Ranking Final Destination Deaths from Boring to Fun

Being the silly, early-to-mid-2000s horror that they are, the Final Destination films don’t exactly have the best reputation. Sure, they’re not classed as good horror films, but they are some of the most entertaining. Personally, I’m a fan of this era of cheesy yet gritty horror; I thrive off the overly dramatic editing, the edgy and often insufferable characters, the nu metal soundtracks, and the gratuitous gore. Even if there is little quality or substance to it, it’s a whole lotta fun! Especially the Final Destination deaths. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The premise of Final Destination carries through throughout the franchise. You start with a large-scale accident, causing multiple deaths. Suddenly, things go back to how they were pre-accident. The lead will then try and warn everyone of the impending doom, leading a select group of people to escape Death. From there, Death will catch up with each person in the order they were supposed to die. They cannot evade their fate forever, inevitably leading them to get picked off one by one in ridiculous, circumstantial ways. Each of the Final Destination deaths is met with a convoluted set-up and a violent pay-off.

Here is my personal ranking of them, from the most boring and mundane deaths to the most ludicrous and entertaining ones! We’re only counting actual deaths here, not near-misses. We also won’t be counting deaths during the initial accidents, only the consequential, individual deaths afterward.

Terry, Final Destination (2000)

In last place, we have a rather simple death when Terry gets run over by a bus. It’s probably the most mundane death in the whole series, but with it being in the first film, it sets the tone. It does completely come out of nowhere, which certainly gives the audience (and characters) a shock. 

Nick, Janet, and Lori, The Final Destination (2009)

At the end of the fourth film, the three main friends are sitting in a coffee shop when a lorry crashes through the window after swerving to avoid falling scaffolding, killing all three of them. This one kinda sucks, to be honest. It’s just being hit by a vehicle again but with a bit of extra dressing. The sequence that happens prior to this, involving an explosion in a cinema, and a death-by-escalator, is FAR better, so it’s disappointing that they just completely avoided that and went for a much more boring death. Also, three in one is a bit of a cop-out! 

A CGI skeleton with broken bones denotes Nick's death in The Final Destination (2009)

George, The Final Destination (2009)

George, a beloved security guard, gets run over by an ambulance. While there is an amusing irony to this, it’s just a repackaging of Terry getting hit by the lorry in Final Destination. The scene is almost the exact same set-up, and it’s just done for shock value. No creativity here, unfortunately.

Dennis, Final Destination 5 (2011)

While the forensics team is investigating the last death, Dennis is hit by a flying spanner. That’s all there is to it. It’s another death done purely for shock value; the characters ask just beforehand who’s next, and the spanner answers their question.

Nathan, Final Destination 5 (2011)

As he realises that taking someone else’s life didn’t save his own (an intriguing addition to the lore in the latest installment of the franchise), part of the exploding plane from Flight 180 crashes through the ceiling of the bar Nathan is in, crushing him. This is a silly scene tagged onto the end of the film just to tie up a loose end, so the death itself is pretty boring. I like the fact that it’s still Flight 180 that somehow kills Nathan, but there isn’t really any build-up and it’s over quickly.

Shaina, Dano, and Frankie, Final Destination 2 (2003)

After the initial road traffic accident, these three friends are still in the car. They get hit by a car carrier that the protagonist narrowly avoids. This triple-kill is a bit too soon after the initial accident for my liking—it’s not specific enough and is just for shock value without any creativity in the actual kill.

Perry, Final Destination 3 (2006)

After another sequence of various mishaps and explosions at a tricentennial celebration, Perry is gruesomely impaled on a flagpole. The build-up is much better in this one, but the death itself is just a quick shock and nothing else, especially as the character has next to no screen time. Yet it’s placed during the climax of the film. A bit pointless. 

Nadia, The Final Destination (2009)

A rogue tire flies out of the racing stadium and completely obliterates Nadia’s head. This occurs immediately after the inciting event, so it’s still during the height of the action, but it’s a good conclusion to the cold open and sets off the credits nicely. As Final Destination deaths go, it’s nothing special, but the way Nadia’s body is entirely destroyed in an extremely visceral, gory manner is somewhat of a spectacle in itself.

