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Film / Final Destination 2

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"Look I know this sounds crazy, but you guys all heard about Flight 180 right? The kid who got off the plane? What happened a year ago today? ...My premonition was just like his."

Final Destination 2 is the second film in the Final Destination series, released in 2003.

A year after the Flight 180 explosion, Kimberly and her friends are on spring break when she receives a premonition of a massive car pile-up on the highway which kills them all. She manages to avert the fates of several people, but once again Death returns to hunt them down.

This film provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Rory is killed when a barb wire fence is sent flying by a nearby explosion. A barb wire fence doesn't even come close to having enough mass to be able to be thrown by a shockwave.
    • In a case that's lampshaded in the behind the scenes material, the logs falling off the truck and bouncing. When they originally filmed it, the logs just fell onto the road and rolled off it.
  • Ascended Extra: A meta example, as James Kirk (the actor playing Tim Carpenter) was an extra in Final Destination who was wearing the same jersey as Carter Horton.
  • Black Comedy: At the end, the two surviving characters are having a barbecue with a family they met earlier, when all of a sudden the mother mentions one of the victims having saved her son's life earlier in the film. As if on cue, the barbecue the son is checking on explodes, and his severed arm lands on the mom's plate. Roll credits.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. Eugene is tied with Clear as the last major character (not counting the kid at the end) to die, while the Latina Isabella was never in any danger at all.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • One year after the Flight 180 disaster, Clear is, emotionally, little more than an Empty Shell. She may still be breathing, but as Kimberly points out, she isn't really alive.
    • Death was certainly trying to do this to Kimberly as well.
  • Broken Bird: Clear, a major returning character from the previous film, is shown to be... well, badly shaken from the deaths she witnessed and the narrow escapes she had.
  • Bus Crash:
    • Alex Browning, whose death was not only off screen, but the most unexciting death in the series. Admittedly, however, since Devon Sawa had walked out between the first and second films over payment issues, they had no choice but to kill him off without showing it, since a death hadn't been filmed.
    • Clear too. Apparently she was supposed to have died on the train at the end of the third film, but scheduling conflicts that came to light during the second film made that impossible, hence the sudden rapidity of her death.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Lightly played with in Evan.
    • When Kimberly is driving her SUV down the highway (during her premonition of the pileup), she winds up alongside Evan, in his flashy sports car. Evan immediately notices Kimberly and Shaina, and tries to get their attention by revving his car. He gives the two beautiful girls a flirtatious smile, which Kimberly and her friends find more something to laugh at than be impressed by.
    • Later, in his apartment, Evan gets two phone calls from women who make it painfully obvious that they only became interested in him when they heard he won the lottery.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway:
    • Outside of the premise, halfway through, it's revealed that the survivors of the highway accident also cheated death when the deaths of the previous film's survivors led to them not reaching their own.
    • Subverted by Kimberly in the movie itself. She is pulled away from a speeding truck just moments after her own premonition, and later only dies temporarily from drowning before being saved and revived. note 
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Kat Jennings is a nervous workaholic who smokes even when on the treadmill. When she's stuck in her car due to some logs, she lights up a cigarillo as she's waiting to be rescued.
  • Continuity Nod: The Flight 180 disaster of the first movie has made it's way into the public eye as an infamous and bizarre mystery.
  • Contrived Coincidence: All of the survivors in the pileup cheated death in some way due to the main characters' deaths in the first film. The pileup at the beginning was Death's attempts to get them all at once.
    • After witnessing Nora get decapitated by an elevator, Eugene, traumatized and freaking the hell out, grabs Burke's service revolver right out of his holster points it to his own head, intent on taking himself out before Death can get to him. Since it's not his turn yet, all six bullets turn out to be duds. Lampshaded immediately after.
      Rory: Maybe they're all duds.
      Burke: Six in a row?! Never. That's impossible!
