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The 'Final Destination' Franchise


Premise: If you have a premonition that you're going to die, you may as well let it happen, because Death is going to come get you one way or another, and it'll probably be painful. The Final Destination series is a slasher of sorts with a most unusual villain: Death itself. You see, Death has a plan, and interrupting the plan will only buy you a little time before Death comes back with a vengeance. The franchise has made its name with elaborate "accidents" by which Death claims its victims.

Spoilers ahead!

Final Destination (2000)

© New Line Cinema
Aboard a jet liner with his high school French class, Alex (Devon Sawa) has a vision that the plane explodes. He understandably freaks out and warns everyone just before takeoff, but only a few people leave the plane with him. They're relived they did when the 747 blows up in midair, killing everyone on board. Soon thereafter, though, the people who got off become stricken with terminal clumsiness, dying in a series of freak accidents. A mysterious mortician (Tony Todd) hips Alex and classmate Clear (Ali Larter) to the fact that they interfered with Death's "design," and now Death is coming back at them in the order they would've died on the plane. In the end, Alex saves Clear from an exploding car so that the design skips her...for now.
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Final Destination 2 (2003)

© New Line Cinema
Same plot, different victims, more gruesome and elaborate deaths. A year after the first film, Kimberly (A.J. Cook) is driving with three friends when she has a vision of a chain-reaction pileup that kills everyone in her car and several people in other vehicles. She blocks the onramp to prevent the people behind her from getting on the highway, saving their lives when the accident finally occurs -- and ticking off Death. Once again, Death seeks revenge, a dish best served deadly. In an added twist, it turns out that the deaths of the plane crash survivors in the first movie indirectly saved the lives of the people in this movie. In the end, Kimberly has to drown and be brought back to life with CPR in order to break the "design"...for now.
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Final Destination 3 (2006)

© New Line Cinema
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has a vision that the vehicle she's on is going to crash, killing everyone on board, so she convinces a few people to get off, only to see her vision come true. In this case, the vehicle is a roller coaster (What's next, a trolley car?). Wendy and her pal Kevin (Ryan Merriman) research the events of the first film and discover Death's design of killing them in the order that they would've died on the coaster. They also discover clues to the upcoming deaths in photos Wendy took of the people who got off the ride. Wendy and Kevin run around trying to break the chain with little success until Wendy saves Kevin and her sister, thus skipping Death's plans...for now.
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The Final Destination (2009)

'Final Destination 4' poster
© New Line

Same formula: at a racetrack, Nick (Bobby Campo) has a premonition that a car crash kills him and other spectators in the stands. He convinces his girlfriend Lori and friends Hunt and Janet to leave, starting a skirmish that drags others -- including security guard George -- out of the stadium. They all are thus spared when the crash occurs as Nick predicted. Soon, the survivors begin to die in freak accidents, with Nick seeing omens hinting at the manner of death soon before their time is up. Nick and Lori run around trying to save everyone, but they manage to save only Janet. Weeks later, they gather in a cafe, where Nick begins seeing omens of their death -- but he's too late to prevent them from being run over by a truck.

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Final Destination 5 (2011)

'Final Destination 5' movie poster.
© New Line
On board a bus full of paper company employees, Sam has a premonition that a bridge will collapse, killing all but his girlfriend Molly. He rushes off the bus, and seven co-workers follow, escaping death for the time being...yadda yadda, you know the deal. This time, though, mysterious coroner Bludworth reveals that they can save themselves if they each kill someone, thus stealing that person's remaining lifespan. Nathan accidentally kills a man and avoids death. Peter then tries to kill Molly, but Sam saves her by killing him. Later, Sam and Molly head off to Paris, but it turns out they're on the doomed flight from the first movie. Oops. Meanwhile, Nathan discovers the hard way that the man he killed had a short remaining lifespan.

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