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When the original Final Destination opened theatrically, fans and critics alike praised it for bringing a breath of fresh air to the horror genre. The reasonably original storyline, coupled with some rather freaky deaths obviously tickled our slightly morbid taste buds! Word of mouth soon got around and the film went on to make a more than respectable $55 million at the box office. Naturally, it wasn’t long before the filmmakers milked the cash cow a little more and before long Final Destination 2 was green lighted for production. So fasten your seatbelts and prepare yourself for one horrifying ride…it may be your last.

Final Destination 2
It has been close to a year since the horrifying events of Flight 180 and the discussion surrounding it continues to linger. Were the mysterious deaths purely coincidence, or was there really a sinister force working against them? Kimberly Corman (AJ. Cook) is about to find out. Waking up one day, Kimberly decides to go on a little vacation with some of her closest friends. All of the necessities are quickly packed – clothes, drink, bedding; and copious amounts of weed! Things appear to be going perfectly well, that is, until Kimberley experiences a terrible glimpse into the future. In it she witnesses a horrific car pileup, in which herself, and her friends are killed. Before long she realises that events are repeating themselves just as she had envisioned and she moves the car across the highway onramp to try and prevent the inevitable. As expected, the pileup occurs, this time claiming an entirely different selection of people. But now, each one of those saved is being stalked by Death itself, intent on collecting the souls of those who cheated it…

Going into the movie I was somewhat sceptical as to how a second film could work. The original movie had already given us the clever back-story, so how could they think up something even more original to keep us on our toes? It wasn’t long before I realised the obvious – they couldn’t! Final Destination 2 ensures that the storyline is quickly put on the back burner and instead the focus is shifted towards the elaborately crafted death sequences. The duration of the movie sees the cast killed off in a number of different ways and it quickly becomes apparent that the gore has been taken up a notch or two. One particularly graphic sequence involves a ladder and someone’s head - it certainly isn’t the most comforting thing I’ve witnessed onscreen! The other deaths are also suitably grim with plenty of guts on display throughout. If you are vaguely squeamish or of a sensitive nature I would advise you to avoid this film at all costs! Despite the impressive executions though, Final Destination 2 triumphs more in the set-up than the deaths themselves. Going into the film you pretty much know what to expect, so the filmmakers tried to keep things fresh by throwing in a few surprises here and there. One suitably uncomfortable scene takes place in a Dentist and it’s painfully amusing to watch as things go increasingly wrong! The cleverer deaths involve multiple layers of circumstances. You regularly find yourself questioning whether half a dozen different things might kill a person, and then it might end up being one of them, all of them or none of them at all. Strangely captivating!

Final Destination 2
So how are the performances? Well, in this case ‘performances’ might be too strong a word. Nearly every member of the cast turns in a completely wooden ‘performance’ here, with the only real exception being Michael Landes as Officer Thomas Burke. Luckily though this isn’t too much of a problem. As a viewer, you aren’t really expected to care too much about the characters…if you were it wouldn’t be quite as entertaining to watch their heads roll one by one! One thing I should pickup on though is that on occasion I felt that the characters were played a little too seriously. For example one rather violent sequence has a mother uttering the words ‘I don’t want to die’, which doesn’t really sit well when you’re trying to enjoy her death! It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you see the characters begging for their lives!

So is it better than the first? I’m afraid not. Whereas the original film had a genuine sense of tension surrounding things, the second film is little more than a comical farce for the most part. The selling point of the movie is without doubt the death sequences and unfortunately they aren’t always up to scratch. Only two of the deaths are particularly clever and one of them is more of a red herring than anything else. The other deaths are more spontaneous with little prior build up; they also fail to thrill in the same way as the shocking bus crash of the first film. Another of the death sequences is edited so poorly that you can’t really tell what’s happened till a good few seconds after it has occurred. The saving grace though is the opening car pileup. The crash is suitably impressive with cars taking off and bursting into flames left right and centre. It certainly doesn’t provide a sanitized viewing experience either as you witness people burning alive and being liquidised by giant logs! Nice. The only slight disappointment with the scene is that the crash doesn’t really give much of a sense of scale. I found that the camera nearly always tended to focus on a single car crashing at a time and as such you never really got a sense of how bad the crash was. Still, a moderately entertaining hour and a half - though not one to show to the kiddies!

Once again, New Line has put together a quality transfer that even exceeds the work that they did on the original. Final Destination 2 receives a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation and the print is practically flawless. The image is crystal clear throughout with no signs of obvious grain or edge enhancement. Colours are also spot on with flesh tones perfectly reproduced. This is one of the few transfers that I have seen lately that doesn’t make use of filters, so it’s quite refreshing to get to see a transfer in all its glory! Overall, another top marks presentation from New Line!

