Final Destination 5 (2011)

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Final Destination 5 (2011)Starring Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Tony Todd, Miles Fisher, David Koechner, Arlen Escarpeta, Courtney B. Vance, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

Directed by Steven Quale

I will be absolutely straight with you, dear readers- like many of you, my two main reasons for ever stepping foot in a theater to watch a Final Destination movie are the epic opening disaster sequence and the gloriously intricate death traps awaiting the survivors of said epic opening disaster sequence once Death realizes they have eluded his grasp. After the initial Final Destination thrilled me back in 2000, I will admit generally going into its sequels with far less enthusiasm and a waning interest in the actual characters who happened to be trying to defy Death. I just showed up for the spectacle and the carnage and really never gave anything else much consideration.

However, Final Destination 5 has done something remarkable with the fifth installment of the highly popular series as writer Eric Heisserer and director Steven Quale decided to raise the bar for other horror sequels out there. Not only do they deliver the destruction and death we all long for in the Final Destination films, but they also manage to create an incredibly unique script that fabricates some new twists into the franchise’s mythology and gives audiences a reason to care about the characters again.

In fact, Final Destination 5 is one of those rare sequels that is either on par with or almost exceeds the original film of the series. With an incredibly talented cast bringing this fifth movie to life and a jaw-dropping ending you won’t even see coming, Final Destination 5 may now officially be my favorite film of the entire franchise.

In FD5 we are introduced to Sam (D’Agosto) and several of his paper factory co-workers on the day they set off for a corporate retreat. As they embark on their trip, Sam has a horrific premonition in which he sees himself, his co-workers and countless others die tragically during a freak bridge collapse. Once the premonition ends, and real life begins to feel a little too familiar for Sam, he quickly starts to get as many people off the bus as he can before disaster strikes.

Final Destination 5 (2011)After escaping the catastrophic bridge collapse, Sam and the other survivors- including Sam’s best pal Peter (Fisher), Sam’s girlfriend Molly (Roberts) and fellow co-workers Candice (Wroe), Olivia (MacInnes Wood), Nathan (Escarpeta), Isaac (Byrne) and Dennis (Koechner)- breathe a collective sigh of relief since they have narrowly escaped Death. However, the relief is short-lived as the group members soon realize that you can never cheat Death. If someone’s time is up, he’ll be there to collect.

This time around, though, Heisserer has upped the stakes a bit: The survivors are given a powerful suggestion by a mysterious man, Bludworth (Todd, reprising his role from earlier Final Destinations), who seems to show up conveniently whenever a death has occurred, that Death cannot be cheated but it can be tricked. So, if it’s your time when Death comes for you and you’re willing to kill someone else, Death will be happy to take that person’s life instead of yours, allowing you to remain amongst the living for the amount of that person’s lifespan.

Talk about kicking things up a notch! In previous Final Destination flicks most characters only had to worry about inanimate objects, faulty wiring and ill-placed water spills; but now there’s a lot more to deal with when it turns out you can offer up Death a human sacrifice in your place. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the creative twists Heisserer added to the Final Destination formula, and to say anything more would not only give away huge spoilers but ruin the experience of what makes Final Destination 5 a thrilling and entertaining roller coaster ride of a flick.

Final Destination 5 (2011)In terms of the deaths in FD5, from the advertising you already can deduce there will be some victims served up by way of acupuncture and Lasik eye surgery so while I will refrain from revealing any other details about the circumstances of the deaths themselves, what I can say is that hands down, this film may have the best deaths of the entire franchise. You’ll squeal in horror, you’ll squirm in your chair, and I guarantee you’ll never consider putting a laser anywhere near your eye again for any reason.

The cast of Final Destination 5 is genuinely solid and not only does a great job at keeping viewers engaged with their roles throughout the film but will have you rooting for them to find a way to cheat Death in the film’s final act. D’Agosto makes for a compelling lead, holding his own against the likes of funnyman Koechner and acting veteran Vance, and the rest of the ensemble manages to deliver strong performances as well. Heisserer’s script is careful not to make his supporting characters too one-dimensional either so there is a lot to be enjoyed in Escarpeta’s portrayal of struggling plant manager Nathan that finally allows the up-and-coming actor a chance to show his chops, and it also lets Byrne, whose character Isaac delivers a good deal of the laughs in the film with his overbearing ladies’ man approach, shine as a gifted comedic performer.

