Final Destination Franchise ranked

Being the anxious person that I am you’d think that I’d hate the Final Destination series, considering it plays on all the little anxiety inducing things that are in the back of your mind like a plane, or roller coaster crash, or bridge collapse, and even create new fears, like having your laser eye surgery turn deadly, but actually, I’ve always been a big fan of the movies. In a way, Final Destination is my Nightmare on Elm Street, or Friday the 13th, since I was growing up as the films were being released. Last week, I found that Syfy was playing Final Destination 3, and when I was watching it a lightbulb went off. Why don’t I channel my inner Rayzor, and do a list ranking the Final Destination films? I definitely have to do it asap so he doesn’t beat me to it, like he did with American Horror Story, although, I suppose I could still make my own post about that, because I would rank them differently than he did, but anyway FINAL DESTINATION. It seemed like the article would be easy to do, and basically write itself, because I have SO many thoughts about the movies, but then I realized that the ranking them part would not be so easy, since to me they don’t really differ in quality very much, and I love each of them. It’s going to be hard, but let’s do this, but be warned, there will be some spoilers in here, so if you haven’t seen all of them, tread with caution.

5.The Final Destination (2009)

Okay, first of all, I just kind of hate the title. Secondly, even though I still love it, I think it’s the most forgettable, and boring film of the franchise. I had to look the plot up in order to recall all of the deaths, and characters, which I didn’t have to do for any of the other films. This installment of the franchise begins with a group of friends and other patrons surviving a horrible accident as a car crashes at a race and sends tires and other things into the crowd, and eventually making the stadium collapse. At the lead of the film is the BEAUTIFUL Bobby Campo who recently starred in MTV’s Scream as the english teacher, Seth Branson. I do think the way the ending scene switches from a normal scene to the view of an x-ray is really neat, though.

  1. Final Destination (2000)

Honestly, it kind of pains me to put the first movie this low on the list, but currently I think that’s where it should be. Before I get into thoughts about the movie specifically, let me tell you kiddos a little story. On July 17, 1996, Trans World Airlines flight 800, taking a group of students from JFK to Paris for a field trip exploded minutes after it took off. A couple hours later, and thousands of miles away, I was born. The crash loosely inspired the very first horrifically deadly accident in the film franchise, so clearly, I was born to love these movies. The first character in the franchise that audiences see having a premonition, and saving friends from their death (for a short period, that is) is teenage Alex Browning who is played by Devon Sawa. Hmm, his last name is one letter away from mine, another sign perhaps? The film also stars Ali Larter, who later stars in one of my favorite tv shows of all time, Heroes, and American Pie star, Seann William Scott, who’s character is just as annoying in this as he is in American Pie. Besides the fact that I hate that character, there really isn’t anything that is holding the film back from being higher up on the list, but instead the other films added more things to them that propelled them further, and made them better, which makes sense, and is really how franchises should be; Getting better, instead of getting worse, like a large sum of franchises do.

3) Final Destination 2 (2003)

Three years later the second film in the franchise was released. Final Destination 2’s big disaster is the one that caused everybody to be weary of log trucks, the deadly route 23 pile up. What’s interesting about the survivors of this incident is that unlike all the other films, there isn’t a core group of friends among them. Instead, the main character Kimberly survives while her friends die, and eventually connects with the rest of the survivors as they all try to stop their imminent deaths. This film also includes the reappearance of Ali Larter’s character Clear Waters, who is the only one that came out of the first film alive. She is the only character that was on death’s list to be an active part of multiple films in the franchise. Another unique thing about the second film is that it’s revealed that each of the characters who survived the pile up, had already escaped death once before, thanks to the Flight 180 crash.

  1. Final Destination 5 (2011)

The fifth and most recent entry in the Final Destination series starts by having a group of coworkers survive a bridge collapse, when Sam, played by Nicholas D’Agosto, who like Ali Larter, is later featured in the tv series Heroes, has a vision of the accident and urges his fellow bus passengers to exit. Final Destination 5 definitely has the best, and nastiest death scenes. The only scene in the whole franchise that is truly hard for me to watch is the scene where one of the survivors dies while practicing her gymnastics routine. Although I handle watching the other deaths in the movie better, I still think they’re really gross, and terrifying. Like why did they have to go and make this girl die during laser eye surgery? I’m probably going to have to have laser eye surgery eventually because I’m already very much like Velma from Scooby Doo, who is completely lost and useless without her glasses. Anyway… In previous films, the mortician Bludworth, played by Tony Todd, tells the survivors things like they can’t cheat death at all, or  new life is the only thing that can cheat death, and he becomes even shadier than he already is in Final Destination 5, when he tells this group something different, that you can cheat death by killing someone, and therefore living for as long as they would have lived. A character seemingly does this, by accidently causing someone else’s death. Sam’s friend, and boyfriend of the gymnast lady, decides he also wants to try out this little theory, but can’t bring himself to kill a stranger. Instead, he decides to be a little bitch and try to kill Sam’s girlfriend, since she didn’t die in the premonition, and therefore would survive this mayhem. Thankfully, his plan fails miserably, and he gets what’s coming to him. Sam, and girlfriend survive, and Sam ends up deciding to take a job in Paris that he was offered earlier in the movie, so they are seen on their flight at the end of the movie. Wait a minute…flight to Paris? That seems suspicious… Maybe because soon after they board a group of teenagers including one who seems to be freaking out are kicked off of the plane. Of course we as the audience know that this is the group of survivors from the first film, making this film a prequel, which was the icing on the top of the cake of this great movie. Sam however, is not aware that something is wrong until he hears flight attendants discuss that the boy freaking out said he had a vision of the plane crashing. By the time he hears this, and realizes that he is caught in the middle of another death trap, it’s too late, and the plane starts to meet its fate. I love, loVE, LOVE this ending, and although it is the most obvious connection between the films, I think it is the best.

