The 10 Wildest Deaths in the 'Final Destination' Franchise

The general rule of horror movies is that the first movie in the franchise has pretty straightforward kills and the weirder stuff comes in the sequels. Final Destination breaks this rule from the very beginning, with characters dying from horrific shower accidents, falling neon signs and being decapitated by metal shards.

The general formula of the Final Destination franchise (the final three of which are streaming now on Netflix) is that a teenager opens the film by having a premonition of their upcoming bloody death, which stops them doing whatever activity they were doing in that premonition. Though they escape that specific death, the teens are then picked off one by one. The message being that you can cheat death for a time, but you cannot outrun it together.

If you think about it, the Final Destination films raise some big questions about theology. What is the supernatural force that allows these teens to temporarily escape their fate, and why does it do that when it knows that the teens are going to die in even worse ways over the coming weeks. Is there a cosmic battle of good and evil here at play in which the teens are mere pawns?

Luckily, the movies do not encourage you to think at all. The subtext is nil, and the plot is just a thin thread they can hang elaborate kills on, delivered in full splat-o-vision with some of the most OK CGI money could buy in the 2000s.

To celebrate three of the Final Destination movies coming to Netflix, here are the finest slayings the franchise managed over its five instalments.

The 10 best Final Destination deaths

10. Death by tanning bed, Final Destination 3

Ashley Freund (Chelan Simmons) meets her maker in the third film in a tanning bed where the lights blow, causing a fireball that gives her the ultimate deadly tan. Does a tanning bed use the sort of lamps that could suddenly catch fire? No. Is it entertaining to see flames shooting out of the sides of what essentially looks like a coffin with neon lights in it? Yes.

9. Death by cinema, The Final Destination

Films have shown characters jumping out of the cinema screen since at least Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr. in 1924. Few directors, however, have been so gonzo as to have an onscreen explosion wipe out an entire theater. Explosions are usually the lamest deaths in the franchise, but here the bit goes off with a bang.

8. Death by bus, Final Destination

Eventually, watching these movies becomes a fairly exhausting experience, as you are constantly waiting for the next surprise kill. This one, however, happened early enough in the first film that it comes as a genuine shock. Terry Chaney (Amanda Detmer) tells someone to "drop dead" only to instantly get hit by a bus.

7. X-ray deaths, The Final Destination

Intended as the last ever Final Destination, the fourth movie starts with inspired opening titles that show us all the deaths of the first three films in X-ray vision, just in case you were not sure how much damage the body took after being cut in half by razor wire.

6. Death by swimming pool filter, The Final Destination

The Final Destination is the first of the films to be released in 3D. Unfortunately, this makes the general standard of the kills worse – far too many people meet their end on poles that make the most of the 3D. There is enjoyment to be had for gorehounds, however, at watching a disintegrated human body pop out of the screen after being sucked into and spat out of a filter. Unrealistic yes, but hilarious gruesome also yes.

5. Death by ladder, Final Destination 2

In a simple but aggressively effective death early in the first sequel, Evan Lewis (David Paetkau) loses his life to a falling ladder going through his eye socket.

4. Death by Buddha, Final Destination 5

The Final Destination films as a rule did not have much time for irony, but they made an exception for Isaac Palmer (P. J. Byrne), after chaos breaks out in the spa he was trying to relax in. If managing a fire and landing on a bunch of acupuncture needles was not bad enough, the final blow comes courtesy of a falling Buddha statue.

3. Death by airbag, Final Destination 2

One of the most elaborate set piece deaths the franchise ever achieved (and another great use of irony), this sequence sees (Kat Jennings) Keegan Connor Tracy narrowly escape death multiple times during a car accident until the airbag goes off, forcing her head into a metal spike.

2. Death by gym equipment, Final Destination 3

In which Lewis Romero (Texas Battle) uses a malfunctioning piece of gym equipment, crushing his head like a watermelon between two weight. It is not elaborate as some of the other deaths in the five films, but it makes up for it in it for being an almost Mortal Kombat-level Brutality.

1. Death by tire, The Final Destination

The Final Destination films have a very set format, which really works in their favor when they break that formula a little. In the movies so far, the only time the teens have been safe is in the few minutes where one of them is telling the others his premonitions. Not so in film number four, where the group does not believe a race they are watching is going to end in a deadly crash until one of them is totally eviscerated by a flying tire. Bonus points here for genuinely realistic entrails in a franchise often ruined by low-grade CGI.

final detination deaths
Promo image for "Final Destination." The film franchise is known for its outlandish death scenes. Warner Bros.