If I were to simply say “Yes, it is another Final Destination film” and leave it at that, would one sentence count as an entire review? It both accurately describes the movie, while also telling everyone whether or not they’ll enjoy it. If I add the word “decent” in front of the series’ title, will that be better? Once you reach number 5 in a series, doesn’t the audience pretty much know what they’re getting into?
Anyway, this is the fifth iteration of the Final Destination franchise. For those still not on-board or completely unaware about how this thing works, here’s the gist: A character prevents the death of him or herself and a few other people. Death gets angry because of this, as it messes up His plans, so He decides to plan their deaths in the most elaborate way possible. The main cast tries to find a loophole, and He picks them off one by one. That’s how it has worked for four films now, and you can’t expect this one to be any different.
The opening sequence is generally a highly complex, massive massacre of practically everyone possible. This time, it happens on a suspension bridge. The bridge breaks, characters try to run for their lives, but almost everyone dies. And then we find out, unsurprisingly, that this scene was actually a vision of Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto). Now it’s a race against time to get off the bridge before it collapses. He saves his girlfriend, best friend, and a couple of other employees that he was traveling with. They’re now marked for death, as they were all supposed to die on the bridge.
Final Destination 5 is a retread of territory that we’ve covered so many times before. I have to wonder if we needed another one of these films. Yes, The Final Destination was supposed to end the series, but since it made money, we get another one here. I anticipate even more, because this is, at the very least, better than the fourth installment. But I have to question how much more can be milked from the series. It’s not like they’re even terribly cheap to produce; these films cost a lot to make compared to a lot of other horror films out there. Massive death sequences cost money to make well.
I still would like to see a return to the way that the first film worked. In it, anything the characters would do acted as a possible trigger for Death to approach them. Lighting a candle or cutting a sandwich in half could be the end of them. In all of the following films, including this one, Death’s plans almost always acted independent of the characters’ actions. No matter what they did, Death’s plans were going to happen. Sure, that makes more sense from Death’s perspective, but it creates less tension for the audience.
I think this is the most gruesome and gory Final Destination yet, although if you put that on the poster, I don’t know if you would entice or repel more people. There are many scenes which made me want to close my eyes, as I knew that body parts were going to be punctured by sharp things. Blood is also frequent, although the most tense part of the film was bloodless, despite being very, very intense. I hadn’t been this thrilled from a Final Destination movie since the first one, even if it was just one or two moments which caused me to feel that way.
Actually, if we’re basing the film on how uncomfortable it’ll make you feel, this one is the best in the series. For instance, you’ll probably want to avoid Final Destination 5 if you’re going to have laser eye surgery, or if you’re going for an acupuncture session later in the day. I don’t even need either of those, and the scenes featuring them made me shiver. While not all of the deaths are particularly creative, at least most of them made me feel something other than boredom.
The unfortunate part of Final Destination 5 is that it tries to bring in a couple of subplots to the whole “Death is going to kill us” story. There are three, from my count. The first involves the relationship between Sam and his (ex?) girlfriend, Molly (Emma Bell). There’s a great deal of effort put into them being a couple, but it just falls flat. Next, we have the FBI make a return, this time sending just one agent (Courtney B. Vance). This was the weakest part of Final Destination, and it still doesn’t work after eleven years. Finally, we have the new way that the characters are going to try to escape Death’s clutches, although it only really factors in during the last twenty minutes.
This film also didn’t seem to take itself too seriously, injecting some much-needed humor into the series. I laughed fairly often at the attempted jokes, which is always a bonus. You mix that in with really uncomfortable death sequences, and you have yourself a good movie. A sick, morally depraved movie that’s sole purpose for existing is to kill random characters, but a good movie nonetheless. Oh, and look out for the twist ending, which was definitely the best ending of the series so far.
Final Destination 5 is a well-made Final Destination movie. It has death sequences that, while not always tense, are almost always uncomfortable. It has characters that aren’t incredibly stupid, the special effects are solid, and it contains enough humor to keep the tone light. It also allows itself open enough to serve as an introduction to newcomers, even if the first film still is likely a better starting place, if only because you’ll get a lot of references. It tried to jam too much into its brief running time, but it is still quite an enjoyable “Let’s kill everyone” flick.