Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Final Destination 2 (2003)

"Death is Coming" posits this cheerfully vindictive sequel to 2000's sprightly shocker (which presumably should now be retitled "Penultimate Destination").

As with the original, Death is after a disparate bunch of stereotypes who've escaped an ugly fate. In the first, it was obliteration in a plane crash. Here, it's to die horribly in a motorway pile-up.

We still get to see the flesh-mangling "accident", this time through Kimberly (AJ Cook) - a teenage hottie who visualises the whole mess and then holds up traffic to avert disaster.

As the smash happens one year to the day that Flight 180 exploded, Kimberly suspects Death will want to finish the job and off those she saved. So she hooks up with "Final Destination" survivor Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) to try and foil fate a second time.

The set-up is explained much more effectively in the opening credits, when a chat show host helpfully rehashes the events of part one. Exposition dealt with, the filmmakers set about the task of impaling, incinerating, decapitating, and slicing up the cast in a series of grisly, blackly humorous set-pieces.

It's simple, but effective. The idea that a malevolent force decides your doom is creepy enough to give the events an edge, while the characters are sketched well enough to hold the attention, without ever troubling the heart.

There's also a pleasing self-referential tone, which recognises the hokey set-up ("I should have seen that coming", says Larter after a close call), but it plays the shocks straight (à la "Scream" and "Jeepers Creepers").

Plus, it's shameful how much fun it is guessing who's going to get it next, and how.

Not that this is entirely playful - the wince-inducing gore will shock some and the premise unsettle others. After this, the only thing as inevitable as death, is another sequel.

End Credits

Director: David R Ellis

Writer: J Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress

Stars: Ali Larter, AJ Cook, Michael Landes, Terrence Carson, Keegan Connor Tracy, Enid-Raye Adams, Sarah Hattingh

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Length: 90 minutes

Cinema: 07 February 2003

Country: USA

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