The filmmakers of The Final Destination thought actress Haley Webb seemed like the girl next door, a quality they were looking for in the character of Janet Cunningham, one of a group of friends who escapes death at a race track. This is Haley’s first horror film, and she admits some of the sequences were frightening to shoot.

Janet (Haley Webb) practices her scream! © New Line Cinema
Janet (Haley Webb) practices her scream! © New Line Cinema

Your character gets stuck in a carwash, with the car running through it, was doing that scene terrifying?

Oh yeah, definitely. I was really in that car that was filling up with water to my chest at a really rapid pace.  You exert so much energy that you don’t expect to be out of energy in four seconds. It was about three days filming and it was very, very scary.

How does Janet’s character change throughout this film?

At the beginning of the film, Janet is fairly conservative. She’s focused on being very neat and tidy and pristine, everything is in the right place But as the film progresses, she goes through a transformation. When confront5ed with the possibility of her own death, she realizes the way she’s been going about her life has been a bit too prudish. Instead of giving up, though, she decides to face it head on. She in a certain way, Death sets her free.

Shantel VanSanten and Haley Webb
Lori (Shantel VanSanten) and Janet (Haley Webb) © New Line Cinema

Did you know this franchise before you signed on?

Yeah. I can’t do gore for gore sake, but I do really enjoy this story. I think it’s really creative, I love the fact that [the deaths] happen in order, because there’s always the question, ‘Can you beat Death?’ And I think the story carries the franchise, so I was definitely a fan before, I had seen the movies, because I just enjoyed the concept of it.

Did any of the cast know each other before?

No, none of us really knew each other. I knew Nick in the call back I had for the movie, because they did a chemistry test to see how the characters worked off of each other, and Nick was one of the picks for Hunt. And I just remember being like, ‘Please let this guy get this job,’ because they told me I got it and I was like, ‘Cool. Who got Hunt?’ One of my favorite things was Nick before every single take [in the racing bleachers] would be sitting there with his coin, and then all of a sudden lean over and punch me in the knee.

If you knew you were on some sort of death list would you just party or would you try to do everything you could to stop it?

It’s a tough thing to imagine, but then when it’s really in your face you want to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll be totally fine, it’s my time.’ But then you’re faced with it and you’re just like, ‘Oh great, wow.’ And the first instinct is to be around people that you love.

Now that you’ve done this film do you look at things differently when you go into a room?

Haley Webb and Shantel VanSantelas
Janet (Haley Webb) and Lori (Shantel VanSantelas) © New Line Cinema

It does make you more aware, which isn’t necessarily the best thing. The fact of the matter is, there are a number of things that could go wrong right now, and I think that I just have to give that up, I can’t go around thinking, ‘What if this happens, and what if that happens?’ I would drive myself, and everyone around me, insane. So I think it definitely makes you more aware, but not really paranoid if that makes sense.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.