rocky Mountain High" is a weaponized version.
  • Title Drop:
    • A tag an airport employee attaches to Alex's bag in the first film has "Final Destination" written on it in big, bold letters. The camera lingers on it for a few seconds.
    • Also, "Into the Void" by Nine Inch Nails plays in Carter's car, which contains the following lyrics:
    "Pictures in my head of the final destination..."
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The plane crash at the start of the first movie is obviously based on TWA 800 — the plane is an old 747 flying from JFK to Paris that explodes shortly after takeoff, even featuring a group of high school students on a class trip, just as the real flight 800 did. Some of the TV news footage in the movie is the real coverage of that disaster.