Review: Final Destination 5
PLOT: After having a terrible vision of a collapsing suspension bridge, one man saves many of his coworkers’ lives right before the bridge falls to the water below. This of course is a Final Destination movie, and we all know that death doesn’t like to be cheated. One by one, the survivors suffer a series of gruesome accidents only to find that there may be another way to save themselves from a bloody fate. In the end, number five in the franchise revives the once original horror series to one of this summer’s best horror outings.
A funny thing happened on the way to FINAL DESTINATION 5. To be honest, a series of splatstick comedic, yet gruesome deaths didn’t seem that appealing going into the theatre this time around. The desire to watch flickering candles and other signs of the grim reaper didn’t feel that stimulating after catching the yawn inducing THE FINAL DESTINATION (Part 4). Yet after I sat down and the fourth sequel began, the interest returned. As early as the “best of kills from the franchise” opening credits, it felt there may be something special here. In fact, there is something very special in what is not only the best installment since the original, but by far the best 3D of the summer. This is all sorts of broken glass, body parts and you name it flying in your face gore, and it is fun as hell.
The horrible accident that claims a number of lives this time around is a massive suspension bridge, which is scary enough as it is. When one young man saves his coworkers after having one of the FD famous visions, the good old reaper once again comes to take a few souls. While the deaths on and off the bridge are bloody well impressive, it helps that the cast is a likable bunch that is not hindered (too much) by stereotypes and annoyances. The survivors this time around are quite a talented twosome, with Nicholas D’Agosto and Emma Bell creating a very charismatic leading couple. The script by Eric Heisserer puts the focus on character near as much as the first film, without sacrificing the thrill ride quality of a Final Destination film in 3D.
Speaking of character, D’Agosto sure makes for a solid leading man who must deal with the terrifying vision of death and destruction. It would be easy for him to take it too far or not far enough. Yet he and his girlfriend Molly (Bell) have a surprisingly real relationship that helps anchor the movie when it gets deep into the guts and gore of it all.
Tony Todd is also back as well he should be. This is as much his franchise as it is the foreboding sense of doom. This much too knowledgeable coroner understands what is happening, and provides a little eerie explanation as to what is happening to those who escaped the grand design. Todd is the perfect horror movie leading man, and this series was truly missing something not utilizing this fascinating actor. He seems right at home in the role, and it is refreshing that he has returned.
It was also refreshing to see David Koechner and Courtney B. Vance adding a little credibility to the proceedings. Koechner as the company supervisor and Vance as the suspicious Agent Block who is investigating the bizarre accidents and both performances are terrific. The rest of the cast including Arlen Escarpeta, PJ Byrne, Ellen Wroe, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood and Miles Fisher should also be commended. This is one of the most amiable groups of fodder to show up in a horror flick in some time.
Director Steven Quale directs Final Destination 5 knowing full well what made the original as creepy as it was. Sure it ups the ante on the gore. Death gets pretty creative this time around, and nearly every single kill is cringe worthy, yet there is more to it than that. The suspense leading to the characters demise is enormously intense. In fact, it is downright excruciating at times. From a single nail on a balancing beam to a nightmarish massage there are several moments that will shock and disturb. When the producers claimed this to be darker than the painfully disappointing forth film, they weren’t kidding.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 manages to pay tribute to the original, yet still amp up the gruesomeness on every level. The 3D works as it should in a film like this, especially with the witty opening credits. Frankly, this is the best example of 3D there has been in a very long time. FD5 is a success on every level, from the insurmountable tension, surprisingly solid performances and inventive gore shots, five times looks to be a charm for this successful series. Death has truly gotten better with age, and this time he may have a few “twists” up his sleeve.