Theatrical Review: Final Destination 5

A few employees of the Presage Paper Company are getting ready to hop on board a bus for a company retreat.  In short order, we’re given quick introductions to our key players, with the main focus being on a young man named Sam and his girlfriend, Molly.  Right before the trip is getting ready to start, Molly tells Sam that she’s leaving him and it’s primarily because Molly doesn’t think she can compete with Sam’s other main passion, which is cooking.  Sam is waffling about going to Paris for some specialized training and Molly just doesn’t think she has much to offer compared to that.  Still, they proceed on their trip.  The bus is midway across a crowded bridge and is stopped thanks to a construction project going on.  Then, epic disaster strikes, as the bridge begins to collapse with Sam and our cast meeting grisly ends until… Sam realizes that he’s just had a vision of something that’s about to happen.  He quickly gets his friends off the bus, even though they think he’s a little off his nut.  Disaster does strike, and Sam and his friends narrowly avoid the ends that he foresaw.

Welcome to Final Destination 5. For fans of this series (like me), this set-up is pretty much by the numbers and right in line with the previous films.  As these movies go, when people cheat death, death then finds a way of catching up and restoring it’s original intentions in some pretty inventive ways.  The Final Destination movies are definitely B-movie, exploitation thrill rides, and while there are varying degrees of satisfaction over the series, I still tend to think that they’re all a lot of fun for horror movie fans.  The biggest part of the fun being all of the Rube Goldberg-esque ways in which death does catch up to those that cheated it.

Like the fourth film in the series, The Final Destination, Final Destination 5 has been totally shot in 3D.  I thought the 3D in the fourth movie was terrific, so that was how I chose to see this one, and I’m certainly glad I did.  This is a spectacular use of the gimmick, even better than the fourth movie.  This excels with some truly eye-popping experiences, but it just doesn’t end there, the immersive depth of scenes are just as compelling and both effects are certainly shown off in tremendous form right at the start of the film.  Final Destination 5 is also being shown in 2D, and I can certainly understand if people chose to see it that way.  But, if you do, you’re cheating yourself of something that’s really a lot of fun.

While the 3D is the real star of Final Destination 5, it doesn’t stop there.  For fans of the series, you get a very nice twist of events at the very end, which I really can’t go into further without spoiling what happens.  Still, it’s a very nice way to further tie this in to the series, beyond it’s initial premise.

The previous films in the series were headed by either the team of Glen Morgan and James Wong (the first and third movies) or Snakes On A Plane director David Ellis (the second and fourth movies- back in theatres soon with another 3D exploitation film, Shark Night 3D).  Steven Quale, who was a second unit director on Avatar and a regular part of James Cameron’s team in other movies, takes on the reins with Final Destination 5 and I think he’s got a terrific eye for this stuff.  Beyond it’s 3D,  this is really well shot and paced.  I certainly look forward to what Quale does next.

Final Destination 5 won’t win any big awards for acting, but still it’s cast does a serviceable job.  Nicholas D’Agosto and Emma Bell play Sam and Molly and they’re certainly likable characters.  Miles Fisher is channelling Tom Cruise through his performance as Sam’s supervisor and friend, Peter, and again, it’s serviceable for the film.  The most recognizable faces are veteran character actor David Koechner, who plays the a-hole boss at Presage, Courtney B. Vance, who plays an agent who’s investigating the disaster, and Tony Todd, who reprises his role of coroner William Bludworth from the first three films in the series.

Final Destination 5
was just a lot of fun.  Still, I’d only recommend this if you’re a fan of the series.  I think if you’ve already got a bias against the series or just plain don’t like horror films, Final Destination 5 isn’t going to do anything to really change your mind.  But if you’re a fan, you’re in for a fun ride with a terrific twist ending, and a ride that I’d very much recommend seeing in 3D.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

14. August 2011 by Darren Goodhart
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