I think of the Final Destination log scene every time I pass a truck carrying wood. Every single time.
A series of unfortunate events. No, not the Jim Carrey film – not even the Netflix show adaptation. We’re talking about some of the most shockingly gruesome deaths we’ve seen in horror films so far, and they all belong to the same franchise. While most slasher flicks rely on some sort of unstoppable killer or paranormal curse, the best deaths in the Final Destination series are those that belong to the realm of the mundane. That’s the series of unfortunate events we were talking about before: the series is so scary because, even if some of the later entries became a bit too far-fetched, they still felt like they could theoretically happen to you.
That Gruesome Death
One of the most iconic scenes in the whole deadly franchise has to be the infamous Route 23 log truck disaster – also known as the reason why most millennials still refuse to drive behind a log truck. It’s a spectacular scene that’s almost ten minutes of uninterrupted chaos and serves as the perfect introduction to what to expect from the franchise’s first sequel.
It could even be said that the ominous log truck has become the face of the franchise – even more than the explosive aircraft that started it all. For starters, the setting of the log truck pile-up is much more common than the plane one; we all have to get on the highway at least twice a week, but how frequently do we board an international flight?
That’s when Final Destination is at its most effective: when it plays with our everyday fears. I’ll be the first to admit that, even though I’m a massive horror movie buff, I still have second thoughts about watching most of the Final Destination series. Even something as over-the-top violent as Saw can be less frightening than knowing that, on any given day, a runaway truck might just obliterate me.
It’s pure, unfiltered horror and the filmmakers behind Final Destination 2 knew exactly how to frame it for maximum effect. This is the most detailed accident in the film series by far. While most of the opening acts in the franchise happen quite fast, this one lingers on some of the visceral deaths, making the entire ordeal feel even more gruesome than it had any right to be.
Perhaps one of the most shocking moments comes when one of the dislodged logs penetrates a police officer’s windshield, with bloody results. It’s a terrifying sight that, sadly, has happened in real life before. This is also another reason why this scene is one of the best in modern horror: it ties back to the origins of horror literature as a sort of cautionary tale.
It could be argued that the log scene has taught millennials – and anyone who has watched Final Destination 2 – more about road safety than any driving school ever has. It’s a simple yet effective anecdote: don’t drive near log trucks, because, without any notice at all, all hell could break loose.
As the series progressed, Final Destination had to up the ante with its kills, making the movies feel like real-life versions of the Looney Tunes sometimes. However, for every over-the-top death scene and outlandishly complicated murder plot in the series, we’ll always have that log truck scene haunting our days.
Well, that, and the airbag scene – which also causes all sorts of automobile-related paranoia in fans of the series. Perhaps riding the bus would be safer? Oh, wait, Final Destination 5 already took care of that, too. Guess I’ll just walk from now on.
Rewatch the Final Destination 2 log scene again if you dare: