Truth or Dare Inspired Me to Finish Watching The Final Destination Franchise

Truth or Dare

I completely understand why this is getting savaged by review aggregators, but I really didn’t hate it. It was definitely pretty sloppy at times. There were a few incredibly brief transition scenes with heavy-handed dialogue explaining how or why characters were getting from point A to point B that seemed to suggest these were hastily filmed and inserted because test audiences had no idea what was going on. It’s either that or this was actually scripted with these really awkward edits in mind, but that seems a lot more unlikely to me. Still, this thing is sort of like a Final Destination movie with a game of truth or dare superimposed over it, and I really dug that. I kind of want to get a group of my online friends together and play truth or dare now. You know, without all the murder and whatnot.

I also really dug Lucy Hale’s look in this. She looked like basically every 90s horror heroine ever with her bob cut. And, last but not least, I especially appreciated that when these characters needed to know something they used GOOGLE like normal human beings instead of Bing like seemingly 90% of movie characters.


Final Destination

The first time I saw this I was way too caught up in it not really having the vibe I wanted it to have, but that was kind of silly. This time I just enjoyed all the late-90s/early-2000s aesthetic, and honestly the fact that the plane crash, its aftermath, and the first few subsequent kills were honestly pretty objectively great.

I even ended up enjoying the truly ridiculous setup and execution of the teacher’s death this time. Oh no, I poured a cold beverage into a mug after a hot beverage and it cracked! And dripped into the computer! And then the computer monitor exploded and a shard of the monitor cut my throat! Quick, let me crawl to the kitchen and grab a cloth to stop the bleeding! Oh no, the cloth was on top of all of the knives and they fell on me! And then the stove blew up and a chair fell on me and then the entire house exploded! The first time I saw this, this kind of stuff annoyed me because I wanted the movie to take itself more seriously and be creepier, but this time around I just enjoyed it for what it was.

Also, cool bit of trivia I learned from Wikipedia: the original idea for this came from a spec script for an X-Files episode! That makes the nerd in me love it even more.


Final Destination 2

This one also seriously benefited from being revisited! I think I prefer the first slightly, but this one has a few great kills (especially that poor kid with the heavy glass pane falling on him) and a much more interesting lead character. The awful highway accident she ends up avoiding (and saving others from) is every bit as much of a spectacle as the airline crash that’s averted in the first film, and has the added benefit of likely being much more relatable to the audience because driving is a much more common situation to find oneself in than flying. I was also excited that Clear was the last one standing from the first film instead of Alex, though I was rather staggered by the revelation that her name is spelled “Clear.”


Final Destination 3

Finally, one thing I was right about when I watched these movies the first time around! This is definitely the best of the three I saw. It definitely doesn’t hurt that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is blatantly the best actor that appeared in any of these first three movies. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge fan (though, I definitely am a huge fan). It just also really feels like this one had the tightest script, the most creative kills (starting with the tanning bed kill right off the bat; that one had me squirming with sympathy despite having never gone tanning), and the most satisfying bookending of the main story with the tricentennial celebration feeling appropriately similar to the theme park environment that started it all off.


The Final Destination

Feels like a pretty definite step down from its predecessors, but I still didn’t hate it. The NASCAR crash as the inciting disaster really didn’t do much for me in comparison to prior scenarios (plane crash, car pileup, roller coaster disaster), but I’m sure it was a selling point for people who feel way differently about corporately sponsored southern guys driving around in circles than I do. I really dug the opening credits sequence with its aggressive music and recaps of some of the previous films’ most memorable kills. And I really enjoyed the mall/movie theater setting of the climactic premonition/disaster sequence. I feel like this is the least compelling I’ve found the central characters in any of these, though, with the possible exception of the second one. I also really wasn’t grooving on any of the CG in this, especially in the dream sequences.


Final Destination 5

Okay, that was really, really awesome. 3 is definitely still my favorite because the kills were a little more convincing and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is still easily the best actor this series has ever been gifted, but 5 might be my new second favorite, just barely edging out the original! I think we have ourselves a reverse Star Trek situation here where all the odd-numbered ones are clearly the best ones. (Although, I do break with the folks who think only the even numbered Treks are good, because III has some serious game and forms a neat little trilogy with II and IV.)

First of all, although I do feel like the ladies get a little shortchanged in this one, I do actually really enjoy the two male leads quite a bit. I remember Nicholas D’Agosto from a supporting role he had in season 2 of Heroes, and at the time I really thought he seemed pretty overqualified for that role, so it’s good to see he ended up with at least one leading movie role! And the other major male lead, Miles Fisher, has apparently had a role as a Tom Cruise impersonator before, which is just perfect because it kind of felt like Tom Cruise was running around this movie going off the deep end.

I loved the moment right before the ending when everything clicked into place for me, and consequently I just completely loved the ending. It felt like it encapsulated the overall sadistic tone of this series perfectly, and while I would love for them to make more of these, if they don’t, it’s rare to see a series with this many installments end so perfectly.

As previously alluded to, my final rankings are either 3, 1, 5, 2, 4 or 3, 5, 1, 2, 4. Either way, I’m super glad that Truth or Dare nudged me into revisiting (and finally finishing) this series. It’s been quite a ride.


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