Film: Final Destination

And you thought Life was a bitch.

"In death there are no accidents, no coincidences, no mishaps...and no escapes."
Bludworth the Coroner, Final Destination

The Final Destination horror franchise (which has spawned five movies, two comic books, and six original novels) revolves around the premise of Death's list.

The works in the franchise are:

Every film in the franchise follows the same formula: a group of people leave the scene of an accident that kills a large number of people. Their departure and survival — caused by a premonition seen by the person who causes the group's escape — screws with Death's plans. In turn, Death makes sure that those survivors end up dying in elaborate "accidents" as part of a "list" of victims, which essentially turns the natural process of death into a supernatural "slasher". Each film culminates in an attempt by the person who saw the premonition and another person (or two) from the group to "cheat" Death and break its cycle before Death gets to them.

This franchise bears no relation to the stage of the same name from the Super Smash Bros. fighting game series. Although a song of the same name was inspired by the title of the original film, said song does not appear in any of the films.

These films contain examples of the following tropes:

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    In General 
  • Anyone Can Die: Though, due to the nature of the series and the genre, this is to be expected.
  • Arc Number: 180, 23.
  • Arc Words: IT'S COMING/IT'S HERE
  • Artifact Title: Partially, the Double Entendre of the first film is lost in the next three, unless you want to be generous for Part 2 and reference it as a car GPS announcing a driver's arrival at "your final destination".
  • Asshole Victim: This being a slasher franchise, this happens a lot. See below for specific examples.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: No matter what the characters do, Death will always claim them.
  • Balancing Death's Books: The driving force behind the films. People were supposed to die, but they cheated and got out of it. So now Death is going to get his revenge, by killing them off in excruciating and painful ways.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Big Bad: Death
  • Big Good: Word of God has implied that there's a second force that sends the premonitions (The Final Destination implies it's Death toying with them, but this is debatable as the fifth film seems to ignore this and the fourth was written by different writers than the original three) and works against Death.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Mainly averted in the films, but occasionally invoked in the expanded universe.
  • Blessed with Suck: The premonitions.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In most cases. Even when the victim's injuries are thus far all below the knees (such as the escalator death in The Final Destination).
  • Bookends: The fifth movie is a prequel that concludes with a new perspective on the same plane crash that started the first film's storyline.
  • Cassandra Truth
  • Chekhov's Gun: Flip-flopped - so many things get set up that it gets so convoluted, and then subverted when something comes straight out of the blue. In fact, long-time fans might start playing "count the ways this room could kill you" with each new scene.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: It would probably be easier to list the ones who didn't turn into giblets.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: No matter what, Death will always claim the protagonists.
  • Cosmic Plaything: All the protagonists.
  • Crapsack World: Death is real and he either hates you or thinks your silly attempts to live are amusing. Also, because of Death, horrible accidents that involve dozens or even hundreds of people dying are commonplace. Everything, from ceiling fans to roller coasters to planes, is on the verge of falling apart or blowing up due to the slightest provocation. And when it does fall apart, it will do so in the way that is most likely to kill anyone around as it happens.
  • Creepy Mortician: William Bludworth
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: This is an understatement.
  • Daylight Horror: To drive home the point that death waits for nobody and could strike at any moment, a lot of the deaths occur during the middle of the day, when the characters are doing mundane activities. The disaster that open each movie even alternates between night and day, with those of 2, 4 and 5 (a prequel to 1, meaning it still fits the pattern) taking place during the day.
  • Death Song: A staple of the series; Death loves music.
    And the Colorado rocky mountain high, I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky.
    Talking to myself all the way to the station / Pictures in my head of the final destination
    I'm on the Highway to Hell.
    There is someone... walking behind you... turn around, look at me.
    It's your final hour.
    Dust in the wind...
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Again, Death.
  • Disaster Dominoes
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu
  • Downer Ending: Every movie save the second one ends with the protagonists dead or in danger of dying.
  • Driven to Suicide: Defied. You don't die until Death decides you die.
  • Enemies with Death
  • Every Car Is a Pinto:
    • The explosion of the plane is a bit too spectacular, really. Not to mention the car crash at the beginning of the second movie, where every car blows up.
    • Subverted at the same time with Evan Lewis' original death in the same scene. He actually rams into a rig's gas tank, but his car doesn't explode; he remains trapped in the carriage of his car, screaming as he is burning to death.
    • Averted with the drive-through collision in film #3, probably because an explosion would've obscured the fan-blade-to-the-head manner of the resulting death.
    • In the car crash in the second movie, there is a Ford Pinto, driven by Nora and Tim.
