Review of Final Destination 5


Movie Review: "Final Destination 5"

-- Rating: R (strong violent/gruesome action, some language)
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: August 12, 2011
Directed by: Steven Quale
Genre: Horror/Thriller

A group of coworkers boarding a bus to go to a company retreat probably are thinking that they are going to get paid to do something other than work, which is usually a good thing. The last thing they are thinking about is that they won't make it back home from the retreat alive. But that is what happens to the majority of people who step on a bus for a corporate getaway at the beginning of "Final Destination 5."

The film closely follows the outline of the first four films in the franchise. First, someone in the fateful group gets a crazy premonition that they are all going to die. They then take measures, often drastic ones, to avoid their fate. In previous films, these measures included not getting onto a plane that eventually crashed and not riding a rollercoaster that went off the rails. The problem is, in the "Final Destination" franchise, you can't avoid your fate. If you do, fate will come after you with a vengeance.

Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) is the one who gets the premonition. He cuts his finger and sees the bus they are taking to the retreat falling after the bridge it is crossing collapses. He tries to warn people, but like many who are talking about fate and doomsday, he is ignored and thought to be crazy or high. Unfortunately, he is not crazy and the bridge does indeed collapse.

There are a total of eight survivors. Among them is Sam's girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) who was trying to find the right time to break it off with Sam. Talk about awkward timing! Now the two, along with boss Dennis (David Koechner), floor manager Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta), Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Peter (Miles Fisher), Peter's girlfriend Candice (Ellen Wroe) and slovenly Isaac (P. J. Byrne), must find a way to escape death's clutches.

In following the usual franchise outline, the film then comes up with a variety of very creative and gory ways to slowly eliminate all or nearly all of the survivors. The way the franchise has been so successful to this point is not by surprising audience members with death, but surprising them with the gruesome ways the deaths play out. Fans of the first four films may wonder how they keep coming up with such creative ways to off the characters, but somehow they do. Some of the deaths are so violent and bloody that they almost seem cartoonish, but still entertaining nonetheless.

The big twist here is that a creepy man, played by Tony Todd ("Candyman"), tells the survivors that they are going to die anyways, unless they give Death someone else's life to take their place. What he is implying is that if they kill someone else, they live. The question then is, out of the eight who find this information out before Death claims them, which ones are desperate enough to live that they will commit murder?

The acting and the twist in the script are both very good, but there is another standout in the movie. That is, the very creative use of 3D technology. Ever since James Cameron's "Avatar" came out, studios have been clamoring to take advantage of the premium price moviegoers' pay to see movies in 3D. Now that 3D televisions have become affordable, home videos can also be sold at a higher price if they are in 3D.

The problem with this is that most aren't filmed with 3D in mind. That is not the case with "Final Destination 5," which clearly was filmed with an eye towards how it would look in three dimensions. When the killing starts, blood, glass shards, wood and all kinds of objects begin flying at the viewers. It adds another entertaining element that will keep the audience riveted. The movie clocks in at 92 minutes, but a few more minutes of such creative 3D use would have been completely acceptable.

Director Steven Quale does an admirable job of infusing some life into a franchise that had begun to get a little stale. The pacing and camera angles used during the death scenes are particularly good. The twist about murdering an innocent person to live is an excellent way to reboot the series. It adds another element to the "Final Destination" movies, so don't be surprised to see a sixth installment sometime soon. In the meantime, enjoy "Final Destination 5" with its twists, turns and gory escapist goodness.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars