leans over backwards

Final Destination

Final Destination is a 2000 supernatural thriller, about a group of teenagers who 'cheat death' by avoiding a plane crash when one of them, Alex, has a premonition of their deaths. Soon after their escape, they begin dying one-by-one in mysterious freak accidents. The script was originally written by Jeffrey Reddick as a spec script for the X-Files. (Director James Wong worked as a writer, producer and director on that series.) The story shares similarities with an episode of The Twilight Zone titled "Twenty-Two". The film is distributed by New Line Cinema. The DVD was released on September 26 2000. The film was the first in the Final Destination series, and was followed by Final Destination 2 in 2003 and by Final Destination 3 in 2006. Another sequel to this film is to be produced, Final Destination 4 (3-D), the film will be directed by David R. Ellis (Final Destination 2).

Final Destination takes place on Long Island. Locations such as Jones Beach and John F. Kennedy International Airport are shown. Nassau County is mentioned. However, Vancouver International Airport stood in for JFK..


Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) with his French class classmates and two teachers are gathering in the airport for their field trip in Paris. While in the airport, Alex suddenly has a feeling of anxiety. At this time, nature is showing signs about the impeding disaster. While aboard the plane, a Boeing 747 operating Volee Air flight 180, Alex had a premonition of the plane's explosion in form of a dream. Shaken, he tries to confirm the premonition by checking the other facts the premonition has shown to him (like the latch over Tod's seat that detaches when Alex turns it). The facts turn out to be correct and fearing that the premonition is real, he breaks into hysteria, screaming at the passengers to exit the aircraft. His commotion causes a scuffle to break out between him and his fellow classmates Carter (Kerr Smith) and Billy (Seann William Scott), forcing them and three others to get thrown off the flight. Shortly after takeoff, the plane explodes into flames, confirming the validity of his premonition.

Afterwards, the survivors start to die in accidents. Alex soon realizes that the survivors have cheated death, and that death, as if a character itself, has come back to kill them. Alex teams up with the other survivors as they try to figure out a way to cheat death a second time.

First to die is his best friend, Tod (Chad E. Donella), by strangling himself after slipping into a clothes line placed across the bathtub. As this is happening, Alex received a sign in the form of the word "Tod" left on a piece of a torn up magazine. He goes to Tod's house and finds out that Tod is dead and also finds Clear (Ali Larter), his classmate and one of the survivors, there hiding behind a tree and bidding him to go away. Alex also meets Tod's father who blames him for Tod's death, claiming that Tod killed himself out of grief. Alex defends himself, claiming that Tod would not kill himself since they promised to get in touch when Tod's father got over the accident. After the meeting, Alex returns to the tree where Clear is hiding only to find out she's gone.

The next morning, Alex meets with Clear, outside of a coffee shop, showing her the piece of magazine, and telling her about "death's design" and "signs". Clear does not believe it and argues with Alex, when Carter and his girlfriend, Terry (Amanda Detmer), arrive in Carter's car. Carter got out of the car followed by Terry and started out to Alex looking for trouble. Then Mrs. Lewton, their teacher, also one of the survivors, unexpectedly exits the coffee shop and announces to them that she is moving out of town. Carter blames Alex for it and picks a fight with him. Terry, being fed up with Carter's behavior, begins walking towards a nearby crosswalk, telling him to get over the plane explosion, and that if he can't, he can "drop fucking dead". She is cut short when a bus suddenly slams into her and kills her instantly, spraying blood all over Alex and his classmates.

Back to his home, Alex watches TV for news. One of the news is about the result of the investigation of the flight 180. The investigation shows that the plane's explosion started as a series of small explosions. The explosions, Alex noticed, starts at "Tod's seat" and then travels across the plane. He then gets a hunch that the survivors are dying one by one according to the path of explosions. Using a seat chart of the plane with the name of survivors written on their respective seat and a trace of the explosion path from the internet, he traces the path. The path of the explosion, as expected, then leads to Terry. Next to Terry is Mrs. Lewton.

He goes to Mrs. Lewtons house watching over to insure Mrs. Lewtons safety. Mrs. Lewton, however, suspicious and unable to bear the memories Alex reminds her of, she calls the police who promptly pick up Alex.

