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Teen Devon Sawa is all set to go to France on a school trip but, just after boarding the plane, he has a premonition of disaster.

He goes noisily to pieces and is thrown off the aircraft with six other students (including Ali Larter, Seann William Scott and Kerr Smith). Then, just after take-off, the plane explodes…

The film’s opening 20 minutes builds up some awesome suspense, but after that the story piles on the gory special effects and gruesome surprises.

It becomes clear that Sawa and his fellow escapees are not going to get away with cheating death that easily as the Grim Reaper  picks them off one by one…

With danger lurking in their homes and on every street corner, Sawa and his diminishing circle of friends have their work cut out trying to figure out just how they might stay alive.

Clever, cruel and briskly paced, this a thoroughly enjoyable ride thanks to the inventiveness of writers Glen Morgan and Jeffrey Reddick, as well as director James Wong, in transforming everyday objects into instruments of ghastly retribution.

The emphasis on black comedy (including a running John Denver gag) does dilute the fear factor, though, and the ending is, literally, a joke.

Four sequels followed but this first film is still the best.