Despite the franchise ending ten years ago, the legacy of the Final Destination franchise continues to burn bright in the history of horror movies. The series brought fear and terror over the possibility of an unknown entity getting revenge on those who escape their tragic fates in the big opening kill sequence. This list will revisit the ten most gruesome and memorable deaths throughout the five installments. Unfortunately, the opening kill sequences will not take part of this list. As unforgettable as the string of highway deaths in Final Destination 2 or the infamous plane crash of flight 180 is, this list will focus on the singular deaths of the surviving victims.
Terry Chaney: Hit by a bus (Final Destination)
When Final Destination arrived in 2000, it introduced an exciting new concept in a genre that was crowded with supernatural and slasher flicks. Looking back, Final Destination’s kills aren’t that memorable because the franchise continued to up the ante with over-the-top and elaborate deaths; however, one death stands out as one of the best: Terry being hit by a bus. What makes this sequence so great isn’t exactly the death itself, but how abruptly it happened. Terry’s speech about finally moving on with her life was a nice moment for her character, so when she’s hit by a bus (despite the warning signs) out of nowhere, it’s a complete shock to the audience and gives the characters a grim realization that death is indeed coming for them.
Evan Lewis: Impaled in the eye by a fire escape ladder (Final Destination 2)
So Final Destination 2 started off with a bang by treating audiences to one of the best opening death sequences in the franchise. During Kimberly’s premonition, Evan is burned and impaled by a big truck, so it’s only fair that her vision matches reality somewhat. FD2 ups the gore factor by 100 and the staging of Evan’s death is pretty sweet. While it’s never a question on whether he’ll die or not, David R. Ellis toying with the audiences’ emotions before he finally pulls the rug is pretty clever. The ladder kill turns out to be a nasty and horrific death, but one that surely satisfies our blood lust.
Tim Carpenter: Crushed by a glass pane (Final Destination 2)
Continuing on with death’s plot to right the wrongs of Kimberly’s actions, Tim Carpenter essentially being turned in a crash test dummy is arguably the best death in a film packed with incredible murders. It doesn’t have the slow build-up like some of the other sequences; however, there’s a fake out in the dentist office prior to his untimely murder. Tim’s death happens to be pretty fast, yet it still makes a strong impact once his body is nothing more than a bloody mess.
Nora Carpenter: Decapitated by an elevator (Final Destination 2)
Poor Nora, the mother just witnessed the murder of her son and she’s put through hell before her head finally pops off. Part of the reason that Nora’s death is the hardest to watch is that this sequence is drawn out a bit. Nora’s arguably the most sympathetic character in FD2, so to see her have such a gruesome end was haunting.
Ashley Freund and Ashlyn Halperin: Incinerated in a Tanning Bed (Final Destination 3)
Despite how unrealistic Final Destination 3’s opening kill sequence is in reality, it’s still one of the better premonitions in the franchise and the third chapter of this elaborate death porn saga continues to raise the bar. Compared to some of the other kills, Ashley and Ashlyn’s death are pretty tame by FD3 standards, but given the realistic nature of their demise and the horrific screams before the scene transitions over to their funeral, this is one of the best kills in the franchise.
Frankie Cheeks: Back of the head shredded by an engine fan (Final Destination 3)
Easily the least likeable character in FD3 is the sleazy Frankie Cheeks. While the crime is more gruesome than his actions in the film; FD3 does an excellent job of eliminating the unlikeable characters in the film. Cheeks death stands out as a triple threat: innovative, gory, and gruesome, and FD3 does a solid job of making this seem realistic and believable. The bit of dark humor displayed after the grim reaper’s work has been done helps ease the tension after such an intense scene.
Lewis Romero: Head crushed by weights (Final Destination 3)
As I previously stated, FD3 upped the gore factor in the franchise and while this death is a little less believable than the previous two, it’s still one of the better sequences in the series. Once again, FD3 goes all out with its red herring by building up the sequence revolving a sword above Romero’s head. However, once the rug is pulled from our eyes, the crushing of Lewis’s head is a shocking, yet satisfying result. Sure, it looks a bit too CGI (even though this death was mostly done with practical effects); however, the end result highlights the creativity of these kill sequences.
Ian McKinley: Dismembered in half by a cherry picker (Final Destination 3)
So, Ian isn’t particularly in a happy mood. He just witnessed his girlfriend getting impaled by a bunch of nails (which is another great death) and he blames Wendy. The rules of Final Destination 3 get a bit wonky here as it’s not clear why Ian is the one that suffers this brutal death since it wasn’t his turn; however, that doesn’t take away the cool factor of it. Like Ashley and Ashlyn’s death, this one felt realistic thus making it more impactful that the other kill sequences. It’s a tricky concept, yet the crew at FD3 manages to make another death look incredibly simple and amazing.
Candice Hooper: Folded in half off a gymnastic routine (Final Destination 5)
The Final Destination series went out with a bang by not only introducing new elements to the series that make it feel fresh again, but sweet kills that feature a cast of decent characters. FD5 does the best job of the series at playing with audiences’ emotions and that example couldn’t be better represented then Candice unfortunate, but creative death. The tension is built-up based on a screw on the balance beam, but of course, the grim reaper is a sly trickster as Candice ends up in a position that makes anyone think twice about a future in gymnastics.
Issac Palmer: Head bashed in by a Buddha statue (Final Destination 5)
Isaac turns out to be a fun comedic relief character in FD5; however, the grim reaper always gets his man (or woman) and the entire sequence manages to be funny, suspenseful, and grotesque. After some fun banter between him and the masseuse, the prime suspects of Issac’s death appeared to be either the needles pierced in his body or the fire that starts after the masseuse leaves. It’s neither, and the filmmakers masterfully play up the suspense until the budda statue finishes off Issac for good. It’s not the most inventive kill in the franchise; however, it still manages to deliver the goods on what a FD kill should be.