It saddens me to report that stuntman-turned-director David R. Ellis has died. Ellis directed movies that would never be labelled as prestige pictures, but which I hold up as great examples of perfect popcorn entertainment. His film Final Destination 2, for example, has some of the best gore effects and most creative death scenes I have ever seen, and the way the scenes were accomplished is just as entertaining as the crazy scenes themselves!
Ellis also directed Snakes on a Plane, which is another terrific example of a b-movie that loves being a b-movie. His films Cellular and Shark Night 3D were similarly entertaining schlock. Ellis also worked as a second unit director on a number of famous titles, including Fatal Attraction, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, The Perfect Storm, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Matrix Reloaded, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
So let us pay tribute to the late David R. Ellis. Few directors have been so unabashedly ham-fisted yet simultaneously fun. The details of his death have yet to be released. I only hope he passed on in a more peaceful way than the characters in his films. He’ll be missed.