Nadia about to get hit in the head by a tyre in The Final Destination (2009)

Samantha, The Final Destination (2009)

Okay, so there’s an entire build-up to this one with zero pay-off which is frustrating because that part is way better than the actual death. As Samantha is leaving the hairdresser, a guy mowing the grass runs over a stone, propelling it into her eye and killing her instantly. There is a nice set-up, as her sons were the ones throwing the stones in the first place. However, it’s at the point in these films where they think a “gotcha!” curveball is better than simply going through with the ridiculous sequences, which is disappointing.

Erin, Final Destination 3 (2006)

After a prolonged scene of factory items, shelves, and machinery falling like dominos, a big crash results in Erin falling onto a nail gun which unloads into the back of her head. A factory is a very obvious location for an accident to occur, so this one loses points for lack of creativity. Nail guns are cool weapons though, plus it’s pretty gory.

Eugene and Clear, Final Destination 2 (2003)

Eugene is hospitalized after a car accident and is almost killed when his oxygen and medical machinery are unplugged. When Clear walks in, she triggers an explosion from the leaking oxygen which kills them both. This one is definitely convoluted and has another significant build-up, but it is just a simple explosion. I was also hoping that, since Clear was one of the main characters and only survivor from the first movie, she’d have a much more interesting death.

Molly and Sam, Final Destination 5 (2011)

In a very cool plot twist at the end of the final film, Molly and Sam end up on Flight 180 from the first Final Destination—and we all know how that ends. Molly goes just before Sam, sliced in half by the airplane wing as she falls out of the plane, and Sam is burned to death in the explosion. I’m only counting them together since it’s in the same event. The deaths themselves aren’t super interesting or cool, but it’s a good one for the insanely unexpected plot twist.

Jonathan, The Final Destination (2009)

Jonathan is in the hospital due to his injuries from the initial accident when a bath on the floor above him overflows, causing the ceiling to cave in. He’s ultimately squashed by the bath. It’s a destructive one, but this scene occurs immediately after we find out Jonathan is still alive, so there’s not much build-up. It’s another cheap-out hospital death, and we don’t even see any gore.

Ian, Final Destination 3 (2006)

A cart of fireworks explodes and knocks down a cherry picker, crushing Ian. Again, the build-up was better than the actual death. He does get cut in half which is pretty gruesome, other than that there’s not much of note.

Roy, Final Destination 5 (2011)

Intended for Nathan, a mechanical platform with a huge hook hanging from it starts moving until it is above both him and Roy. It then drops down as Nathan pushes Roy under it; part of the bridge he’s stood on collapses, and he ends up suspended with the hook having impaled him through the head. It’s another factory death—I think machinery is overused in Final Destination but it’s still a very visual death. It’s also set up to make it look like the victim will be impaled on spikes below (which tends to happen a fair bit in these films). Seeing Roy stop just before the spikes, only to see the blood drip down as we know he didn’t avoid his fate was a sneaky and cool bit of direction!

Roy's legs suspended above a metal spike in Final Destination 5 (2011)

Frankie, Final Destination 3 (2006)

Going through a drive-thru, a truck starts driving down a hill without a driver in it and crashes into the last car in the queue, which slams into it so hard that the engine flies out of the truck and hits the back of Frank’s head. More specifically, the fan slices his skull. What I like about this one is that Wendy and Kevin, the main characters, witness it right after discussing how Frank will die, only they don’t realise that Frank is in the car in front, until after he’s dead. As for the death itself, it’s a pretty standard car crash, but the fan slicing his head is quite gruesome.

Billy, Final Destination (2000)

Billy gets decapitated by shrapnel that gets flung at him by a train catching it. This one, although it appears simple on the surface, is rather convoluted. Why was there a huge piece of metal just there? Do the physics even make sense? I mean, it’s an ENTIRE DECAPITATION. There’s also a good bait-and-switch with thinking Carter was next and that they’d all avoided death, but apparently not.

Brian, Final Destination 2 (2003)

Once we think the events of the film are over, Brian gets exploded via a malfunctioning barbeque. It’s an epilogue death, so it’s not super drawn-out and involves another simple explosion. It’s so out of the blue, and seeing his detached burnt arm falling onto his mum’s plate is hilarious.

Nora, Final Destination 2 (2003)

Nora is told she’ll be killed by “a man with hooks” and ends up inside an elevator with him. One of the hooks on his mannequin limbs catches on her hair, then the elevator doors close on her head; it glitches so she ends up stuck, then gets beheaded by it. This one is utterly ridiculous and I love it—the man with hooks thing was so out of left field and quite irrelevant in the end. It also plays up to the fear of getting trapped in an elevator though, which is very real.

