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Film / Final Destination

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And you thought Life was a bitch.
"It's just that I've seen this before...a lucky few survive a disaster and then one by one, Death comes for them all."
Bludworth the Coroner, Final Destination 5

Final Destination is a series of horror films in the Final Destination franchise.

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.



The Final Destination series examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Though, due to the nature of the series and the genre, this is to be expected. To be more precise, not a single "marked" person in the movies ultimately cheats Death. In fact, the only characters to even survive to the end of their movies are Alex, Clear, Kimberly, and Thomas — and Alex is killed off-screen between the first and second films, Clear dies in the second film, and Kimberly and Thomas were confirmed dead via Word of God, apparently killed in some bizarre woodchipper accident.
  • 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".
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  • Arc Number: 180 is the number of the flight that ended in the second massacre and has been an extremely bad omen ever since; The Number of the Beast 666 also tends to show up (in one form or another) before something horrible happens.
  • 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 it's revenge, by killing them off in excruciating and painful ways.
  • Big Good: Word of God has implied that there's a second force that sends the premonitions and works against Death. The Final Destination implies that it's Death toying with them, but this is debatable, as the fifth film seems to ignore this and the fourth was the first film in the series to have none of the original creators (James Wong, Glen Morgan, and Jeffrey Reddick) involved.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Crapsack World: Not too much different from our own... aside from the fact that Death is apparently a sentient, unstoppable, malevolent force of nature that frequently kills scores of random, fairly innocent, and often young people in horrifically violent and painful ways just For the Evulz.
  • Creepy Mortician: William Bludworth, who somehow has a knowledge of Death's design and often serves as the Exposition Fairy for the protagonists. Being played by Tony Todd doesn't hurt with the creepiness.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The entire series is built upon this trope.
  • 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.
    John Denver: And the Colorado rocky mountain high, I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky.
    Nine Inch Nails: Talking to myself all the way to the station / Pictures in my head of the final destination
    AC/DC: I'm on the Highway to Hell.
    The Vogues: There is someone... walking behind you... turn around, look at me.
    Shinedown: It's your final hour.
    Kansas: Dust in the wind...
  • Downer Ending: Every movie save the second one ends with the protagonists dead or in danger of dying and even then the protagonists of the second one had a Bus Crash.
  • Dwindling Party: Happens in every movie in the series.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: And succeeding. If Death wants someone to die, it can and will throw everything and the kitchen sink at them - and chances are, it'll be the kitchen sink that does the job.
  • 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?
    • A particularly egregious example is the screw that lands on the balance beam in the fifth movie, which somehow manages to go unnoticed not only by Candice, her coaches and Peter, but also by the gymnast who uses it next and ultimately steps on it.
    • While it's conceivable that the noise from the equipment Ian is using would drown out the sound of the forklift, it's hard to picture what would prevent anyone from smelling the bleach from the bottles it crushes under its wheels.
  • 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.
  • Four Is Death/Number of the Beast: The gate that the doomed Flight 180 departs from is 46 in Final Destination 1. Sam Lawton's ticket in 5 says the gate is number H6.
  • 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.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: A favorite of Death; this technique of killing people started appearing in film No. 2.
  • Happy Ending Override: It's a splatter film series where every movie ends with a Downer Ending in which Death gruesomely murders the protagonists, usually after a fake-out happy ending. The two leads of Final Destination 2 are the only ones to get an unambiguous happy ending, as being killed and then revived in time seems to get them off of Death's list. And yet deleted scenes from the third movie show newspaper clippings revealing that they died in a freak accident sometime in between movies.
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A personal favorite Death tactic from the second film on.
  • 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of the personal classic ways of dying in the series; at least one Death scene in each film involves a fire, and this includes the opening plane explosion in the first film.
  • 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 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 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 premise of the series. When Death claims someone, it usually picks a pretty convoluted and sadistic way to do so, and it doesn't give a single damn about things like the laws of physics, mechanics, probability or others. If Death wants you dead, it will find a way to kill you.
  • No OSHA Compliance: ANYWHERE. If there's a chance to put something sharp/heavy/flammable/otherwise hazardous on a shaky or unstable surface, you can bet your ass they will.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the Death Classics; this appears in 1, 2 and 4.
  • 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 while Nathan is killed after the landing gear crushes him to death.
    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.
  • Politically Correct Villain: Surprisingly, Death itself thinks racism is bad. When a guy on its list tries to burn a cross on a black guy's front porch in the fourth film, Death engineers things so that the racist will be set on fire himself and dragged behind his own car while the song "Why can't we be friends" plays on the radio. At the same time, Death is an entity which routinely kills off people in a Cruel and Unusual Death, including children.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: Have you SEEN a death which isn't convoluted and reliant on the prospect of every other circumstance being at the perfect place at the perfect time?
  • 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".
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story/Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Death wins. It always wins. By Word of God, every protagonist involved with a "premonition" dies anyway, making their survival of the accident pointless. Also, it's implied that every one of the characters' attempts to cheat Death was the grand design from very beginning.
  • Shout-Out: Alex has a poster for Pecker in his room.
  • Squashed Flat: This shows up a few times, such as crushing Tim in 2 and Nathan in 5.
  • Survivor Guilt: Many of the characters experience this, particularly when it is the person's significant other, family member, or close friend who has died. It is especially bad for the visionaries, who not only have to witness many people dying in the disasters twice but also struggle with repeated failures to save the lives of their fellow survivors afterward.
  • 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?" (cue big sign swinging down and smashing him as the movie ends)
    Evan Lewis (Part 2): "Jesus Christ. (chuckle)"(this was to the fire escape ladder stopping halfway down; it finishes the drop and lands in his eyes)
    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! Aggggggggghhh-" (Head gets squashed between two weights that were cut loose by a sword ornament.)
    Ian Mckinley (Part 3): "It skipped me. For me, it is over. I'm not dying. I'm not dying!" (he gets squashed by a crane)
    Ashlyn Halperin (Part 3): "A few more degrees won't hurt." (They get trapped in their tanning beds and burn alive)
    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.
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Minor characters caught up in the mass-casualty events that kick off each movie's story often aren't actually shown dying, even though the carnage inflicted upon unnamed bystanders ought to be just as shocking as any other deaths. Justified in that these events play out in visions, which can plausibly be expected to concentrate on people whom the character experiencing the vision knows personally.
  • Would Hurt a Child: 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?
  • 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 its design.
  • Your Head Asplode: One of the recurring Death tactics in both the premonitions and real life is to have some object smash or crush someone's head off their body; examples are Lewis in 3, and Issac in 5.

"You all just be careful now."

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