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Bumped Men Tell No Tales

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 17, 2000


    'Final Destination' Devon Sawa (center) has eerie premonitions in "Final Destination." (New Line)
Little did I suspect as I sat so serenely in my stadium theater seat, waiting for the title credits to roll, that I was about to have a premonition of monstrous catastrophe. Eerily enough, soon thereafter, so did the intense teen hero of the plane crash movie "Final Destination." The kid ran screaming from the aircraft before it took off, but I paid no heed to this psychic wake-up call. Did I ever learn my lesson.

The movie marks the directorial debut of James Wong, a veteran of TV's "X-Files," who wrote the screenplay with his longtime partner, Glen Moran. Given the opportunity to expand their horizons, they've come up with what could be called "The X-Files Up Dawson's Creek."

The story focuses on Alex (Devon Sawa), a clairvoyant youth who's about to take off for Paris with his French class when he foresees a fiery explosion. The panicky teen insists that all passengers disembark, and as a result he and six of his classmates are ejected from the aircraft. Moments later, as they watch from the terminal, the plane blows up in midair, killing all aboard.

Although he saved their lives, all but one of his friends--Clear (Ali Larter)--blame him for the guilt they suffer and fear his powers of prescience. A skeptical FBI agent and his less cynical partner have no case against Alex, yet they monitor his every move.

When one of the other survivors allegedly commits suicide, Alex and Clear slip into the morgue to determine the true cause of death--just like Scully and Mulder. As more of their friends die, Alex and Clear come to believe that they were destined to die and that the Grim Reaper has come a-gleaning.

The Reaper's methods can be amusing (death by leaking commode) or gruesome (decapitation), yet the movie is too numbing to be scary. It does deliver some amusing touches, similar to the ones Wong and Moran have brought to their TV projects. Most notably, a rendition of the late John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" precedes every calamity. Still, your own final destination just might be the box office, to demand your money back.

FINAL DESTINATION (93 minutes, at area theaters) is rated R for language and gore.

© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company


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"Final Destination"
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