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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 03/16/2000,

Final Destination

Forty high-school students board a plane to France, but one of them, Alex Browning (Devon Sawa), has a premonition that the airplane will explode. He freaks out, a fight ensues, and Alex and six others get kicked off the plane -- only to see it disintegrate on takeoff. The seven surviving passengers have cheated Death. Now Death wants them back.

Tailored toward teens who, according to Hollywood, need to be spoon-fed anything more complex than a fart joke, this core plot point is explained ad infinitum, once by a mortician who refers to the Grim Reaper as the "Mac Daddy." But what the film lacks in subtlety it makes up for in creativity. A movie built on the imminent demise of seven persons demands seven imaginative deaths, and director James Wong delivers, often leaving you wondering not who will die but how in the hell? Leaning more toward gasp-worthy than gross, the death scenes are gracefully executed and genuinely shocking (Wong has dabbled in some X-Files episodes, and it shows). There's some mind-numbing dialogue as teenagers spout philosophical soundbites about Life and Death, but it's worth the wait just to see a guy's head sliced in half by a sheet of steel. At the Copley Place, the Fresh Pond, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

-- Jumana Farouky