Final Destination 5

The world does not need another FINAL DESTINATION 5 review but look how it’s happening anyway. I’d have reason number one million to hate myself if I neglected to express how impressed I was with it. It’s not every day that a horror franchise lives up to its full potential and the accomplishment seems even more miraculous considering this is a fifth installment of a series whose fourth was its worst. I was prepared for a decent enough time but not prepared for one of the most satisfying endings I’ve ever encountered. Maybe it’s best that FD 5 is currently doing lackluster business and making a future installment less likely because a better cap off to the series would be nearly impossible to achieve. I mean it as a compliment when I say stick a fork in it.

I understand that not everybody is a fan and that makes perfect sense. One need only witness a real catastrophe to know they are far from entertaining. As for myself, the Chicken Little, Cassandra complex, there by the grace of God go I, step on a crack and break your mother’s back, bad omen paranoia that imbues the series speaks loudly to me. Sure, the films can be easily accused of repetition, the franchise has built its own signature structure it adheres to steadily, but the presence of death in the best installments trumps that of most standard horror fare in that it plays by its own rules and fairness be damned. The fantasy of morality and virtue offering a flashlight through the tunnel is nonexistent. When your number is up, your number is up and to quote my dentist, “It may hurt a little.”

FD5’s opening suspension bridge disaster is as extravagant and convincing as a bad dream. There are plenty of 3-D naysayers out there, so allow me my soapbox for dissent. I don’t know if my eyes are extra responsive due to extensive training from MAGIC EYE books or the intake of a multitude of questionable substances but 3-D works for me big time and when done right it still blows my mind. FD5’s director STEPHEN QUALE is fresh off an apprenticeship with JAMES CAMERON and he clearly knows a thing or two about pushing the 3-D limits. I flinched and I may have ducked a tad too. Be that as it may, what makes this addition to the series truly work has little to do with the accomplished special effects. More importantly, I think, is the return to form on the storytelling front and a willingness to leave the door open for real darkness to seep back in.

I should be careful not to oversell, FD5 is refreshingly gratifying and superiorly creative but not so much a masterpiece as simply way better than you’d think. The characters are older and less annoying and seem to have interests outside of being blown up and I was happy to be able to tell them apart from each other. TONY TODD returns as the mysterious coroner and the effect of his creepy presence I wouldn’t underestimate. For long time fans of the series, there are dozens of fun nods to the previous films and the delicious ending I mentioned earlier is far more than the standard cheap rug pull. It will have you backtracking through the rest of the film in your head and realizing just how well earned it is. The wheel is not reinvented but it’s certainly a pleasure seeing it spinning so smoothly and taking turns you wouldn’t anticipate. The series trademark deaths are kicked up a few notches too. In fact one left me seriously disturbed well after the fact. Wow, I can still find myself squeamishly grossed out by witnessing a horrible death. Who knew? Perhaps the best evidence of the film’s success is the way I walked home from the theater: cautiously.

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Taylor
9 years ago

This and Saw are the two current horror series that I gave up on after one film. If I was to choose between those two to give a second shot and buckle down to watch all the way through from the beginning, I’d pick the Final Destinations in a heartbeat. From what I know about the movies, I’m sure the Rube Goldberg-ian death scenes can be fun to watch play out.

I don’t really know what put me off about the first one when I saw it in the theater…I just remember laughing the whole time for (what I interpreted at the time to be) the wrong reasons.

Taylor
9 years ago

Also, they failed as hip title-comers-up-with by not calling this latest one 5nal Destination.

I can still hold out hope for The Fast and the Furi6…

Taylor
9 years ago

Forgot to mention, even not being into the first one when I saw it, I did appreciate how much fun Tony Todd seemed to be having in his brief appearance. Do any other characters carry over? I know the Ali Larter (that’s who it is, right?) character shows up in at least one more after the first.

All I really remember about Saw — other than the very end, which I thought was pretty cool — is feeling embarrassed for Cary Elwes. I’ve always liked him as an actor, and he was shockingly bad in it.

Maybe if my experiences with the big horror series from the 80s are any indication, I can watch the Saws in about 10 years (whether I like them as movies or not) for some 2000s nostalgia.

And now I’m trying to come up with other possible porn titles, and all I can think of is “Final Teste-nation” (tagline: “Death is coming”).

Taylor
9 years ago

Tony’s Disaster-mares! (Or whatever his character’s name is.) I’d watch the hell out of that.

Taylor
9 years ago

The sad thing is, I could totally see them doing a reality show a la “World’s Wildest Police Chases” hosted by Tony Todd in a morgue.

knobgobbler
knobgobbler
9 years ago

The Final Destination movies are something of a guilty pleasure for me.
I’ll rant about crap like Saw and Hostel that just leave me feeling angry and suckered…. and 1000 Ways To Die, which strikes me as a mean-spirited blight… but I’ll still show up for every FD installment.
Despite most all of the fun coming from the gruesome deaths of the characters at least they lack Jigsaw’s annoying sermons and Hostel’s bait & switch transgressions (the H movies promise such darkness but never deliver). With the FD movies you know what you can expect and you can trust you’ll get a sizeable serving of it.
I think I’m even going to break my boycott and go see this one in 3D… because it seems exactly the right sort of thing to be in 3D.

Chris
Chris
9 years ago

I absolutely loved this movie. I took my dad to see it (as we’re both suckers for the series, even digging the last one), and we both had a blast, laughing all the way through (despite dirty looks from others in the theater. What? Were we supposed to be scared by it?) and having so much fun.

The greatest part (aside from all you pointed out, Unk. That 3D was great!) for me was the way the deaths were twisted, so you’d expect one thing and get something totally different. That kept me on my toes the whole time (for the record, I loved the death in the gymnasium. How messed up was that?).

The only problem I had with the film was that Todd’s Bludworth wasn’t given enough to do. Just like the other installments, it’s show up, act cryptic, and pump out a bit of death info. I wanted more backstory for the guy, as I think he deserves it. So in that respect, I’d love a Bludworth TV show. The closest we’ve got on the tube now is Spike TV’s “1000 Ways To Die”, which is an awesome show, but it, like the rest of the world, needs more Tony Todd.