I’m slightly worried I’m about to die. Before I even put the Final Destination 5 DVD in the player, I had a premonition that it would be about someone foreseeing a terrible event that allows them and a bunch others to survive, followed by an hour of death trying to claim the lives of those who managed to escape its clutches. As I knew all that before the film started playing, going by the rules of the franchise it surely means I’m going to die in an overly elaborate fashion anytime now!
This time around the disaster is a spectacularly collapsing bridge, and it’s a guy called Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) who’s having the premonition, which allows him to lead a bunch of his friends and work colleagues off the bridge just before all hell breaks loose.
Through the first three instalments of Final Destination I was a big fan of the franchise, but my ardour went slightly off the boil after the truly abysmal The Final Destination, which was one of the laziest, stupidest, most boring films I can remember. Thankfully though, while by no means a masterpiece, Final Destination 5 is a return to form.
What The Final Destination forgot is that you can make the death scenes as elaborate as possible, but if what links them together doesn’t keep things moving along in a fun fashion, the film won’t work. Although some of it is a little perfunctory, Final Destination 5 keeps the pace up and its tongue lightly in its cheek, ensuring the 90 minute running time never drags. Also unlike the previous instalment, the film realises that the fun with the deaths isn’t just about having a ridiculously over the top series of events leading to a gory demise, it’s about making absolutely everything around somebody suddenly seem dangerous, so that you don’t know what it’ll be that’ll actually cause the death.
From a gymnastics arena to an acupuncture session, Final Destination 5 certainly has fun knocking people off. First-time feature director Steven Quale spent most of his early career working for James Cameron, doing second-unit working on the likes of Titanic and Avatar. He may not quite have his mentor’s magic touch, but he’s obviously learned how to construct an action sequence and has a firm grasp of horror film grammar.
As with all the Final Destination films after the first one, the cast is pretty much forgettable but they service the plot well. Some may recognise Nicholas D’Agosto from Heroes and Emma Bell from The Waking Dead, while Miles Fisher mainly looks like a pair of eyebrows attached to a shit-eating grin. The film does however find room for Tony Todd to lurk around being ominous in his first appearance in the franchise since Part 2.
Franchise fans will also like the way it tries to move the idea of the movies along, by suggesting a new way people might be able to escape death coming for them. However it’s the final ten minutes that really reveal someone’s actually thought about the film and that there’s a little more to it than first appears, as things come full circle.
Overall Verdict: It might not quite match up to the fun of the first two instalments, but Final Destination 5 is still an entertaining 90 minutes with some wonderfully gory, make you cringe moments.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac