Posted by: Tina M | 23 March , 2012

Our Shared Final Stop: Final Destination 5

This evening I had the pleasure of watching Final Destination 5 this evening with my in-laws. I have always enjoyed the movies even if I did question their artistic value/overall worth to the world. But tonight, I asked the question “How can you do another one after you just made “THE Final Destination” a few years ago?” and I found an answer; by making a pretty good movie, that played up the best aspects of the series. It almost felt like it made up for the last few that in my opinion, weren’t that good.

So, if you liked the first few movies of the epic and lucrative series, then I think you’ll enjoy this one.

But of course, it made me wonder why I enjoy movies of this sort. I’ve always been drawn to horror movies and thrillers since I became traumatized by watching Child’s Play at a cousin’s house while he wisely played army men in his bedroom. While I played it brave and ran back and forth reporting the latest twist and horrible concoction for death while it happened, that night was a different story.

I believed in terror that each one of my dolls would come to life and kill me, or torture me which even in my small child’s brain seemed worse than the finality of death. I got rid of each one of my dolls, triggered finally by a night when I woke up to a dim view of my toy chest which was positioned directly across from my bed. I could see the face and torso of a doll that my Grandma had given me, propped askew in the box by stuffed animals and other toys. She stared blankly back at me until I swear to this day I saw her tiny hand wave eerily at me, as if to mock me knowing that no one would believe me. Of course, I have moved beyond that, but only by creating deeper levels of rationalization (ie. I still believe that they DO come to life and kill people, just that it’s a very SMALL portion of the population that it happens to, and in the universe why would I be the target of such a strange tragic twist?).

But this brings me back to my main point- How can I sit through a movie that displays such horrible and graphic orchestrations of different death scenes, feel my heart race as if I were actually there faced with the same terror, and actually feel relieved afterwards?

It’s the experience of feeling the trauma and knowing that you’re safe. Unlearning your lived reality that fright=danger. And why do we do this? Because in many ways it’s a lie that we tell ourselves. We live in a world that has in fact created many ridiculous situations that we put ourselves in on an almost constant basis. The movie really illustrates this by creating far stretches of coincidence and tragedy, but connected with our everyday lives. Tanning bed malfunction? Bridge collapse? Industrial accidents? These could easily be headlines in the daily paper. (Well, maybe the tanning bed malfunction might not be front page news- )

And yet, these are the sort of freak accident tragedies that are so unexplainable and irreconcilable that they offer some sort of reassurance, only in that it reminds us that none of us DESERVE death, but we earn it by virtue of living. For me these movies also play an important role in balancing the very real tragedy that I face daily in my work in Foster Care. Living in a community and really listening to those most disenfranchised, not only do you drown in a sense of continuous injustice, you see [and I’m sure in some ways contribute unknowingly] to the systematic destruction of communities through oppression. Racism and Poverty pose a more real threat than the gross and macabre ends that these characters find themselves in. In many ways this is because even their deaths are framed in privilege cushy realities that provided eccentric settings and opportunities to meet an unfortunate end.

Who has access to this type of service?

Much easier for me to stomach then the stray bullets of a drive-by, police brutality, hunger and medical neglect, or continual self-destruction that I see and hear on the regular, just around my corner. (As I write this I hear a helicopter flying towards downtown, always for me a sign of chaos unfolding somewhere in the distance; a sign of this reality and my inherent privilege to be only on the peripheral of it)

So this is why, as I drove home, I had to laugh about the anxiety that came up for me in my drive home. I imagined all of the accidents that could occur, and fought the urge to look into the possible meaning behind the song “Evil Ways” by Santana was on, as if serving as a cautionary tale. Then I cringed as a song lyric “Sudden explosion. . . ” played as a gas tanker pulled behind me. In the end, I know that my death is out of my control and I’m enjoying my life so in the end it doesn’t matter.





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