Final Destination 2
Prepare yourselves for a highly active audio experience as New Line have put together a great soundstage to immerse yourself in. Included on the disc are both Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround and DTS ES 6.1 tracks. For starters we have the Dolby Digital track. This honestly has to be one of the best sounding 5.1 tracks ever produced as it features a huge amount of activity in the surrounds, particularly during the opening pileup sequence. If you want a reference quality disc, this almost certainly has to be it. Despite the highly active surrounds and bass, dialogue is never compromised and speech remains clear and concise throughout. Things get even better with the DTS track. You quite often find in similar releases that the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks remain almost identical - but not here. The DTS track included on Final Destination 2 triumphs in nearly every area. The experience is so much richer here with the discrete sounds feeling far more refined. Thumbs up!

This is an Infinifilm release so naturally you can expect a plethora of extra material to be included. Kicking things off is an audio commentary with Director David Ellis, Producer Craig Perry and Screenwriters Eric Bress and J Mackye Gruber. For the most part this is an entertaining commentary although somewhat surprisingly, the director doesn’t really have a great deal to say. Initially the commentary starts off as pretty informal banter. The participants begin by discussing how much bigger the sequel is than the original (they even use a woman’s breasts as an example!) After a while though the commentary settles down into more of a technical low down, with particular attention paid to how certain effects were achieved. It was genuinely quite surprising to hear how much CGI fire was used throughout the film. Overall, this is a pretty worthwhile commentary and welcome addition.

The next section of the disc is divided up into two sections. The first of these is entitled Beyond the Movie and it contains a number of short featurettes related primarily to real life events and experiments. First up is a short feature entitled The Terror Gauge. This short fourteen-minute feature looks at how our bodies respond to a film such as Final Destination 2. The feature shows three people that have been wired up to various monitoring devices; they are then subjected to the scariest parts of the movie. Looking at how some of them react here, I’m surprised more people don’t suddenly keel over in cinemas! Next we have an eighteen-minute feature entitled Cheating Death: Beyond and Back. This is a pretty well produced feature that looks at near death experiences. Interviews with those that have experienced close shaves with death are included, and it makes for pretty captivating viewing on the whole. Next is a little game entitled Choose Your Fate. The game gives you the choice of three cards and selecting one reveals a message. The messages range from things like ‘Mum Baked You An Apple Pie’ to the less fortunate ones like ‘Struck by lightning on the golf course. There goes your handicap’. A pretty pointless feature then, but worth a quick go for a laugh! The final feature in the Beyond the Movie section is the Fact Track. This enables you to view various production facts whilst watching the movie itself. This feature works in unison with the Infinifilm feature.

Final Destination 2
Moving on then, and we have the next section, which is entitled All Access Pass. This section gives you access to the audio commentary, a featurette, deleted scenes, music videos and trailers. The featurette is entitled Bits & Pieces: Bringing Life to Death and it runs to a little over thirty minutes in total. This in-depth feature looks at the history of gore, with short excerpts from a variety of gore-ridden films including Blood Feast, Night Of The Living Dead and more. After the brief history comes the behind the scenes footage for Final Destination 2. Here we get to see how each of the deaths was originally pulled off. The behind the scenes footage is interspersed with interviews with the director as well as a number of the visual effects wizards. This is easily the most thorough feature on the disc as it goes into a great amount of detail on all of the things that you’re likely to want to hear about. It’s also quite vile seeing how they did some of these things! Good stuff though. Next comes a selection of five deleted scenes, which you can play without or without commentary. Each of the scenes is presented in anamorphic widescreen but unfortunately none of them are particularly memorable. They run to around nine minutes in total. Completing the package are two music videos from The Blank Theory and The Sounds and a selection of trailers. The music videos don’t really seem to relate to the movie at all so I’m not too sure why these were included. The trailers section features the trailers for Final Destination, Final Destination 2 and The Hitcher’esque looking Highwaymen.

Final Destination 2
Although nowhere near as memorable as its predecessor, Final Destination 2 does manage to provide an hour and a half of sick minded entertainment! The deaths themselves aren’t always that impressive, but the patchy dialogue and wooden acting is more than enough to provide a few laughs. Regarding the DVD, New Line has again proven that they are the masters of special edition releases and they have put together another stellar visual and audio package here. The extra material is also in abundance with a number of interesting, well-produced featurettes taking the limelight. Roll on Final Destination 3!