Final Destination 2 (2003)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 24-Sep-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-DavidEllis(Dir),Craig Perry (Prod),Eric Bress&J.Gruber(Writ.
Featurette-Bits & Pieces: Brinigng Death to Life Documentary
Deleted Scenes-And Alternate Scenes - 5
Music Video-The Blank Theory - "Middle of Nowhere"
Music Video-The Sounds - "Seven Days a Week"
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Final Destination
Informational Subtitles
Featurette-The Terror Gauge
Featurette-Cheating Death: Beyond and Back
Game-Choose Your Fate
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 86:26
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David R. Ellis
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ali Larter
A.J. Cook
Michael Landes
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Shirley Walker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Greek
English Audio Commentary
English Information
Smoking Yes, drug use
Annoying Product Placement Yes, anyone want to buy an Apple computer?
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

You Can't Cheat Death Twice.

    Final Destination 2 is the unimaginatively (and possibly illogically) titled sequel to Final Destination - a horror film which I really enjoyed when I watched it on DVD a year or so ago. The first film told the story of a group of friends who escaped a horrifying death when they disembarked from a doomed airliner shortly before it exploded on take-off. The friends left Flight 180 when one of the group had a vivid premonition of their impending fiery death. The elation at having lived to celebrate another dawn was short-lived however, as the group succumbed one-by-one to all manner of violent deaths. The basic premise of the film, and an intriguing one it was too, was that you cannot cheat death....when your number is called, your time has to be up. Death is presented as an inexorable being, with a will and a plan of its own.

    Of course, with so many of the original characters pushing up the daisies, a new set of soon-to-be fertiliser fodder is required. Enter one Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) and her friends, en-route to Spring Break at Daytona Beach. One year to the day of the plane crash, Kimberly has a frighteningly vivid premonition of a massive pile-up on the freeway, which is brought to life in the movie with one of the most breathtaking special effects sequences I have ever seen. In trying to avert the accident, Kimberly blocks the freeway on-ramp, preventing the queue of motorists behind her from becoming involved in the apocalyptic accident.

    Before too long the band of survivors from the on-ramp begin to realise that they, like the survivors of Flight 108, are not about to cheat death for long. Kimberly, accompanied by Officer Burke (Michael Landes), who witnessed the horrific motorway crash, band together with the other corpses-in-waiting to try and find a way to cling to this mortal coil. To do this, they must enlist the help of the sole remaining survivor from the earlier disaster. Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) is found in a padded cell at a psychiatric institute. She admitted herself, not because of the harm she might do to others...but because she wanted to be beyond the reach of "Death" and its (rather contrived) ceaseless quest to turn her into worm food.

    Working together, the group begin to understand the sequence which "Death" will follow in collecting its due. The remainder of the story follows the fevered attempts of the group to observe the signs of impending doom and avoid the circumstances which will lead to their demise. Unfortunately, "Death" seems to be close mates with "Stupidity" and "Fate", and the three combine to slowly and painfully polish off the group...

    Alright, let's be frank. The plot is silly - there's really no way of avoiding the fact that you could drive a Mack truck through the plot-holes (although it would probably explode half way through, taking out a bus load of pensioners for good measure). The acting is adequate - no more and no less. The saving graces for this film, however, are the utterly marvellous special effects and the nail-biting tension it manages to conjure up. The level of detail paid to the set-up of each death, coupled with the technically flawless special effects are inspiring. There are numerous red herrings thrown into the mix, so the fun comes not from guessing who is going to die...but picking precisely when and how they will cop it. If the level of innovation furnished on the deaths had been applied to the script and plot, then this would be a modern horror classic. As it stands, it is a flawed but wickedly cheeky popcorn flick, and for sheer verve, this is hard to beat.

    Final Destination 2 is a Cezanne of splatter, a Goya of gore, a Ruebens of revulsion. Despite the gore and the scares, this film does not take itself too seriously and a number of the deaths are quite comedic in a very, very dark way. The director takes great delight in toying with your nerves, wringing every last gasp and shriek possible from each of the ultra-violent deaths. If you want a darkly funny, terrifying thrill-ride of special effects then this is for you. If you are squeamish then give it a wide berth, but for horror/splatter movie fans this is pure AB+ in a take-out bag. Enjoy it for what it is, sensational, vacuous, bloody good fun.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this transfer is very good indeed, and is generally of reference quality.

     The video transfer is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.85:1 which is the original theatrical aspect ratio. The transfer is clean, clear, almost totally free from grain, full of colour and - surprisingly for a horror flick - as bright as a button. Occasionally the transfer is a tad soft, but never distractingly so.

    There are few dark scenes in this film, with the director defiantly choosing to set all of the major effects in full light - open to the closest of scrutiny. Where used, black levels are solid and deep with good shadow detail and no low level noise at all. Colours are perfectly rendered and the blood is fully saturated (in every sense). The only sign of bleeding is the carotid or jugular type - colour bleeding is wonderfully absent. Skin tones are nicely natural throughout the film.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. Edge enhancement was insignificant, despite the generally razor sharp transfer. Aliasing was not noticed as an issue. Telecine wobble is too scared to show its face around this feature.

    There are no significant film artefacts in what is wonderfully clean transfer.

    The English subtitles for the Hearing Impaired are excellent. They are well timed and reflect the dialogue (including the frequent expletives) and sound-effects (even the most distant) extremely well throughout with only the tiniest of edits for brevity.

