Final Destination

GRAVITY

With less than a week left before Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity hits theaters, you’re likely to see an increase in the already heaping mound of raves claiming it’s the best original sci-fi film of the year, if not years. The problem is that this is not sci-fi. I’ve been having minor debate about this for weeks now, and there are numerous critics and non-critics, both people who have seen and haven’t seen the film yet, on each of the two sides of this argument. At the end of the day, you can say I’m being too stubbornly semantical. That the genre doesn’t even matter these days. But this is a movie involving science, and science itself deals a lot in classification and semantics, so I feel it perfectly appropriate to stand firm on genre categorization with this one. And I keep cringing every time I see the term sci-fi or words science fiction applied to this film. Gravity features no aliens, no interstellar space travel, no time travel, and it doesn’t take place in the future. In fact, given that it involves a space shuttle as its method of travel into space, it would seem to be set in a past. And while I don’t know all the technological accuracy evident on screen, I do know the production aimed for this to be a realistic film of the world and science that is or was existing. To me, that’s not sci-fi. Just like Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff, never mind their […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s for fun. Really, just for fun. We begin this evening’s rundown with a picture of Michael Bay riding Transformers: The Ride alongside the lovely Jenna Wolfe from The Today Show and some nameless youths who probably won a contest. Or they’re someone’s nephew. Either way, they are there. With Bayhem. Riding through 3D Transformer mayhem. Now that we’ve had a rhyme, here’s the rundown of today’s best reads…

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Shaun of the Dead

We all know what it feels like when a film touches on events yet to come. Usually it’s the best when it’s something that you could only pick up on after already watching the film once before – it’s like a little inside joke you get to have with the filmmakers, a reward for sitting through the movie more than once. At times it’s not even the fact that it foreshadows event in the films, but rather that it’s so subtle that it takes a few goes to even pick up on. Other times are less subtle, but just as fun. This is probably going to have spoilers in it. Just to be clear.

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The Coroner

By now, you should probably have realized that we will never reach the final destination, since we’re already a destination past that with more on the way. Likewise, you should probably have a pretty good handle on how these things happen. A kid gets a vision of a totally awesome and very lethal disaster, which prompts him and several others to leave the danger zone, abandoning hundreds of others to die. Death, not liking the idea of being cheated, then kills all of the survivors through an elaborate series of accidents. And for the most part, it’s all good. So recognizing all that, for the fifth installment of the franchise you can just plug in all the new names and faces with the scenario suspension bridge collapse. While there isn’t much new, Final Destination 5 manages to be an entertaining entry in the series, providing plenty of gruesome kills – in three dimensions!! OOoOoOoOoOoooOOOooOoOOOo

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Drinking Games

As the current year comes to a close, many people focus on the symbolic birth of the upcoming new year. But horror movie fans might be more inclined to focus on the death of the old one. In particular, as 2011 winds down to its final destination, here’s your chance to raise a glass of champagne (or beer or wine) while revisiting this summer’s Final Destination 5 on DVD and Blu-ray. Forget in-depth characters and brilliant acting. Final Destination 5 delivers on some creative kills and one hell of a disaster sequence in the beginning. If you like the series, there are some good things in there to toast…much more than the last film, at least.

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Five films into the franchise, the Final Destination series shows no indication of putting pause on its specialty brand of crafty blood-and-gore kills waged against the average Joes and Jills who find themselves infused with the vague psychic powers that could possibly stop all the bloodshed. This is, of course, not to say that the franchise isn’t worse for the wear, with character development all but sucked out of the film’s respective bottoms, leaving nothing but lifeless, water-logged bodies behind. The set-up of Final Destination 5 is the exact same set-up as the previous four Final Destination films – a single person has a vivid premonition of a horrific accident that kills a hefty number of people. The premonition is so strong (and is, as is always the case with FD films, presented as a real event until a classic snap-out-of-it, it-was-all-a-dream come-to by the character having the vision) that when events that mirror the vision start to play out, said vision-er does the only thing that truly makes sense – they run. And by running, and bringing others along with them on their desperate race to survive, they do actually survive. Until they start dying, because Death itself is damn ticked off that the body count of its clever little catastrophes was not as high as originally intended. This time around, the single person with the vision is Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto), whose premonition is that of a stunning bridge collapse while he and his coworkers (including his ex-girlfriend) […]

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When I was talking with some friends a while back about how much my wife and I enjoyed Insidious (probably one of the first genuinely well-made horror films in ages), I started thinking about how they’re almost sure to greenlight a sequel any day now (still waiting on that) for some studio to run into the ground like James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s previous collaboration, the Saw series. Saw got dumber and shittier as it went on, probably due to the fact that by fourth film or so the plot was incomprehensibly stupid. What’s the point of all this again? And Jigsaw had how many apprentices now? By the end of the series, I was expecting him to have solved the financial crisis by employing the majority of Americans to set moronic traps for each other. But the thing that’s easy to forget is that the first Saw movie was actually a pretty damn good movie. It wasn’t unique by any means. It owes a lot to Dario Argento and his fellow Italian Giallo filmmakers, but that’s not the point. The point is, Wan and Whannel paid attention. They actually put forth an effort to make a film that wasn’t a remake or a sequel or a cheap knockoff. They showed their hand as far as influences go, but fuck, so does Quentin Tarantino. Hell, even Saw II and Saw III weren’t bad. So maybe that’s the secret to making a horror film that’s not ball-crushingly idiotic. Maybe it just […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column and link collector that is tired of explaining itself to you, quite frankly. Drew McWeeney at HitFix got the scoop this evening on a big story, in which Harry Potter director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves will be re-teaming to do a multi-film version of Stephen King’s epic The Stand. The hope here is that Yates can give it that Deathly Hallows scope, something the work of Stephen King has long deserved, but never really received. With The Dark Tower on the ropes, this could become a new fixation for King fans.

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The beauty of the Final Destination franchise is that it’s the same plot over and over again. This isn’t something to be ashamed of – Jason and Freddy all operate within the same plot time and time again. In fact, it’s great that the movies wholeheartedly embrace the repetition. Now if they would only embrace some decent acting. The new teaser for the first installment of Final Destination after we were promised no more installments of Final Destination features some killer eye surgery, a wicked bridge collapse, and the least relaxing acupuncture possible (which still makes it more relaxing than eye surgery). Check it out for yourself:

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When I lived in DC, I took at least two showers a day because of the swamp heat and humidity. Even then, after reaching what could technically, numerically be called adulthood, I would find myself checking cautiously behind the curtain (from time to time) for psychotic serial killers. The bathroom, and the bathtub in particular, is an incredibly vulnerable place. After all, we are (usually) alone. We are cornered. We are naked. Many films have exploited this vulnerability, but not all of them do it for fear. In fact, it turns out that where we spend .6% of our lives can also be an incredibly poignant space. It can also be hilarious. Many films have killed characters in the bathtub, but only a few could float to the soap-covered top as the best of the best.

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Speaking from experience, human flesh doesn’t stand up all that well when violently introduced to glass. Unless you live in Hollywoodland, that is.

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No, not that writer of The Thing. The other writer of the other The Thing. And, wait what? Another Final Destination.

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