    • This is made even clearer with the events of Final Destination 5, which reveals that the events of 5, 1 and 2 were all planned by Death. Molly escaped her death on the North Bay Bridge, so that she could survive to be attacked by Nathan in the kitchen. However, despite her apparent "cheating" of death there, she was meant to survive that, just like all her friends were meant to survive the bridge so that the events of 5 could play out... and get Molly and Sam onto Flight 180. Death then gives Alex the premonition so he and his friends can escape and Sam and Molly die on the plane and Death picks off the survivors of Flight 180, who were meant to escape the plane so that the survivors of the Route 23 pile-up could have escaped earlier unplanned deaths and the subsequent pile up to be in the right place at the right time throughout the events of Final Destination 2 to die as foretold and planned by Death.
  • Cool Big Sis: the first half of the movie focuses on Clear hating herself for her not being able to save Alex from his death. She even tells Kimberly, "This is what happened when I was responsible for Alex." You can sense the bond she had with him, like he was her little bro. Although their - Kimberly and Clear's - first meeting was rocky and not the best, Clear ends up helping Kimberly and bonds with her too, as though she's a little sis to her, until Clear gets killed in a hospital tank explosion. Ali Larter is also older than A.J. Cook by 2 years. Even before they fought, she did say, "If you're lucky you'll end up in here with me." A dark statement such as that does show Clear does have a desire to bond and grieve with a new friend, and also, that she does have a little bit of hope left of defeating death, subconsciously.
    • In fact, Clear was Alex's Love Interest in the first film, and it was heavily implied they got together at some point after the movie, so losing him would've hit her especially hard.
  • Dangerously Loaded Cargo: The pileup on Route 23 is caused by a chain on a logging truck failing, sending massive logs flying into the cars behind it.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film is quite possibly the darkest in the series until the fifth one rolled out. Other than the primarily adult cast, the film puts the plot above the gore (as opposed to the other way around) with the whole drama of the cast being put into Death's List not only because of the Road 23 pileup but because they have cheated their deaths a year before at the expense of the Flight 180 survivors.
  • Death by Looking Up: Tim looks up just in time to see a large window literally smash him into a bloody mess.
  • Death of a Child:
    • 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 blown to smithereens by an exploding barbecue in the final scene.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The Wiki-aptly named "Truck from Hell". Specifically, near the end of Kimberly's premonition, it's shown that Kimberly and her friends would have survived the pileup in the premonition had an ominous-looking truck don't abruptly burst through the flames, smash through Evan's car, and then Kimberly's. If you pay attention, this truck is also the same one that smashes through Kimberly's car after she pulls it over, taking her friends with it. There's no explanation why it does so, though closer inspection reveals that the truck has no driver.
  • Driven to Suicide: Attempted. Eugene tries to kill himself using a policeman's gun so he can go out on his own terms and not give Death the satisfaction. Since his turn has not yet arrived, all the bullets turn out to be duds.
  • Drunk Driver: In the beginning sequence, the driver of a beer truck is seen taking a pull from a bottle of beer shortly before everything goes to hell. It was not the triggering factor in the huge pileup, but it may have been a contributing factor.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: When a frustrated Kat decides to go outside to smoke a cigarette, Thomas warns her that it isn't safe. Kat jokingly replies, "So? Nora's gotta bite it before me anyhow." Thomas gives her a sideways look, and Kat says, "Ah, you people have no sense of humor!"
  • Dull Surprise: Kimberly didn't seem all that upset when Rory was sliced up by wires, other than having a little bit of nausea. Yet the random civilians around her were shouting or screaming "OH MY GOD!"
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Kimberly has the honor of being the only protagonist to escape death's list — by killing herself and getting revived at a nearby hospital... but then eventually subverted: the DVD extras for the third movie (if one accepts them as canon) reveal that she and Officer Burke were sucked into a wood chipper before the end of the third movie.
    • Again this might be the first where the main characters don't die later on.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: While plenty of cars, bikes, trucks and other automobiles explode during the premonition sequence, this trope is lampshaded by the fact that one of the cars involved - specifically the one driven by Nora and Tim - actually is a Ford Pinto!
  • Evil Elevator: A particularly malevolent example.
  • Eye Scream: "Shit, I'm lucky!" Just not lucky enough to avoid getting a fire escape to the eye.