Tod, Final Destination (2000)

Here we have the original! After a sequence of bathroom mishaps, including spills, falls, and dropping things, Tod winds up getting hanged by a shower cord. This one definitely sets the tone of the silliness of each death succeeding it throughout the franchise; it’s convoluted and has a good bait-and-switch with all the sharp objects being shown. Can’t beat the classics!

Lewis, Final Destination 3 (2006)

Lewis gets his head crushed by weights on gym equipment. We think it’ll be two cutlasses that are FOR SOME REASON on a display right above his head in the school gym. They do fall down, but only to achieve the purpose of cutting cords in the machine itself. I love the pause when you think he’s safe before his head gets crushed. It’s quite a comedic one, especially with Lewis insistently shouting “Death fears me! I win!” right before dying. There are also many objects and potential weapons in the gym which are emphasised effectively.

A sign with two cutlasses that reads "WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER" in the gym in Final Destination 3 (2006)

Kat, Final Destination 2 (2003)

Kat is almost killed in a car accident as a pipe stabs through the back of the car, narrowly missing her. Her legs end up trapped, and as the rescue team tries to cut her out, they accidentally activate the airbag, which shoves her head back into the sharp pipe, impaling her. This is another fun bait-and-switch, and although it’s not at all subtle, the irony of Kat being ‘rescued’ and killed by something that should protect people from getting hurt in accidents is fun.

Carter, Final Destination (2000)

Right at the end of the film, as we think everyone is safe, a bus goes off track, and knocks down a road sign which in turn causes a huge neon sign to fall. Carter saves his friend by pushing him out of the way, but the sign then swings back and crushes him. This one is quite a lot of fun, and it’s also set in France when you think they’ve got away with it. The sheer size of the neon sign is ridiculous, and the cut to black makes it an amusing end that still leaves us on a cliffhanger.

Isaac, Final Destination 5 (2011)

During a massage/acupuncture session, some incense ashes drop onto a towel, inciting a fire. A huge bottle of alcohol gel spills, which catches fire and spreads throughout the room. Isaac, covered in broken acupuncture needles after falling on the floor, manages to avoid the fire, but a shelf falls over and his head is crushed by a Buddha statue. I feel like this is a lesser version of the tanning beds double-kill (will get onto this one), but it’s still a lot of fun! The swerve doesn’t feel too outlandish, and the kill is satisfying due to the obnoxious nature of the victim.

Olivia, Final Destination 5 (2011)

A classic case of water in the electrics! This causes a laser machine to malfunction during Olivia’s laser eye surgery, increasing the intensity of the beam so it burns through her eye and skin. She manages to free herself, but slips on a button and falls through the window. Certainly a unique one, but I can’t help but feel as though the crashing-through-a-window-and-falling-to-her-death part at the end wasn’t entirely necessary? Sure, it’s dramatic, but I think a lot more could have been done with the laser and within the surgery room itself.

Candice, Final Destination 5 (2011) 

During Candice’s gymnastics session, a fellow gymnast steps on a loose screw, causing her to fall and knock over a bowl of chalk. This obscures Candice’s view, throwing her off balance and, with the help of dodgy equipment, she flies off the bars and breaks her spine. This one is pretty horrible to watch. The girl ends up crumpled on the floor, almost folded in half. I like that, although there are some red herrings in the set-up (e.g. the classic Final Destination leaking-pipe-and-exposed-wire combo), there is a sufficient pay-off.

Rory, Final Destination 2 (2003)

When Kat dies, she drops a cigarette that falls onto a gasoline leak, causing an explosion that blasts a barbed wire fence. The fence flies into Rory, cutting him into pieces. Granted, this one is off the back of another death, but the fact that it’s not just the explosion, but being chopped into bits by a barbed wire fence that does it is a nice touch. Very amusing!

Rory after the fence cuts him into pieces in Final Destination 2 (2003)

Andy, The Final Destination (2009)

A lever is switched inside Andy’s mechanic’s garage, causing a car to almost drive into him. It’s a good fake out. Then, the ACTUAL death is moments later, due to a carbon dioxide canister firing into him, and shoving him through a metal grid fence. The combination of the flying canister and Andy being turned into bloody cubes through the fence is a great level of ludicrous and fun. Similar to Rory’s death, but rated slightly higher due to the canister.

