How many times can you watch people die in elaborate and incredible ways before the idea just becomes stale and flavorless? I have no answer really but this is a question that can be mirrored for other famous slasher movies and even modern franchises (ahem, SAW) that just keep going and going without switching things up in a worthwhile fashion. At this point it’s no secret what the FINAL DESTINATION movies have going for them and with each sequel they lose more and more of what made the first couple as fun or interesting. FINAL DESTINATION 5 does however try to at least give the series a shot in the arm, but the medicine in the end wasn’t quite enough to cure the series of all its symptoms.
I’m at somewhat of a crossroads because I can’t decide if people actually go to these movies for plot or if they like me just want to shut their brain off for an hour and a half and hope the filmmakers can surprise me with some elaborate death scenes. So to satisfy anyone that wants plot what we have is a group of employees on their way to a company retreat when one has a premonition of a bridge collapsing and the violent deaths of each of them. When the employee snaps out of it he warns everyone and a small group follow suit just in time to see he was telling the truth. Soon death returns to claim each one of them that wasn’t meant to survive the collapse in a series of freak accidents.
The only real difference between this installment to the others is spoiler happy info that I always vow to never reveal in my reviews. Suffice to say that it was easily the most interesting aspect of the film aside from the actual ending and that if I remember right the third film was leading toward before death stepped in. It’s an idea I really dig when it comes to moving the series forward, but here it’s only half realized so I’m hoping it becomes more prominent in any sequels that are born from this. Also, the ending- bravo for going there even if I’m not 100% on what lead the filmmakers to going there outside of tying it even more into the series and just being a cool idea- still, I applaud the decision.
For any director that steps in on this series, take note and realize there is no need for recognizable faces in these movies. Unless it’s those trolls from Jersey Shore- who doesn’t want to see them die horrible violent deaths (in a movie of course) – there’s no reason to cast even semi known actors. Not that anyone here is an A list star or anything, but on some level recognizing an actor made me focus more on how low their acting sunk rather than how they were going to die.
Part of the fun in the series was how much the filmmakers went out of their way setting up all the dangerous scenarios in each death scene to build the tension and then deliver the death blow often from something we were overlooking or a combination of everything that was set up. The gymnastics death scene here is a great example of what I’m talking about and then as the film went on the deaths were less and less developed and some were extremely unsatisfying. In theory the set ups were unsettling such as the massage table with the needles or the laser eye treatment but the conclusion of those scenes didn’t live up to the set ups.
The effects of the bridge collapse look really cool at first- when they show larger prices falling into the water it looks really bad. Also one other special effects sequence looked very cool even if the effects were a bit cartoonish. The gore on the other hand still is not quite up to par with other installments. The fact that it was shot for 3D seem to be the Achilles heel because the deaths are shot to show off the 3D so that sharp objects appear to be coming at you rather than amping up the death itself. I’d gladly trade in the 3D for something like a car engine tearing apart the back of a teenager’s head or a body exploding in a sea of blood from being crushed by a sheet of glass. A nice touch during the credits was a montage of deaths from all the other films in the series.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 is a step in the right direction for the franchise but is still lacking in creativity in what makes the series fun- the deaths. There are quite a few moments that the film is deceptive and creates effective tension before delivering a surprising twist but other times it feels like the creativity is thin. FINAL DESTINATION 5 is undeniably fun for what it is but the formula still needs a little tinkering before it can really compete with some of the best horror movies every year.