When it comes to 3D technology and filmmaking, Quale has proven with Final Destination 5 that his time collaborating alongside James Cameron were years well spent because the look and feel of the 3D in the film is phenomenal. While there are still plenty of “jump at you” moments in Final Destination 5, it’s the field of depth that Quale added to the film when he shot it in 3D that makes it one of the best 3D horror films to have been released in recent years. The opening title sequence alone is so incredibly badass that I could have sat in the theater and watched it on a loop for two hours straight. I’m sure the 2D version looks great as well, but to me Final Destination 5 is the kind of movie you need to see in 3D in order to get the full experience.

Fans of the Final Destination series, you’ll be pleased to know that this latest entry is a gleefully gory addition to your beloved franchise, and for those of you who may have not ever experienced a Final Destination film before, there is still a lot for you to enjoy as well. Final Destination 5 is not only gruesomely entertaining, but it has managed to breathe new life into the franchise, making a huge fan out of me all over again.

4 1/2 out of 5

Discuss Final Destination 5 in the comments section below!

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  • Sirand

    I’ve enjoyed all the Destination movies. They’re trashy fun, like all the Friday the 13th movies.

    Was it fun? Yea. I laughed quite a bit. I’d even say it was one of the best ones. But the horror sites are gushing over this thing like it’s Alfred Hitchock or something. At the end of the day, it’s just one-dimensional characters getting splattered. A great time killer, yea. But seriously overpraised.

  • Uncle Creepy

    Just got back from seeing it. Seriously? I couldn’t be happier. An awesome time at the movies. I almost tripped over my jaw on the way out of the theatre! Truly good stuff!

    • Cinemascribe

      Yeah,see basically this is what happened with me. Trust me on this- I thought FD 4 was possibly the worst horror sequel I’d seen in over a decade. I mean I seriously cannot overstate how utterly shit-tastic I consider that movie to be. Especially since,as is the case with others on this site, I hold FD2 in particularly high regard.

      So when I walked away from FD 5 as entertained as I ultimately was, it definitely made my day. And how about that ending,huh? It goes without saying that I won’t reveal it, but when I realized what was actually going on in that final scene, I couldn’t stop smiling.

      And is it me, or is Tony Todd merely walking into frame enough to make a scene work? He could be filmed reading the list of ingredients off of the back of a mustard packet and it would be entertaining. That guy is the definition of the word “presence”.

  • Rottenjesus

    This was an IMMENSE improvement over FD4 and had some fun and nasty kills but the pinnacle of this series, in my book, is still FD2.

    If they make a sixth (and final) entry they need to get Alexandre Aja to direct. KNB to do the gore F/X and the guys who wrote FD2. Go for broke and wrap the series up in bloodsplattered epic fashion.

    • Foywonder

      Wrap the series up? What is there to wrap up? Is someone going to kill death? The way this one ends, sure seemed like a franchise wrap-up to me.

      If you want Alexandre Aja to direct a Final Destination movie you’ll just have to wait a decade when they decide to start over with a remake.

      • Rottenjesus

        That’s right. In the 6th movie I want them to kill death since it’s already an unbelievable concept anyways. Tony Todd would be quite instrumental in the next movie as it’s always him showing up at these “events”.

        Then of course when Death is finally destroyed, you get a whole new set of problems.

  • Minion

    Sorry guys, I hate to say it but I’m in disagreement with the reviews. The bridge scene was phenomenal, the deaths were fun but I wouldn’t say some of the best of the series. Yes, there are a few twists and turns, but the “surprise” ending really wasn’t too hard to see coming. The fact of the matter is, change the circumstance just slightly and it’s still the same ending as the last two. The dialogue is about on par with that of the last one as well.
    The thing I liked about the first two Final Destination movies and even the third one to some extent, is that they attempted to have actual characters. These last two movies, for my money, have been all about the kill sequences and almost nothing to do with the characters. Because of that, I couldn’t really give a crap about anything that was happening until the next “Rube Goldberg Presents!” death scene.

    Sorry Death, for this guy your tricks are old hat. Find me some people I can root for that aren’t cardboard cut-outs.