1.Final Destination 3 (2006)

The third installment in the franchise has always been my favorite. The deathly event that the characters played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Ryan Merriman, escape is the roller coaster crash. Both had starred in other horror films previous to the release of Final Destination 3, but 10 year old me knew them from some of the best Disney Channel Original Movies around, Sky High for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and The Luck of the Irish, and Smart House for Ryan Merriman. I know I had at least seen part of the second one before this, because I always thought about it when I saw a log truck, but didn’t remember anything else from it, so I guess the third movie was the first one that I ~really~ watched. I remember a conversation I had with a friend  about it the year it came out, after it was released on dvd, like it was yesterday. I was 10, and in the 5th grade, and he said something about the scene with the girls at the tanning salon, but I was confused because what he said isn’t what happened when I watched it, then he explained that there was a feature on dvd where you could choose different options that would affect how each death scene played out. A couple of years ago my friends and I had a Final Destination marathon, and went through every option on the dvd to see each possible outcome, and let me tell you, it took a while. Another reason that I’m ranking the third movie as number one is because I think it has the best ending scene. The ending to the fifth movie is a close second, but I think the ending to the third is the best because it still seems like it fits with the story of this particular movie, while to me, all of the other endings (with the exception of the fifth) just seem like random scenes, that have very little correlation with the rest of the film, and were only written, and tacked on to the end to make them go out in style. They didn’t really add anything else to the movies, but the ending of third one definitely did. If I’m not mistaken, it’s also the only ending where the person who had the premonition in the beginning had another one at the end. Oh, and yet another way that this film stands out from the others is the fact that each character’s death is predicted in photos that were taken on the night of the first deadly incident. Let me just round this off by saying that back in July I went to an amusement park, and as if I wasn’t paranoid about there being a mishap on a roller coaster enough, the guy sitting next to me was sneakily holding a camera to record the ride, so I was having some serious deja vu, and felt like I was in this movie. 

While the rankings of the first, second, and fifth films could all easily be switched around just depending on my mood, or which one I’ve watched most recently maybe, I’d say that The Final Destination will always be my least favorite, and Final Destination 3 will always be my favorite. The whole franchise contains so many easter eggs, and cool connections to each other that make it truly unique.How would you rank the films? Let us know in the comments, or on facebook, or twitter! Be sure to tune into The Horror Syndicate Live through our facebook page, or youtube channel tomorrow night a 8/7 central, where you can hear the rest of The Horror Syndicate’s team’s opinions on the franchise!

About Morgan Jewel Sawan 84 Articles
Graduate from Oregon State University, with a Bachelor's of Science in Liberal Studies, a self made degree plan, that focused on media, writing, film, and women, gender and sexuality studies, aptly titled "Writing for and about film with a feminist perspective". I inherited my love of halloween and horror movies from my mom. My favorite horror movie is Scream, which is highly ironic considering I was deathly afraid of Ghostface, who I had very vivid nightmares about that I still remember perfectly, as a child. Some of my other favorites are Hereditary, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Beetlejuice, The Shining, The Conjuring, and much more! Even though I’ve pretty much been a life long fan of horror I still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the classics, ergo my Millennial Morgan Plays Catch Up reviews, which I plan to bring back soon. My passion project for the site is our digital zine, called Fright Like A Girl that's all about women in horror, made by women who love horror! In my free time, besides writing for the site, and working on my dream of becoming an actress and film maker, I enjoy making youtube videos (MJ Sawan on youtube), playing video games, going to conventions like Texas Frightmare, and Horror Hound, and cosplaying! I've cosplayed as Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare On Elm Street, Ripley from Aliens, and more. You can follow me on twitter, @frightlikeagirl, where I tweet A LOT about movies of all types, and the people in them.