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The Horror Movie Death That Fills Me With the Most Anxiety Is Still the Highway Scene in Final Destination 2

I haven't driven behind a log truck ever since

 

Final Destination

Spoilers for the entire Final Destination franchise

As we get closer to Halloween I’ve been thinking about my favorite horror franchises and whether or not they still scare me the way they did when I first saw them. This leads to me having the occasional “I can’t believe I had trouble sleeping after watching this, lol” response, as effects don’t always hold up, and certain horror icons have a lot more one-liners than I remember them having.

However, there are times when I come across, well—I’ll let Twitter explain.

So let’s talk about the Final Destination movies, more specifically, Final Destination 2.

Traumatic Transportation Simulator

The Final Destination franchise is all about cheating death. Death, apparently, has a quota to fill, and if you manage to avoid a plane crash, highway disaster, malfunctioning roller coaster, raceway accident, or bridge collapse that was meant for you, then Death is gonna find a more Rube Goldberg way to kill you. There’s always a character who gets a premonition about how everyone will die, and that character spends the rest of the movie trying to prove that they’re telling the truth while they try to save everyone from Death’s permanent embrace.

Over the course of the series, you begin to try and figure out how someone is going to die, and it usually doesn’t turn out the way you think it will. The deaths get more over the top as the series goes on and, admittedly, lose what made them so horrifying in the first place: how they occur in familiar places and under extremely ordinary circumstances. Sure, I got a good chuckle out of the racist asshat biting it in Final Destination 4, but it’s the deaths that happened early in the franchise that stuck with me so much that I side-eye certain kinds of vehicles in real life.

So about the highway disaster in Final Destination 2

In the second film, our protagonist, Kimberly Corman, has a vision where logs come loose from a semi-truck, causing a major accident on the highway. One of the logs smashes into a police officer’s window, which creates a series of events that kills numerous others. A motorcyclist is killed by his own bike, cars flip over, some explode on impact. It’s a terrifying mess.

What’s effective about this scene is that it feels like this could actually happen on a highway. I imagine that’s what it would look like if you came face to face with a log crashing through your window, and that would, in turn, create a chaotic sequence of events because no one would know what to do.

While the plane crash in the first movie could also happen (as seen in the first movie and the fifth one), there was a definite “you’re just being paranoid” air to it since Alex Browning was so superstitious. This second disaster, however, just sort of… happened. There are hints to the upcoming Death parade, of course, if you know to look for them (which, at the time, I didn’t), but it’s not like Kimberly started her trip in a nervous sweat the way Alex did.

You expect something bad to happen because Alex was already stressed about every little thing, like the song playing in the bathroom before he left, and his birthday being the same as the departure time for his flight.

This second disaster is also a lot more detailed, taking the time to show the individual deaths of multiple people. You don’t just get the initial hit, you get everything, right down to someone being on fire as they try and get their seatbelt off.

Also.

I’m, um.

More likely to be on a highway than on a plane.

The highway disaster is one of those moments that I didn’t quite realize stuck with me until getting in a car and seeing a log truck pass by. Without thinking about it, I made sure that I wasn’t driving directly behind it. I didn’t really realize why, but to this day, whenever I’m in a car (driving or riding as a passenger) log trucks just make me paranoid. It’s not just me, either, as my wife will quietly change lanes so she’s not behind the truck.

And as we can see, from the tweets I shared, an entire generation of movie watchers have just come to accept the fact that log trucks make them nervous.

It’s a good example of how effective horror can be. It’s not always the monster in the closet or the lingering spirit that resides in that house that was too good to be true. Sometimes, it’s taking a look at something you do every day and going, “Well, what if this happened?”

Are we overthinking it?

Maybe, but there’s no harm in staying as far back as you can from trucks carrying a heavy load.

(Image: New Line Cinema)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)