  • Fanservice: A biker girl on the highway note  flashes Dano.
  • Final Girl: Kimberly. Kind of downplayed though, since Thomas is also with her and gets involved in the Death's List just as equally. It's just that Kimberly is the one who finally puts an end on the deaths once and for all.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Partway through it's revealed that all the Road 23 survivors had cheated death before, all due to the deaths of the Flight 180 survivors in the first film. It's implied that the inciting incident of this film was an attempt to kill them all off in one go.
    • Kat was on a bus to a business meeting in Pennsylvania, when the vehicle hit Terry, preventing her from staying in a hotel where a gas leak suffocated all the guests during the night.
    • Rory was in Paris when he witnessed Carter get splattered by a falling sign. He was so shaken that he went home instead of the movies, avoiding a theatre that collapsed that night, killing everyone inside.
    • Eugene was a substitute teacher filling in for Ms. Lewton, so he was elsewhere when his own sub was stabbed to death by a student.
    • Burke had to clean up the remains of Billy, so he avoided the shootout that took his partner's life.
    • Kimberly was distracted by a news report about Tod's supposed suicide, so she wasn't with her mother when she was mugged and killed.
  • Genre Savvy: Both Death and Clear take a huge gulp of this. Clear knows that Death is aware that she can see the signs - she saw it at the end of the first film, which allowed Carter to save Alex, and Death knows that she knows that it knows. When the time does come for Clear to leave, she manages to avoid one death (by canoe, which would have knocked out out of a window into a substation which would have exploded) and Death has to cheat, by giving her the signs too late to avoid to finally get rid of her.
  • Grilling Pyrotechnics: Used as a method of death and a final Jump Scare.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Rory.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: After the car crash, Kat is badly shaken and in pain, but she still tells Clear to go find Isabella rather than stay with her. Kat bravely insists that she'll be fine, even though she's obviously scared out of her mind.
  • Hollywood Psych: Clear would not be locked in a padded room 24/7, even if she admitted herself and made specific requirements, since she's not exhibiting violent tendencies and seems otherwise perfectly sane and capable. Keeping her there would be a drain on resources for anyone who really needed treatment. Granted, telling the story that she's the Sole Survivor of Flight 180 and that death is hunting her down might've had something to do with it. Even so, they wouldn't allow her to have red string, pins and newspaper clippings for her String Theory, which would only be feeding into her obsession and present a way for her to potentially harm herself.
  • Hope Spot:
    • 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.
    • When Isabella gives birth, Kimberly and Thomas (later joined by Clear) are hugging and celebrating, believing that they have beaten Death. We are even shown Eugene being saved from dying of suffocation after his defibrillator that was pulled out goes into emergency mode, making him able to breathe again. However, it turns out that Isabella was never going to die in the highway pileup in the first place, so she was never on Death's list, and the "new life" of her baby could not save the survivors. Eugene and Clear end up dying after Clear opens the door to Eugene's hospital room, accidentally pulling a plug out, creating a spark that ignites the oxygen and causes the whole room to explode.
    • When Kimberly is resuscitated after her attempted suicide, the film presents this as Kimberly gaining "new life," so she and Thomas have finally escaped Death. However, if one accepts that the newspaper article seen in an alternate ending of the third film is canonical (as producer Craig Perry said it is), then sometime after the second movie, Kimberly and Thomas not only did die, but they died in a particularly gruesome way, by accidentally falling into a woodchipper.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kimberly criticizes a truck driver for drinking and driving (in a truck saying "Drink responsibly" no less), sarcastically, quipping "That's real responsible." Then she realizes she's been driving without her seatbelt on the whole time.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kat Jennings.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Kimberly has this reaction after Bludworth warns her to "follow the signs".
  • Ironic Last Words: After spending most of her time in the film as a Death Seeker, Nora's last words upon finally faced with death are, "I don't wanna die!"
  • Kick the Dog: After he has a breakdown when he sees Nora decapitated, Eugene snags Thomas' gun and tries to kill himself with it, preferring that to whatever Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts scenario is planned out for him. Rather than just let him die on his own terms before it kills the others, Death ensures that all six of the bullets are duds so that it could kill him later by puncturing his lung, dismantling his life support and incinerating him in a fiery explosion.
  • Living Is More than Surviving: Clear's only means of staying alive is staying locked in a white padded room 24/7 with nothing to do but hide from death. After bitterly and selfishly dismissing everyone else's lives, Kimberly calls her a coward and says she might as well already be dead.
    Kim: Yeah, but you beat it.
    Clear: Take a look around? What did I beat, Kimberly?
  • Made of Explodium: Nearly every vehicle in the opening scene just blows up on impact for no reason at all.
  • Missing Mom: Kimberly's mother was killed in a robbery that she herself personally saw as a girl.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • No studio working with A. J. Cook is likely to resist the temptation to show off her good looks. Although Kimberly is dressed fairly conservatively for most of the film, she does appear onscreen in a tank top or shoulder-baring dress. In the hospital scene near the end, there is a brief shot of Kimberly in her bra before the bed cover is pulled over her.
    • Keegan Connor Tracy (Kat) appears on screen in workout clothes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Kim and Burke are the only leads in the series to be responsible for the deaths of others, albeit inadvertently.
    • Telling Tim and Nora about the pigeons. See Too Dumb to Live below.
    • Burke calling Nora to tell her that a man with hooks will kill her. Nora is shocked by the phone ringing and drops it, bending over to pick it up... causing her hair to get caught in the hooks, leading to her death.
    • Kim not remembering that Isabella survived the vision, leading to Kat, Rory, Eugene, and Clear dying due to a wild goose chase.
  • Off with His Head!: Nora, with an elevator. Whether by coincidence or by intent, her manner of death is very similar to a scene in the 1983 Dutch film De Lift.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the final scene, when Kim and Burke hear that a boy in their company cheated death because Rory intervened. They look at each other with a striking expression.
  • Our Slashers Are Different: Aside from the basic premise, this movie played this twice in separate ways: All of the protagonists previously survived events on their lives that were directly or tangentially related to the Flight 180 explosion in the first film. E.g. Eugene avoided getting stabbed to death by a student because he was subbing elsewhere for Ms Lewton, who was killed in the events of the first film, and Kimberly was watching a news report about Todd's suicide that prevented her from being with her mother when she was killed in a botched robbery. Then Kimberly appears to circumvent it altogether by dying and then being revived. However, this was ignored by the sequels, which show that she died offscreen between the sequels.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Tim gets offed by Death before his mom, Nora, does. This is so traumatic to Nora enough as she had lost her husband years before as well that she decides if Death wants to take her, so be it. (Un)fortunately, she gets her wish not too long afterward.
  • Pesky Pigeons: Kimberly tries to warn Tim that some may of these may be involved in his death; however, Tim interprets this to mean he should try to chase the pigeons away. They then fly into a construction area and cause the workers to drop a giant pane of glass that splatters him.
  • Porn Stash: Referenced by Rory to Kim. He asks her to hide it if he dies, along with all the other stuff that would "break his mother's heart."
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: Clear, who has survived by institutionalizing herself, admits that she hasn't actually won, just hidden so well that Death can't get to her at present. She's dead in two days once she goes outside.
  • Red Herring: "Dr. Kalarjian is going to kill Isabella!". No, Kimberly, she won't. She'll be the one who prevent you from dying.
  • Resurrection Gambit: Kimberley's final plan to try and defeat death is that she drives herself into the lake, then is resurrected via CPR, thus resetting Death's list and buying everyone more time. It works in the film itself, but bonus materials for Final Destination 3 reveals that she died later by being dragged into a wood chipper.
  • Revenge Myopia: If Tod hadn't died in such a bizarre manner in the first film, then Kimberly wouldn't have paused to listen to a news report about it, and she would have died with her mother during the carjacking. Kimberly cheated Death, but only because of Death's own actions. However, because Death can't, or won't, blame itself, it chooses to take revenge on Kimberly, as if it was her fault that Death's sadistic killing of Tod made it possible for her to escape her own murder. The same goes for Kat, Eugene, Thomas, and Rory, all of whom escaped Death's design only because of the deaths of Terry, Ms. Lewton, Billy, and Carter in the first film.
