As “Final Destination 5” begins, so does the opening titles credits sequence; which is probably one of the coolest I’ve seen not only out of the entire 5-film series, but also out of any modern horror flick at all. It’s the sort of radical, charged, energetic work of high-power technology that gets my blood pumping for the rest of the picture to come; and fortunately, all that built up anticipation was not for nothing. There’s plenty more to the picture than just an awesome opener, although I suppose the ready detractors and haters of the franchise will be far too blind to see that. No matter, the film was made for gorehounds and genre fans, by gorehounds and genre fans; so if you’re in the crowd that it’s aiming to please, you most likely will not leave the movie disappointed or even the slightest bit let down. If you’re like me and you have certain expectations whenever you go into a movie that’s either like this or within the same franchise; a smile will take no time to grace your silly face.
It’s an ancient, long-running tradition of the “Final Destination” films to also start out rather strong with a provocative and completely over-the-top opening sequence; and it would seem that all but the fourth entry – hilariously dubbed “THE Final Destination” – are completely capable of delivering the insane and gruesome goods. The fifth installment in the franchise starts off with a very well-done bridge collapse scene; in which the same old formula of one character – the hero (Nicholas D’Agosto) – predicting the possible outcome of the tragic incident. The hero is on a bus with his co-workers, on their way someplace, although they never get there, so who cares where it was? Anyways, yeah; the bridge successfully collapses, just like in the deadly premonition, although the hero is able to save his friends and acquaintances from their gory deaths.
But we know how the story goes from there; and it almost seems like “Final Destination 5” knows it. One by one, the inanimate and un-seeable force known as Death picks off the survivors one by one; with Tony Todd always lurking nearby the crime scene to look creepy and ultimately pick up the mess. And of course, the hero will be one of the last ones standing; if not THE last one standing overall. But you know…when it comes to these formula plots; I’m not bothered, it’s a good formula for a movie like this. It’s not the sort of movie that you can call high art, or even good cinema; but good entertainment it is, and it certainly provokes the popping of the popcorn.
As usual, I came here for the gory deaths. These are often elaborate, colorful, and even laugh-out-loud funny; there’s a tongue-in-cheek aura to the stylization of such scenes, and it makes them all the more fun to watch, in spite of all the blood spilled (and believe me, for this installment especially, that’s a lot of blood). Take for example a scene where an arrogant chubby bastard goes to a massage parlor and partakes in an acupuncture session; left alone there with needles in all parts of his body, with Death lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce in the form of nasty coincidence. In this case, the fat-ass falls off from his table and onto the needles that pierce his very flesh onto the gasoline-drenched floor below him. The room catches fire (obviously), but in the end, it’s a statue of Buddha that means goodnight for the fat man.
I mention this scene, among others, because it’s most definitely an instant favorite as far as the deaths in this series – which is all about the deaths and the kills and the gory goodness of it all – go. There are a few other really good ones, like the demise of a young beauty (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) by way of laser eye surgery, and a gymnastics session that goes horribly, horribly wrong. I could go on and on about all the scenes that I liked; but I live in constant fear of spoiling too much in my reviews, so as far as those little details (that could potentially spoil the movie for all who consider themselves a curious party) go, I’ll stop right there. But I’m not (quite) done yet.
“Final Destination 5” gives you exactly what you want and expect from a film of its kind; it’s bloody, it’s messy (it attempts to blend the good ol’ camp of the other films and the taut suspense of the first), and it’s highly entertaining in a stupid, guilty pleasure sort of way. If you’re looking for good acting or even good storytelling (truly, the only twist on the general idea of the series that’s presented here is the ability to sacrifice someone else’s life for your own), then you might want to look elsewhere; but I admire the work done by director Steven Quale, who makes damn good use of 3D technology. This is a well-filmed, thrilling, suspenseful, and absolutely balls-out gruesome piece of work; and it won’t appeal to all audiences, but it’s a very solid night at the movies. It is what it is; a sleazy exploitation of pop-out gore effects, hot (but clothed) women, and classic horror clichés. It proves that, if under the direction of a very talented man or woman, even an idea as absurd as the one presented in the “Final Destination” films can be magically transformed into some impressive and entertaining eye candy. I wonder where they’ll take the premise next.