    • Fourth movie. Race track. Full stop.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: This is how Death gets you, who can use every implement imaginable in his task.
  • Failed a Spot Check: A number of deaths in the series are by things you would think the person would notice. For example, Tod and Valerie's deaths in the first movie, Tod somehow fails to notice the blue waternote  that's practically flooding the bathroom by the time he slips, and Valerie doesn't notice the vodka practically gushing out of the crack in her mug?
  • Failsafe Failure:
    • The majority of deaths in the series are assisted or directly caused by electric and mechanical systems failing to a ridiculous degree. Computers will start fires, ceiling fans will not support their own weight, and if that's not enough, wait until any modern construction is placed under stress (an explosion, a large number of people, being activated in the first place, etc.). Death must have killed off all the actual engineers a while ago.
    • Lampshaded in part 5.
    "There were five fail safe measures that all had to fail for that machine to do what it did. Five."
  • Failure Is the Only Option
  • Fanservice: Subverted in the third film with the tanning bed scene. Yes, that scene.
    • Subverted again in the fourth film with the mom who was victim to an Eye Scream.
    • Played straight in part 2 with the biker who flashes Dano.
    • Played straight again in part 5 with Olivia.
    "They're called tits."
  • Foreshadowing: Often happens about the deaths, for example, in the first movie, a skeleton figurine hanging in a noose is among the toys scattered about Tod's room. He is later strangled in his bathtub.
    • This film series and Expanded Universe is all about the foreshadowing. Anything can be a reference to how someone is going to die. Fans make it a game to try and find all the foreshadowing in later viewings.
    • The fourth film takes this to extremes. As if the commercials weren't bad enough Nick has brief images depicting how a character will die just moments before their death.
    • Also appears in Part 5. However, the characters don't ever seem to notice until it's too late.
    • A plot point in Part 3; photographs taken of the various characters show the way that they'll end up dying.
    • An important plot point in part 5 is that Sam wants to take an internship in Paris; it's a blatant clue that the film is a prequel and will end with Flight 180. Not to mention that the restaurant where Sam's internship was to take place is the same one Alex, Clear and Carter go to in Paris at the end of the first film.
    • A few more subtle hints that part 5 was a prequel — there are a series of references in the opening scene that place the movie firmly in the late 1990s, such as the comparison of Olivia to Lisa Loeb, the music Molly is listening to in her car on the way in, and the fact that not only are the vehicles (and other technology) about a decade old, but the style of New York license plates on the cars was discontinued in 2001.
  • For the Evulz: The only adequate explanation for why Death kills survivors so horribly. This is even offered as an explanation in the novelization of the third film, where Wendy also surmises that the reason why people are rarely ever killed while alone is because Death likes having an audience.
  • Gorn: Some of the fans seem to like the characters getting killed off a little too much. Then again, later sequels show that blood and guts seem to be the point of the series now. While this is true of Part 3 and 4, the gore level is toned down a bit in Part 5.
    • The Final Destination 2 DVD even has a feature that allows you to interrupt the film at every death and view a brief vignette on how the effects were accomplished.
  • The Grim Reaper: The antagonist in both the films and books. Unusually, Death is presented as what can only be described as a "force" rather than as a person (although WMG has sprung up in relation to Tony Todd's character about this). "It" is usually seen as wind, though the other elements like to get in on the action too; generally speaking, water works to fake out the audience, sometimes teaming up with its old friend electricity, whilst wind, fire and earth lay the real Disaster Dominoes.
  • Homicide Machines: Just. About. Everything.
  • Hope Spot: Done several times to the survivors in the films. Notable examples:
    • In the second film, Kat is nearly speared through the head in a car accident but is saved by less than an inch of space. She looks safe and is being rescued by an emergency crew when they accidentally trigger her air bag, forcing her right into the same spike.
    • In the 5th film, Olivia manages to get out of the head clutch of a malfunctioning LASIK machine as the main characters and doctors run in to help. Her eye is fried, but there is no apparent danger to her...but then she takes a step onto a glass eye of a teddy bear that she was holding during the procedure for comfort, that had been ripped off accidentally and fallen near a large window. She trips on it, and the rest is history.
    • The 5th film does a similar dance with Isaac, who is skewered by acupuncture needles and then nearly burned alive, but manages to get himself into a relatively safe position. Just as he starts to relax, a Buddha statue falls on his head.
  • Idiot Ball: A lot of the deaths are set up by the characters walking into/under/through hazardous situations, not watching their backs, etc., which ruins the suspense a bit when the viewer knows a death is obviously coming.
  • I Lied:
    • Death seems to like faking the survivors out right before their actual death scenes.
    • Carter in the original, Evan and Tim in the second, Ian and Lewis in the third, Andy in the fourth and Isaac in the fifth.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • Averted in Final Destination when both an infant AND a mentally handicapped individual die in the plane crash/explosion, even when one of the characters declares that the plane can't possibly crash due to this trope:
    [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.
    [they see a mental patient in the front row]
