Final Destination 5 * * 1/2

Genre: Horror

Director: Steven Quayle

Writers: Eric Heisserer, Jeffrey Reddick

Cast: Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell, Arlen Escarpeta, Tony Todd

Running Length: 92 minutes

Synopsis: In Final Destination 5, Death is just as omnipresent as ever, and is unleashed after one man’s premonition saves a group of coworkers from a terrifying suspension bridge collapse. But this group of unsuspecting souls was never supposed to survive, and, in a terrifying race against time, the ill-fated group frantically tries to discover a way to escape Death’s sinister agenda.

Review: By this fifth installment, the intentions of the Final Destination franchise are clear – find interesting and macabre ways to kill off all the primary actors one by one, which leaves the door open for another sequel with a brand new cast of fresh faces. Clearly this is a formula that works, because the franchise as a whole has already earned over US$600 million, making it one of the most profitable horror franchises of our time.

It truly is moot to discuss strength of the plot and the thespian skills of the actors in Final Destination 5 (although to be fair, they actually do a semi-decent job), because the film will almost be entirely judged on the death scenes. In this aspect, Final Destination 5 does not disappoint at all. Blatantly misdirecting the audience and pulling out unexpected twists as always, for the target audience these “money shots” will be what they had ponied up good money for. Personally, these sequences largely find the “sweet spot” between being shocking and being macabrely funny, but the intense situations and unabashed gore may prove too unsettling for some (which beggars the question of why they would be watching this movie to begin with).

There’s also the added bonus of some truly funny scenes, one of the most memorable starring a no-nonsense massage therapist cum acupuncturist. This is a welcome return to form as the Final Destination installments that play it straight are the ones which in my opinion fare more poorly. After all, one simply cannot take such a film too seriously, otherwise it defeats the purpose entirely.

Although there is a much vaunted new mechanic to the modus operandi of Death in this sequel, the film essentially fails to capitalize on this, and if not for the denouement, would probably have been forgotten by the second reel. However, there is quite a neat reveal near the end of the film that provides an interesting connection to its predecessors, but probably won’t be apparent to audiences who have not sat through the previous films.

The second film in the franchise to be shot in 3D, the third dimension is used in the most obvious manner possible, but really doesn’t add that much to the equation. It’s more like a theme park attraction, and this description can be expanded to include the spirit of the whole film. Final Destination 5 is designed to be a quick, entertaining ride through a veritable House of Horrors, to be forgotten almost immediately upon exit – which isn’t exactly a bad thing as long as one is mentally prepared.

Rating: ** ½ (out of four stars) 


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