While Alex is out talking to the authorities, Mrs. Lewton is targeted by death. After a series of incidents, Mrs. Lewton ends up lying on her kitchen floor with a knife stabbed into her chest and the kitchen in flames. Alex, after being released, promptly goes back and finds Mrs. Lewton in her present state. He tries to help her but she still dies after a kitchen chair, knocked over by the explosion from the oven, drives the knife deeper into her chest. Alex pulled the knife in reflex then stares at it in horror. He then throws the knife aside and dashes outside. There, he was greeted by Billy Hitchcock unknowing of what had happened. The house then explodes knocking both of them to the ground. After that, Alex runs away leaving Billy staring at the house in surprise.

Alex has become a suspect of the incident. The officials go to Clear and ask her about Alex's whereabouts. She throws them off-track by meeting Carter and Billy (instead of Alex, as the official had hoped), and they search and find Alex in Carter's car.

Alex tells them about his discovery, and Carter after hearing it, rampages and parks in the middle of a train track. Alex, Clear and Billy exit the car. Just then they hear the train arriving. The three of them tried to persuade Carter to get out of the car. Carter foolishly tried to ignore them, wanting to die by his own "volition". When the train has gotten nearer, he changed his mind. He finds out, however, that he cannot leave. The seat belt wont give way and the door won't open. He shouted for help. Alex goes to pull Carter through the window. The seat belt rips and Carter is hauled out in time just before the train collides with the car. As the group ponder who is next to die, Billy, realizing that he would be next, starts to panic and asks Carter to "stay away". As he turns around, a piece of metal from Carter's destroyed car is flicked by the train and decapitates him.

Alex realizes that because he had prevented Carter's death, it skipped him and went on to the next person on the list, Billy. According to the seat map, Alex would be after Billy, making him next on the list. He then goes into seclusion, isolating himself from everyone, barricading a cabin to protect himself from Death. It isn't until later, while he is making a fire, he notices an error. He remembers the two girls who asked him to move so they can sit together. If he'd moved, he would've been sitting next to Tod, making him sixth to die. But since he didn't move, that placed his seat behind Clear and after her on the list.

Clear arrives back at her house and that's when Death starts trying to kill her. Alex arrives and realizes that if he dies instead of Clear, that it will ruin Death's design again. That way, Clear and Carter can survive instead of all of them dying. He then grabs the wire and gets electrocuted, but still survives.

Six months later, Alex, Clear, and Carter are in Paris. They take a moment to remember all those who died by Death's actions. Alex still can't get out of his mind why Death didn't kill any of them. He tells the other two about this and that he didn't die when he pulled the burning wire from Clear's car and that no one saved him. Clear requests a change of subject as Carter declares that he is "still the safest fucker in the world" because he will only die after Alex. As Alex continues to ponder about this, he notices several signs of Death nearby. He tries to leave, in order to protect Carter and Clear.

As he is walking across the road, Clear sees a death sign and calls out his name. Alex paused. Then, a green bus arrives missing Alex by a few inches. The bus then rams into a lamp-post. The lamp post flings to a nearby billboard dislodging it. It then swings towards Alex, but Carter saves him in the nick of time. Carter asks who's next. Alex was silently staring behind Carter. Carter turn around to see the detached billboard swinging back towards him.

Death's List

  • Flight 180: While sitting in his seat, Alex has a vision that the plane he and his class are on is about to explode. A few seconds after take-off the plane starts shaking a little bit and stops. As the passengers laugh in relief, the plane starts shaking again. This time more repeatedly. One side of the plane is torn away, ripping several passengers with it into the motors while everyone else was roasted by the explosion.

Clues/Notes: While Alex was sleeping, the time on the clock read 1:00. Then an 8 appeared in the first 0. Now, the clock reads 1:80.

The departure time of Flight 180, 9:25, is the same as Alex's birthday, September 25.

Before boarding the plane, Alex take note the gate number: 46. The same number of students who would have died had Alex not have gotten his vision.

While Alex and Tod were in the bathroom, Alex notices the radio playing Rocky Mountain High, which was sung by John Denver, who died on a plane crash.

As Alex steps over a 6in. gap heading onto the plane, he notices a cart with three red 9's, but from above, they look as if they could be an ominous number: 666.

  • Tod Waggner: Alex's best friend. When Alex gets off the plane, Tod's brother, George, tells him to accompany Alex. George dies on the plane, and Tod's father blames Alex for the crash. As a result of this, Tod's friendship with Alex is strained. He dies when he slips on water in his bathroom and was strangled to death by the shower cord during the fall. The water then slips back into where it leaked as though it never happened (and marks the first and only time death is seen as a malevolent force). His death was labelled as a suicide. He would have been the first person to die on the plane. He is portrayed by Chad Donella.

Clues/Notes: Alex throws his magazine at an owl, but it gets shredded up in some fan blades. A piece of paper flutters onto Alex, and as he reads it, the remaining letters spell "Tod".

Tod makes a choking gesture with his hands by his neck before Alex has his vision.

  • Terry Chaney: Terry is Carter's girlfriend. After trying to break up the fight between Alex and Carter, she follows Carter off the plane. Sick of Carter's antagonism towards Alex, she is on the verge of breaking up with him. She dies when she gets hit by a bus after breaking up with Carter. She would have been the second person to die on the plane. She is portrayed by Amanda Detmer.

Clues/Notes: Moments before, while Clear and Alex are taking to each other at the café, Alex notices the reflection of a passing bus, but when he turns to look at, the bus isn't there.

  • Ms. Valerie Lewton: Ms. Lewton is one of the teachers supervising the trip to Paris. When Alex and Carter fight on the plane, she and another teacher get off to settle the two students. Finding out that Alex, Carter, and Billy got kicked off the plane, Ms. Lewton tells the other teacher to go back while she stays behind and catches a later flight. When Flight 180 explodes, she becomes very depressed and makes plans to move out of town, feeling she sent the other teacher to his death. She was killed when a piece of computer at her house was launched at her neck, a knife impales her and her house exploded. She would have been the third person to die on the plane. She is portrayed by Kristen Cloke.

Clues/Notes: As Alex is heading over to Ms. Lewton's house, he passes a man burning leaves and several flaming leaves dance around him.

When Ms. Lewton leans over to pack up a box after her drink spills into her computer, there is a knife on the stained glass window behind her pointing down foreshadowing her being impaled by the kitchen knife.

  • William "Billy" Hitchcock: On Flight 180, Billy is lucky enough to get caught in the middle of Carter's and Alex's fight and gets kicked off with them. He is the jokester of the group. He was decapitated by a piece of Carter's destroyed car, when it was hit by a train. He would have been the fifth person to die on the plane. However, some people believe he would have been the first to die, because when the plane explodes, the window he is standing in front of breaks. The glass would have been blasted at him, but Valerie pulls him down before the glass gets to him. Also, this would mean he is put at the end of death's cycle, meaning after everyone dies, it would be his turn again. This also happens when Carter is pulled out of the car. Since Alex intervened, it went back to Billy, resulting in his decapitation. He is portrayed by Seann William Scott.

Clues/Notes: While in Carter's car, Alex sees the reflection of a train in his window, even though they are not near any train tracks at the time.

Carter's car stalls on railroad tracks and he becomes trapped inside due to a failing seat belt. Right before the train is about to hit his car, Alex pulls him out by breaking his seatbelt.

When Carter is driving wildly, Alex notices that his seat belt is broken. He yells for Carter to stop but when he looks down again, the belt is no longer broken. This is a sign as to how he had to save Carter from the train.

Billy was supposed to die after Carter, but Carter was pulled from his car by Alex in the nick of time, moments before the train hit Carter’s car, skipping Carter.

Before Carter's car is crushed by the train, he sees a shadow (Death) on the hood of his car.

  • Carter Horton: Carter is an athlete who deeply resents Alex. He gets kicked off the plane for fighting with Alex after he causes a commotion about how the aircraft is going to explode. (We are also led to believe Alex and Carter were not friendly even before Flight 180.) He later accuses Alex of being behind the crash. He was killed when he got hit by the Le Miro 81 sign right after he saved Alex, 6 months after Alex saved Clear. He would have been the fourth person to die on the plane. He is portrayed Kerr Smith.

Clues/Notes: The sign that kills Carter said, Le Miro 81, but when it fell, the part that fell said o 81 but when it swung down at Carter, it was backwards and read 18 o.

Carter skipped death once before when his car was hit by a speeding train. Alex pulled him out at the nick of time.

