After I rewatched Final Destination, I watched it’s sequel, 2003’s Final Destination 2.
Final Destination 2 is not only one of the best horror sequels ever made but it’s also the film that, even more than the first installment of the series, established what we consider to be a typical Final Destination film. The characters are far more eccentric and the deaths are far more elaborate. Death itself shows a sense of humor that wasn’t present in the first Final Destination film. If you manage to escape Death the first time, Death isn’t just going to track you down. It’s going to play without and have some fun before it finally fills its quota.
Final Destination 2 opens with Kimberly Corman (AJ Cook) having a vision of a crash on the interstate. She’s so freaked out by her vision that she blocks the entrance ramp. This may save the life of everyone stalled behind her but it also ends up killing all of her friends when a truck smashes into her SUV. Fortunately, Kimberly survives because she had gotten out of the vehicle to talk to a policeman named Thomas Burke (Michael Landes).
So, the bad news is that all of Kimberly’s friends are dead.
The good news is that Kimberly has a whole new group of friends, all of the people who were supposed to die on that highway but who are now alive and on Death’s do-over list as a result of Kimberly’s actions.
Along with Kimberly and Thomas, Death now has to take care of lottery winner Evan Lewis (David Paetaku), stoner Rory (Jonathan Cherry), neurotic chainsmoker Kat (Keegan Tracy Connor), teacher Eugene Dix (T.C. Carson), and Nora (Lynda Boyd) and her son, Tim (James Kirk). It turns out that Death is not only after them because they didn’t die on the highway but also because they all have a connection to the deaths that occurred in the first Final Destination. It’s actually a pretty clever idea and it also provides an excuse for Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) to return from the first film and act as a sort of death guru.
Needless to say, the deaths are elaborate. In fact, they’re so elaborate that Final Destination 2 occasionally feels like a satirical take on the first film. It’s not just that Nora loses her head in an elevator accident. It’s that there just happens to be an old man carrying a box full of claws on the elevator. In another scene, Rory looks inside a closet and sees hundreds of things that could possibly kill him, my favorite being the bowling ball that just happens to be precariously balanced on the top shelf. When Clear Rivers returns, she doesn’t just explain how death works. She also gives them a list of safety precautions that make her sound like an overly protective parent, looking at her son or daughter’s apartment and freaking out over how many appliances have been plugged into one outlet.
Final Destination 2 is a clever film with an appropriately dark and macabre sense of humor. On the one hand, all of the characters are well-written and the cast is so likable that you don’t want to see any of them die. On the other hand, Death is so inventive that it’s hard not to want to see what it has up its sleeve. And, like the first film, the sequel works because it gets at a universal truth. You can avoid death but can never truly escape it.