Carter, The Final Destination (2009)

Not to be confused with protagonist Carter from the first film! This Carter’s lucky horseshoe knocks his truck radio on, and a beer can knocks his handbrake, causing the truck to start moving. When he tries to stop it, a hook with a chain on it knocks him over and the truck starts dragging him along the road. It also ignites due to the friction so he’s set on fire, and then the truck explodes. Yeah, this one is necessarily complex, but it’s certainly a spectacle to watch, with all the flames and whatnot. Also, extra points for the guy being a violent racist, so his death is even more satisfying to watch for that reason. Seeing his burned, detached face land on the lawn is gnarly.

Hunt, The Final Destination (2009)

Hunt drops his lucky coin into a swimming pool that is being drained due to his disposing of a kid’s water gun in a way that knocked a lever to drain the pool. He dives in to retrieve his coin and is sucked into the drain, which disembowels him. This is a well done and justified death. Firstly, the character is an asshole and is technically facing consequences for bullying a child who was just having a bit of fun in the pool. Secondly, there’s the irony of losing his lucky coin. Thirdly, when he is sucked into the drain, the pipe bursts and sprays his blood and guts everywhere. It’s a nasty one!

Ms Lewton, Final Destination (2000)

Ms Lewton is having a chill evening at home when her mug cracks so liquid drips into her computer. The computer then explodes, as they do, and a shard of glass flies out and cuts her throat. She slips on blood and falls, trying to grab a tea towel from the kitchen counter to stem the blood flow. Instead manages to pull down a whole block of knives which impale her. A chair falls and pushes the knife deeper in, and then her entire house explodes! This one is an absolute hoot! There are so many steps to it, it’s completely ridiculous and unnecessary in the best possible way.

Evan, Final Destination 2 (2003)

Evan’s apartment is set on fire due to spilling oil on the hob AND accidentally putting a fridge magnet in the microwave. He’s unable to put it out because he gets his hand stuck in the garbage disposal trying to get a ring out of it. After escaping the burning building, Evan slips on noodles he previously threw out of the window and gets impaled by a ladder. This one has a very similar vibe to Ms Lewton’s death in the first film, but it’s even more of a step up. As well as being insane and drawn-out, the set-up is good, particularly Evan throwing the noodles out of the window.

Evan lying on the ground, about to be impaled by a ladder in Final Destination 2 (2003)

Tim, Final Destination 2 (2003)

Tim goes to the dentist and almost dies from the oxygen turning off and getting choked by a plastic fish (don’t even ask). If you think it’s over, think again! As Tim leaves the building, he chases some pigeons and they fly into machinery and construction workers, causing a huge platform of glass to fall and squash him. Now, this one is absolutely hilarious. Again, the build-up is so extended and then there’s the total swerve between entirely leaving the first scene. There’s irony in the fact that one of the main characters’ attempts to save Tim causes him to disrupt the pigeons. Also, the glass didn’t look that thick and didn’t fall that far, so how on earth it completely smashed Tim’s body into a pulp I will never know.

Ashley and Ashlyn, Final Destination 3 (2006)

And here we have our top spot: death by tanning booth! Either Ashley or Ashlyn (I can’t tell the difference, but I think that’s the point) leaves a slushie on the counter and turns the temperature up in the room, which causes a pool of condensation from the outside of the cup to form and drip down into machinery. This in turn raises the temperature of the tanning beds, eventually setting them on fire, and causing both girls to burn to death. Various objects knocking over also cause a shelf to fall and lodge between both tanning beds in utter defiance of physics so they’re trapped in there. This is a unique situation and complicated set-up, but being based in a relatively mundane setting is a nice juxtaposition. The joint nature of it, and both girls being trapped as they burn to death, is really quite horrifying. It certainly made me cringe. Additionally, the cut from the two tanning beds to their two coffins is fantastic.

So there we have it! All thirty-four Final Destination deaths ranked—phew! With a sixth film in the works, it seems there will be more ridiculous deaths to eventually add to this list, but for now, I hope you enjoyed this one! After all, life’s too short, so you might as well have a bit of fun with it.

Written by Robin Moon

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