  • Revival Loophole: Standard example, where the visionary kills herself only to be revived, hence receiving a new life untainted by Death.
  • Rewatch Bonus: When you look at the premonition scene again, you realize that Isabella's van is seen swerving around, but not crashing.
  • Scary Black Man: Eugene is a perfect subversion. The first time we see him, we don't get to see his skin color, but he's completely covered in a motor suit and speeding recklessly. The second time, he removes his helmet to show the big black man, complete with facial hair, bling, and a bandanna around his head. But once the movie gets beyond the first disaster, we never see Eugene with his bike again, and always with glasses and a sweater with stand-up collar. He is by far the most scared about his impending doom and freaks out about it quite badly.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Burke calls Nora to tell her that a man with hooks will kill her. Nora is shocked by the phone ringing and drops it, bending over to pick it up...causing her hair to get caught in the hooks. She panics because of this and the warning, leading to her death.
  • Ship Tease: Kimberly and Thomas, very much so.
  • Spotting the Thread: When the group are on their way to find Isabella, Eugene mentions that the pile-up isn't the first time he's cheated death. They all start to share their own experiences, and when Kat mentions being on a bus that 'splattered some girl all over the road' in Mt. Abraham they realise that everyone who survived the pile-up had narrowly avoiding dying the previous year due to the deaths of the survivors of Flight 180.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Kimberly, mainly because it just didn't work.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Clear Rivers, and to a lesser extent, Alex Browning.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: 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 only just a moment.
  • Token Minority: Eugene and Isabella.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tim and Nora exit the dentist's office, with Kimberly and Burke racing towards them, yelling at them to get away from the pigeons. Tim immediately sees a flock of pigeons, runs through them... and is crushed by a falling pane of glass. Really, people... the kid just had two near-death experiences. That said, he may have been chasing the pigeons away because he thought that were going to cause his death, not knowing he was causing them to do so. Plus, he was still under the influence of nitrous oxide.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: Kimberly has a vision of someone with bloody hands in a submerging van and realizes that Isabella was never meant to die in the pile-up. She later realizes the person in her vision was herself and immerses a van in a lake to drown herself. Kimberly is rescued by Burke and resuscitated by Kalarjian, which was her actual premonition, thus granting her new life.
  • Wham Line: When the remaining survivors are driving to go find Isabella, they begin to discuss how this wasn't the first time they've cheated death, but it's when Kat further elaborates on her experience that Clear and the others realize that the original survivors of Flight 180 caused a ripple effect, which lead to these survivors not dying when they were supposed to, and the accident on the freeway was Death's attempt at tying up loose ends.
    Kat: Okay, so last May, I was supposed to stay at this cheesy little Bed & Breakfast in Pennsylvania, right? So anyhow, there's this major gas leak that no one knows about, and all the guests suffocated during the night.
    Eugene: So what happened?
    Kat: I-I don't know, I never made it. The bus I was on splattered some girl all over the road.
    Clear: Was that in Mt. Abraham?
    Kat: Yes… How did you know?
    Clear: That bus you were on killed Terry Cheney.
  • Wham Shot: When Thomas barely saved Kimberly from a semi that then killed her friends, despite the fact she and her friends where the last to die in her premonition, it showed that death is not working in the same order as last time.
  • Worthy Opponent: Death seems to see Clear as this. According to Clear, she and Alex cheated death "a dozen times" between them and all her "escaped" deaths involved explosions. Death knows that Clear can see the signs of his approach - she did so at the end of the first film which allowed Carter to intervene and "save" Alex - and seems to respect her enough, find her worthy enough, to make it quick and relatively painless when she actually does die: the first time in this film is an attempt to knock her out of a window with a canoe into a substation box which is presumably going to explode and make it quick, and the actual time of her death is an unavoidable (albeit quick) explosion - remarkably painless.

"Only new life can defeat Death."