    George: A really fucked up God.
    • The trope was supposed to be averted in Final Destination 2. Tim was originally going to be a little kid but the director wanted to keep the movie "fun" and thus bumped up his age to 15 so we wouldn't be subjected to seeing a little kid being splattered by a falling pane of glass. Although another younger kid is decapitated by an exploding barbecue in the final scene.
    • Played straight in Final Destination 3 when a group of young boys try to bluff their way onto the roller coaster, but are kicked off by the carnival staff for not being tall enough to ride it. Thus, the boys avoid dying in the crash, without any need for psychic visions to warn them away.
    • Played straight in The Final Destination. One of the victims is a mother of two and her kids are seen escaping the accident at the start while she gets separated and killed off.
  • Invincible Villain: The movies teeter back and forth as to whether the heroes can actually win, but this theme consistently shows up in every entry. They're explicitly fighting Death, a presumably eternal force of nature. Every plan the heroes have made involves evading or hiding from Death and have only occasionally been successful and temporarily at that; destroying or defeating it for good is never presented as an option.
  • Kill 'em All: In most of the movies, all the protagonists eventually die.
  • Large Ham: William Bludworth. And, in a rare silent example, Death itself. The ol' Reaper sure likes to kill people in unneedingly funny, overly dramatic, and drawn out ways.
  • Made of Explodium: A lot of structures and vehicles seem to inexplicably explode. Sure, there are accelerants often involved, but nowhere near the amount that would be needed to, say, blow up a house, or even an apartment.
  • Made of Plasticine: The higher the number of the sequel, the more this applies to the characters. Fans finally had enough when the fourth film had a character pushed through a fence by a flying gas canister and gets diced. The fifth film finally takes it back several notches.
  • Meaningful Background Event
  • Meaningful Name: William Bludworth, who knows a lot more than he lets on about everything going on. Surprisingly, he seems to be a creepy guide of sorts.
  • Necro Non Sequitur: The entire premise of the series.
  • The Plan: Death does this. And boy, it is a BIG ONE! Brace yourselves...
    1. Death targets Sam (from Final Destination 5, which is a prequel to the first movie) and Sam and his friends escape. Death, however, had planned for just such a thing to happen and after Candice (a friend of Sam) dies, her boyfriend Peter blames Molly, who survived in the original vision and goes after her; when Sam kills him, (after everyone else except Nathan, Peter, Sam and Molly are dead) Molly escapes Death, thus putting her on the list. So... guess where she and Sam go? Yep! Flight 180. Death later targets them there and blows up the plane.
    2. Alex Browning, from the FIRST Final Destination, sees this vision, panics and gets himself and his friends off. Death folds the new humans into another plan, and starts killing them off, even catching the last ones months later and a continent away.
    3. As the people in the first film die off one by one, the people from Final Destination 2 witness their deaths (from offscreen) and they are mentioned in Final Destination 2. As it turns out, by witnessing the events of Final Destination meant that the people (from Final Destination 2) escaped their actual deaths and were targeted on Route 23. Again, Kimberly, the protagonist, panics and gets them all off. Once again, Death has planned for this, goes backwards down the line and kills them all of, including Clear Rivers, the only survivor from Final Destination 1.
  • Primal Fear: This film series is built around the fear of being hunted down by the Grim Reaper until he catches up to those who have escaped it and kills them in elaborate, agonizing ways. The inevitability of death is really emphasized because in this series, Death always wins and the protagonists' efforts to cheat it are entirely pointless in the end.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right
  • Prophetic Fallacy: The opening premonitions, especially Kimberly's and Nick's series of secondary visions in the second and fourth films.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Clear gets some limited precognition throughout the first film (but not in the 2nd, strangely), despite not being involved with the first premonition. In addition, anyone can see signs if they pay attention, most notably Rory and Kat from the second film.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: As the list of unusual deaths on the other wiki shows, people sometimes do die in incredibly bizarre circumstances, such as being killed by an airborne fire hydrant when a car struck the hydrant and the water pressure propelled it "like a bullet". Some people even died in incredibly similar circumstances to the films, like decapitation by elevator or getting their insides sucked out by a pool drain.
  • Rube Goldberg Device
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: And it goes off without a hitch almost every single time. Justified in that it is planned by Death and he undoubtedly had quite a lot of practice in setting these things up.
  • Scary Black Man: William Bluworth
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Many of the deaths are caused from this trope. The biggest offenders are Nora and Tim from the second film.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each film makes the death sequences more elaborate. Fans had had enough by the fourth movie, though, so it was toned down for the fifth.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Inverted. One protagonist's foreknowledge allows him or her and a group of friends to escape some kind of fatal accident. The rest of each movie is about death trying to fix this event that "went wrong".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: So much.
