Review – Final Destination 5
– by Julia Brown
Attending the advanced screening of Final Destination 5 (in 3D) proved to be an eye-opening – or should I say eye-popping – experience.
The latest instalment in the Final Destination horror/thriller series, FD5 is not the best horror flick ever, but given the limits of its genre and the series itself, it doesn’t leave the audience wishing that they were dead either.
Certainly the people at the screening I attended were very appreciative of the inventive ways the film-makers contrived to kill off each character. In fact, after almost all of the in-your-face-3D kills, there was fairly loud applause. This level of appreciation for creative screen-deaths was both disconcerting and fascinating to a non-fan-girl like me, but it does illustrate how well the writers (which included Eric Heisser, who also wrote last year’s Nightmare on Elm Street) and the director Steven Quale (who served as James Cameron’s right-hand man on Avatar) know their audience, and what that audience really wants to see; namely, a big, bloody mess, but also an innovative bloody mess, naturally.
There’s really not a lot to say about the movie, plot-wise, since it follows a similar formula to all of the movies that came before it – that is, the main character gets a (highly vivid) premonition about an impending disaster that is set to kill lots of people, but because of said vision, the visionary manages to save themselves plus a few other “lucky ones” from dying in an inevitably horrid sort of way. The catch being that, as the series’ only recurring character (played with creepy perfection by Tony Todd) likes to say, “Death doesn’t like being cheated.” All of the characters’ numbers are literally up, and Death will find a way to get them, come hell or high-water (or hooks, or fire, or even acupuncture needles).
The only alteration to the formula in FD5 is that some lip-service is paid towards the idea that if those who are fated to die can manage to kill someone else before they die, then Death will give them a pass. But that idea never really gets explored properly, so in the end, it’s the essentially the same movie the producers have been making since 2000, when the first Final Destination came out.
The only creativity comes via the ways in which the main characters die. The opening sequence, involving what Vancouverites will recognize as Lion’s Gate Bridge, is pretty jaw-dropping in terms of the special effects and the choreography (if one can call it that) of deaths. These are gory to be sure, but the way each character meets their maker also occurs in-sequence, like a kind of macabre ballet.
The character development is quite good for a movie of this kind, in the sense that you almost actually care when certain characters bite the biscuit. And the black humour-laced dialogue is on-point most of the time – the number of laughs generated throughout the film at my screening was quite high, especially considering the film is not really meant to be a comedy per se. Not that it is as camp as some of its predecessors, but the dialogue will certainly make you laugh, albeit a bit nervously. Plus, the ending includes a few clever references to the first film, which is always great for the more in-the-know audience members.
If watching people die in interesting ways on-screen is your bag of chips, you won’t be disappointed by Final Destination 5 (3D). However, if you have never bothered to see any of the previous films, chances are you will happily live the rest of your (hopefully long) life never seeing this one.