As Angie and I waited for Coughlin she said something that, for whatever reason, stuck with me. “Be aware of your surroundings” in reference to what was the most obvious drug deal ever. Basically be aware because people are crazy and that a drive-by shanking can happen at any moment. That said, I’ve taken it as something different the past decade or so. For me it’s been “Be careful because everything has the potential to be the brutal end of you.” This delightful little thought was instilled in me by the 2000 horror film Final Destination. 11 years and 4 sequels later we have the 5th installment of the franchise, Final Destination 5.
In Final Destination 5 we are introduced to Sam, a drone at a paper factory on the way to a corporate retreat. On the way there Sam has a premonition where he sees not only himself but his co-workers and others die in a freak bridge collapse. He leads a few of his friends and co-workers to safety. They make it but they watch in horror as the bridge collapses; the same way Sam predicted it. The group of co-workers are grateful to cheat death. But their relief is short lived as they realize cheating death is rarely an option and eventually it’ll come back.
Since Final Destination 3 the series has gone slowly downhill. Like most horror series it has gradually deteriorated in quality. It went from an interesting supernatural horror franchise to a fairly mediocre destination for gore hound horror fans. It became the movie to see for some fun deaths for an hour and a half; all the while getting sillier and more tedious with each movie. With all of this in mind I am happy to inform you that the series has very much gone to its roots and delivers a fun but serious entry into the series.
That isn’t to say this is some sort of serious movie commenting on the changing society we live in within this new economic crisis. No it’s more that it’s very much a movie for fans of the franchise. They take out the goofier elements included over the years and keep it more serious and more straight forward. When you watch the movie it very much feels like they wish to “close the book” on the entire series. From the opening credits that highlight the past movies you get the feeling like “They just might be going all out with this one.” Luckily you aren’t too disappointed. They deliver not only one of the biggest opening massacres of the series but some of the more creative deaths of the series. This is no doubt a feat after 4 movies. Even with the usual twist ending they have for every movie this one has a very “full circle” quality to it. As a fan of the series this is very cool to see.
Another cool thing about the movie is that they add to the mythology of the franchise. Since the first entry it has followed a fairly straight forward formula. Lead has a vision of the craziest crap ever, they avoid it, and then they die off in the not quite as cool but still crazy ways. Wash, rinse, repeat. This time around they add a new element, a definitive way to cheat death. If you kill somebody you then have that person’s remaining years of life. This new addition definitely adds some much needed spice to the usual formula.
Another thing added to the movie is 3D. Actually there was 3D for the last installment but it felt more utilized with this movie. In Final Destination 5 it is used not just for some great sight gags but also adding depth; particularly in the opening bridge scene. I’ll be honest, it’s probably one of the best uses of 3D since its resurgence in popularity.
The only real problems with the movie are the standard ones in a young adult led horror movie. The acting is solid but nothing really special. This would be fine if these kids had some character. As it is, there are cinder blocks with more character and back-story. Also at times the plot can feel plodding at times. Of course I really don’t think the audience for the movie is looking for character development. At least nothing besides “This is best friend; here is why there’s a target on his back.”
By no means will this movie convert any new fans. The thing is I don’t think it was meant to. As I said before the movie is for those of us who have been loyal fans of the franchise. It’s for those that have followed the franchise and want finality to this blood soaked saga. Thankfully I can say it definitely delivers in this aspect.
And hey, it gives me a couple new things to fear in my day-to-day life. Thanks guys!