    • Jon Condit

      Would you say it is at least an enjoyable way to kill a few hours? Because I need a break from work and was thinking this might be just the ticket.

      • Minion

        As a time killer flick it works just fine!

    • Foywonder

      I think you read my mind, Minion. I’m really at a loss as to why this has been getting so many ecstatic reviews. After all the hype the past few days I went in expecting to be wowed. Yeah, the twist ending is really neat and ends the movie on a high note (unlike the previous two that ended things with lame bullshit), but until those last 15 minutes this was just more of the same from a played-out franchise. The new wrinkle about killing someone else to take your place in the chain could have been, should have been, a total game changer if they hadn’t waited until the movie was two-thirds over to introduce it (Just having Tony Todd toss it out there the way he did was about the laziest screenwriting imaginable) and by then there wasn’t much time to really run with it. Minion calling the characters cardboard cut-outs is an insult to cardboard. Except for the obnoxious nerd, these characters are so lifeless their deaths were the only times the audience was presented with proof they ever had a pulse to begin with. Just the most boring lot of humans you have no vested interest in one way or another. Other than the sailboat and gymnast deaths, the kills are just minor variations of stuff we’ve seen before and they’re not even really kills anymore so much as punchlines. The Final Destination flicks have become live-action Itchy & Scratchy cartoons. And the 3D added absolutely nothing other than an extra $3 to the price of the ticket.

      • Minion

        I’m just wondering if the positive feedback on this one is representational of just what we’re willing to let this franchise get away with when they serve us a movie now, or if it’s how well the genre is doing as a whole currently in terms of a quality film. Aside from a number of foreign and indie features, I’ve been thoroughly disappointed this year.

  • Cinemascribe

    I have to agree with the horrorchick. I saw this today and after a meso-meso part 3 and a truly horrible fourth chapter, its good to see some talent back behind the scenes. I recommend the 3D version just for the bridge scene. Tony Todd was utilized to perfection,the cast was stronger than I had a right to expect at this point, genuine suspense was abundant (wait until you see the gymnastic scene) and the writing was surprisingly clever. There’s also a nice little bit of business that ties this in to the entire series, but about that I will say no more. Bottom line- after walking away from the previous film with the opinion that it was possibly the worst horror film I had seen in twenty years, the Final Destination series is back kicking some serious horror ass …with a vengeance.

  • Uncle Creepy

    The cool thing? The flick is getting great reviews just about everywhere I’ve seen. Color me excited!

    • Rottenjesus

      I have to admit that I wasn’t very impressed with THE FINAL DESTINATION but if this one serves up the great nasty kills then I’ll be very happy indeed.

  • theGoldenSimatar

    Well finally it seems that the series is doing something. I’ve been annoyed since part 2 that they haven’t raised the stakes, gone into the ideas if everything is coincidence or is Death a real entity, what are the ramifications if you don’t die? Just having ‘tricking Death’ element hopefully will be a step in the direction of narrative exploration.

  • The Woman In Black

    Sounds like another fun time at the multiplex for me and Uncle Creepy this weekend. So glad to hear this series is back on track. I haven’t really cared for any of them since #2.

    • Rottenjesus

      I think #3 was a little weak but had some great kills. The “Double Extra-Crispy” tanning bed kill is still one of my favorites in the series.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Part 3 was sketchy at best. Part 4 was just awful. For my money, until I see this one, the best of the series is part 2.

        • Rottenjesus

          Oh I agree with you there. FD2 is just pure nasty fun from beginning to end.

          • Uncle Creepy

            What worked for me in Part 2 was the fact that adults were thrown into the mix with the kids. Spooky shit happens to people other than teens, ya know? Three was a kid fest, and The Final Destination was akin to being spooged in the face from the 3D Gimmick Clown!

          • Rottenjesus

            I understand where you’re coming from, Creepy. Hopefully FD5 won’t spare the adults, kids, beloved family pets from Death’s design.

            As for the 3D Gimmick Clown shooting his one-trick wad into my eyes…the less said about that the better.

        • kiddcapone

          Part 2 is easily the best Final Destination movie. Part 3 was okay at best and part 4 was complete horse shit. If this new one even produces 50% of the magic of part 2, I’ll have a grin from ear to ear…