  • Spiritual Successor: 1000 Ways to Die. More or less with The Omen, only with Death instead of The Antichrist doing the weird deaths.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Cars, barbeques, apartments, computers, houses, malls...
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: The series follows this trope all the time, with only varying times between the near-miss and the death blow.
    • In Final Destination 2, Evan narrowly escapes an explosion in his apartment. In an effort to make the escape ladder drop, he trips but lands on his feet. Proclaiming his luck, he then slips on a pile of spaghetti he threw out the window earlier, just as the ladder decides to fall. Amazingly it stops short right above his eye, giving him a moment to sigh in relief... but then.
    • Final Destination 3 had the football player narrowly avoid having his head cut off by ornamental scimitars while on a weight machine. Exuberant, he does another rep on the machine, not realizing that the scimitars have frayed the cables, resulting in them snapping and crushing his head between the weights. Who would design a machine like that anyway?
  • Tempting Fate: It's best to just shut up after a brush with death.
    Carter (Part 1): "I'm never going to die."
    Carter (Part 1): (at the end) "So who's next?"
    Evan Lewis (Part 2): "Jesus Christ. (chuckle)"
    Lewis (Part 3): "Whoo! What I tell you, Kevin, huh? Fuck death! Baby, I just win! That's all I know how to do, Kevin! I just win!"
    Ian Mckinley (Part 3): "It skipped me. For me, it is over. I'm not dying. I'm not dying!"
    Ashlyn Halperin (Part 3): "A few more degrees won't hurt."
    Isaac (Part 5): After avoiding death by needles AND fire in a Chinese Massage Parlour he lets out an audible "Phew!" - Cue heavy Buddha Statue falling from above.
  • Time Skip: All five endings.
  • Trainwreck Episode: Every story begins with a premonition of an elaborate disaster unfolding around the protagonists.
  • Ultimate Evil: Death is never seen, only appearing as wind or other subtle forces to set things in motion.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Many of the death scenes are partially based on actual events or have alluded to said events. However, they're played up and fictionalized for the film. In other words, they should rename 1000 Ways to Die to Final Destination: The Series.
  • Wild Mass Guessing: A popular theory, also supported by Word of God (James Wong) is that there is some other force out there trying to prevent Death from killing these people. This secondary force could be where the premonitions possibly come from, including the warning signs. Another possible theories is that Death is sending the visions because it likes to see how long survivors can last, as it challenges itself to come up with increasingly convoluted, horrific ways of trying to kill them. A theory supported by Roger Ebert is that the force characters reefer to as "Death" or "Fate" is actually God himself. Yet another theory is that people managing to cheat Death is purely a flaw in the design of the universe or a sensitivity certain people possess, making them able to “read” Death’s plans.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Death always wins, regardless of what those on Death's list do to spite it. Given that nobody lives forever, no survivor can elude Death indefinitely. There is only one proven way for a survivor to escape the list which is to kill someone else and take their lifespan- but this gives Death its desired victim anyway and fills the rift in it's design.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Done very frequently by Death when an intended method of execution for its victim fails.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Averted. There's a baby onboard the plane that Death blows up in the first movie. Then he crushes a young teenage kid under a plate glass window in the sequel. This is the Grim Reaper we're talking about after all, you really think he'd have any more sympathy for kids than adults?.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The premise of this film series. Even when the premonitions are avoided, most (and all in the long run) of the characters get their due death. A subversion occurs in the comic books: The Reveal in one of the comic books is that the main character is the reincarnation of the goddess of fate, and that she was used by death to enter our world, which might explain how the protagonists of the movies get the premonitions in the first place.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive
  • Your Days Are Numbered
  • Your Head A Splode
    • Lewis (Part 3)
    • Nadia "Have you all lost your fucking minds?" (Part 4)
    • Isaac (Part 5)

    Final Destination 
  • Asshole Victim: Carter, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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'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.
  • 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. Neither of these omens were used in any of the sequels.
  • Final Girl: Clear considering Alex's fate.
  • Focus Group Ending: The original ending featured a somewhat happy ending. The hero sleeps with his love interest, gets her pregnant, then dies. The movie closes on the 2 survivors standing by his grave a year later. Test audiences hated it and said they wanted more Rube Goldberg deathtraps. Ironically, the second film revolved around that plot point, just with different players involved.
  • Jammed Seatbelts: A car stalled on train tracks has one seatbelt jam, trapping the occupant 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 midrant.
  • Look Both Ways: Terry steps out right in front of a speeding (and oddly silent) bus without even looking once.
  • Meaningful Name: "Tod" means "Death" in German. Additionally, all the main characters share names with well-known horror directors.
  • 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.
  • Off with His Head!: Billy Hitchcock. Well, half of it, anyway.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, a song playing in Carter's song 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.