    This disc is dual layered, but I did not detect the layer change. I assume it is sensibly placed between the main feature and the copious extra features.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio transfer is very good and there are no significant flaws. This is almost a reference quality soundtrack.

    The distributor spoils us with an excellent choice of English audio tracks. You can select a dts 6.1 ES track encoded at 768 kbps, or perhaps you would prefer the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track encoded at 448 kbps - in either case you will be very happy. These soundtracks are both of near reference quality. Should you wish to, you could also choose the still quite impressive Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.

    The sound is clean and clear throughout, with no hiss, pops or drop-outs noticed. Dialogue is always crystal clear and the impressive surround effects never drown out the dialogue. Audio sync was perfect throughout.

    Music plays a tension-building role throughout the film and is credited to Alison Freebairn-Smith and Shirley Walker. Whilst not overly original, the stabbing strings are never overly intrusive, adding an undercurrent of tension to the film and greatly enhancing the feel.

    The front speakers provide some great separation and noticeable panning across the front soundstage. Meanwhile, the rear surrounds (and back channel) provide some wonderful pans and fades with plenty of evidence of localised directional sound effects. This is really a very good soundtrack, and will give (almost all of) your speakers a highly aerobic workout.

    The subwoofer is used to support the music and the occasional deep bass special effects such as explosions, car engines and the like. There are some satisfyingly deep bass notes which really help to build the atmosphere and deliver a good punch-in-the-gut where needed. However, I still felt overall that it could have been cranked up another notch, and it just fails to deliver a knockout blow.

    Despite the terrific surround effects, the slight lack of a consistent and appropriate LFE track means the audio transfer falls just shy of being a reference quality audio transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras available on this disc are bountiful and of high quality. This disc is a treat for fans and has been put together with a good deal of love and attention. Well done to New Line and Village for bringing us a package of this quality!

Menu

    The main menu is well designed, providing a true taste of the film without stealing its thunder. It is an animated affair with a nice suspenseful backing track of faint screams and roaring flames. It provides the choice of playing the movie, choosing one of a minimal fifteen chapter stops, audio set-up, or two sections of extras. The extras are divided into two sections, namely All Access Pass and Beyond the Movie.

All Access Pass

Filmmaker Commentary

    A rather entertaining commentary from the producer, director and screenwriters. This is well worth a listen.

Bits and Pieces: Bringing Death to Life

    A tremendously entertaining journey through the history of splatter and the secrets of the effects in Final Destination 2. Running for a highly respectable 30:27 and presented in an aspect ratio 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes

    Thoughtfully presented with a "Play All" option, and your choice of with/without commentary, this segment allows you to watch the following scenes, with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio (16x9 enhanced) and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps, running for 9:49 in total:

Music Videos

    There are two videos on offer, taken from the film and presented fullscreen (1.33:1) and therefore not 16x9 enhanced. The audio transfers are encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kbps:

Trailers

    Presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 (therefore not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 kbps, there are two trailers available for your delectation:

Beyond The Movie

The Terror Gauge

    Presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 224 kbps and running for 13:57, this is a strange featurette involving the use of three human guinea pigs. These young people chose to have their brain waves and sweat glands monitored as they watched the film. Possibly informative, but overwhelmingly weird!

Cheating Death: Beyond And Back

    Again presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 224 kbps and running for 18:05, this featurette exposes a bunch of fruitcakes who have enjoyed near-death experiences. Interesting in a Jerry Springer way.

Choose Your Fate

    A static page of Tarot cards, inviting you to choose your fate. Silly fun...very briefly.

Fact Track

    As this appears to be a port of the Region 1 New Line Infinifilm disc, we are able to enjoy a pop-up trivia track with the film. It is generally good fun and adds to the repeat viewability of this fun flick.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release appears to be the same as ours. Buy whichever you find for the lowest price.

Summary

    Final Destination 2 is a very enjoyable popcorn movie for fans of the horror/schlock genre. It is anorexic in the plot department, but a positive glutton for special effects, edge-of-your-seat tension and hide-behind-the-sofa shocks. The extras are excellent. The audio is very good and the video is pretty well flawless. An outstanding package that deserves a purchase from fans of the genre and one (or maybe two) rentals from those just looking for some lightweight, wickedly funny chills. Be warned however, this is probably the most gory film I have seen in the past few years! Highly recommended.

    The video quality is very good indeed, and is pretty much a reference quality transfer, bar some minor softness.

    The audio transfer is very good indeed, falling just short of reference quality, despite the wonderful choice of soundtracks.

    The extras are excellent. The whole package has been put together with a laudable level of attention to detail and is a great example of how a little thought can provide extras which suit the film and add immensely to the overall value of the DVD package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, August 22, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVDAnswers - Pete R
AllZone4DVD - Kevin S
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
The DVD Bits - Damien M

Comments (Add)
Great review ... - Kaiser Soze (I'm not stupid. You're not interested. But my bio is here anyway) REPLY POSTED
highway *spoilers* - Johnny Wadd (i am bionic) REPLY POSTED
Final Destination2 censored - knightsp REPLY POSTED
Odd censoring - REPLY POSTED
Censoring? Not exactly, but still annoying. - Christopher
Modern Horror at its Superficial Best - Michael H (wish my bio were here) REPLY POSTED