Alex was almost killed before Carter was hit by the swinging sign. Carter intervened for Alex when he yanked him out of the way of the giant sign’s first swing.

Before the sign almost killed Alex, Clear saw the reflection of a bus in a window just as Alex had before Terry's death. Alex was meant to be hit by it but Clear shouted his name and he jumped out of the way.

  • Clear Rivers: Clear is a fellow classmate of Alex's. She feels a connection with Alex and believes his frantic assertions that the plane will explode. She is not thrown off the airplane like the other students, but exits of her own volition. At first, she does not believe the concept of Death's design, but eventually does. In the second film, she helps the survivors of Route 23 and was killed in an explosion at the hospital along with Eugene Hooper. She would have been the sixth person to die on the plane (although presumed to be last to die throughout most of the film). She is portrayed by Ali Larter.

Clues/Notes: She was the only survivor of Flight 180 to cheat death. Therefore, when she was killed in the second film, all survivors of Flight 180 were killed.

  • Alexander Chance "Alex" Browning: Alex is a student and the main character. He has a premonition that Flight 180 will explode. Making a scene before take-off, he and six other people get off the plane and witness the disaster. In between the first and second film, he was killed when a falling brick hit him on the head. In the second film, a newspaper article on the computer confirms his death. He would have been the last person to die on the plane. He is portrayed by Devon Sawa.

Clues/Notes: Clear was almost killed when her car exploded due to a livewire, but Alex intervened.

When Alex explains Carter and Clear the order of the students in the plane by a paper, a wind passes along them then a red wine on the table spills the name of Alex, meaning blood.

Other characters

  • Agent Weine: Agent Weine is an FBI agent who thinks it Alex's fault that Flight 180 exploded. He is portrayed by Daniel Roebuck.
  • Agent Schreck: Agent Schreck is an FBI agent who thinks it Alex's fault that Flight 180 exploded. He is portrayed by Roger Guenveur Smith.
  • William Bludworth: William Bludworth is a man who knows about death more than anyone else. He tells Alex and Clear the secret of death. He is portrayed by Tony Todd.

Cultural references

Most of the characters in the movie have part of their names taken from horror/suspense movie directors or actors.
Billy Hitchcock - Taken from director Alfred Hitchcock.
Terry Chaney - Taken from actor Lon Chaney, Jr..
Tod Waggner - Taken from director George Waggner and director Tod Browning.
Alex Browning - Taken from director Tod Browning.
Ms. Valerie Lewton - Taken from director Val Lewton. The character is sometimes actually referred to as "Val Lewton".

Alternate ending

The scene on the beach where Clear tells Alex about her family's past was extended. Clear was telling Alex how they must take action and do something big while they still had the time. Clear and Alex ended up having sex and Clear later becomes pregnant (the scene where she finds out was deleted.) When Clear is next on Death's list, Alex saves her from the exploding car, but sacrifices himself to do so and dies. Nine months later, Clear gives birth to a boy (which she names Alex) and by doing that, she ruined Death's design because Clear creating life was not meant to be. She and Carter became close friends and they visit the Flight 180 memorial. Clear states that even though they defeated Death this one time, they only won a chance at a full life, because for everyone, there is always that one day. A falling leaf drops and the credits roll.


When the movie first aired on TV in the United States, several edits were done to tone down both language and violence:

  • In the ensuing arguement between Alex and Carter at the terminal (after Alex has his premonition), Tod's bad language is toned down to "Shut up, Horton!" rather than "Fuck you, Horton!" The same went for other scenes that originally had bad language.
  • When William Bludworth is examining Tod's dead body in the morgue, the grotesque scene of him cutting near Tod's head is not shown at all, but is implied by sound.
  • When Terry is struck by the bus, the scene where her blood splatters on Alex and Ms. Lewton is not shown, it immediately cuts to them both in blood already.
  • During Billy's death, rather than actually showing him be decapitated by flying metal at the railroad tracks, a slicing sound is implied, which then cuts to the scene of his body falling over into a tall bush.

Influence on sequel

The concept of new life defeating death was incorporated into the storyline of Final Destination 2.


Final Destination received an R rating in the United States for violence and terror, and for language. In the United Kingdom, it received a 15 rating. In Ireland, it received an 18 for violence, horror, and language.

See also


External links

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