The folks behind the Final Destination films spend a lot of time thinking about death, and they’re the first to admit that it can take its toll.
“We’ve been very creative in creating new ways to die, which is kind of sick,” says director David R. Ellis, who returns to the franchise after sitting out the third instalment.
“There are a lot of twisted people on this film. It was a battle to see who could be more twisted.”
If he sounds conflicted about his work, there’s a reason. Even with Snakes on a Plane on his resume, as a director Ellis wasn’t immediately drawn to the scary movie genre.
“I wasn’t a big horror film fan when I was asked to do Final Destination 2. And I’m not sure that I’m proud of myself that I’ve gotten so into it,” he says.
One thing he is proud of is the fact that the fourth film has something the others didn’t. In the latest chapter — the “the” in the title is supposed to suggest this will be the last, according to producers — viewers get a new element: Gooey, gory mayhem in full-on 3-D.
“It’s going to be the future of a lot of films, but I don’t think it’s going to replace 2-D,” Ellis says.
“I don’t think people are ready for that. But there will be more and more films that it makes sense to shoot in 3-D.”
The director wasn’t alone in his hesitance about horror. “I don’t do well with blood,” admits Shantel Vansanten, who stars as one of the group of attractive young people spared from a horrific accident because of a friend’s premonition — only to have death hunt them down one by one.
“I don’t do well with gory films at all. I’d never watched any of them prior to booking the film.”
What she got was a crash course. With three films in the series already done, audiences are familiar enough with the formula that the filmmakers didn’t need to worry about too much besides creating more intricate and interesting death scenes.
“We skipped all the exposition and just got to what people wanted to see,” says Bobby Campo, the film’s lead.
And that formula is something that The Final Destination does well, offering a unique experience of pure spectacle that never takes itself too seriously. But, the cast admits it’s an awful lot to take in for the average viewer, especially in 3-D.
Co-star Nick Zano says he’s worried about taking him mother to the premiere, and not just because of all the blood.
“My mom is hypersensitive. She cries over anything,” he says.
“I’m just afraid she’ll start crying during my sex scene.”