‘Final Destination 5′ Review
The fifth in this ridiculously successful horror franchise is back in form with nail-biting suspense, creative and appropriately gory death scenes, and the best use of 3-D so far this year.
Throughout watching ‘Final Destination 5’, my constant thought was this – now that’s what I’m talking about. After receiving a failing grade with its last (and supposed to be final) installment, the fifth in this ridiculously successful horror franchise is back in form with nail-biting suspense, creative and appropriately gory death scenes, and the best use of 3-D so far this year.
While the ‘Final Destination’ franchise has always been a guilty pleasure thanks to cheesy yet clever ways of killing off humans and a constant sense of suspense even though the plot never changed, ‘The Final Destination’ in 2009 tarnished the franchise by being a thrill-free schlocky action movie devoid of anything that made the previous movies so good. There were way too many deaths and almost none of them were creative in any sense. The acting was bad, there was no character development at all and the movie was over before we knew it. It would be unfortunate to see the iconic series go out in such a dim fashion, and that’s why it’s a godsend that ‘Final Destination 5’ happened thanks to the huge box-office success of the fourth film. Because this is the best that the series has been in a long time, thanks to new director Steven Quale coming along and giving it everything that it needed.
The best part of the franchise aside from the creative death sequences that the series later got more famous for was the constant suspense and foreboding that the franchise had. The first movie did this best and was genuinely creepy as death loomed around every character at every point and the viewer couldn’t point out who is next. And even when they did know, the entire set-up wringed as much tension out of the situation and maximized audience’s anticipation to know just when the character will meet his end. It was extremely thrilling to watch, yet ‘The Final Destination’ trampled all over it by going for quick jump deaths instead of ones that are set-up from before. There was zero suspense and the sequences played out very predictably and in a bland fashion. ‘Final Destination 5’ brings that back and the level of suspense here is as nail-biting as the original. It’s a delight to watch each character go about their routines and wonder what exactly will lead to their death. Steven Quale (who was the second director on ‘Avatar’) uses clever camera angles to keep the suspense flowing, and this is especially evident in a gymnastics sequence involving a nail which will hands-on have you at the edge of your seat throughout. And just when you think you have it figured out, something else will happen entirely and the pay-off is brilliant. The same goes for the brilliant lasik surgery and acupuncture sequences that harken back to the thrilling deaths of the first one. It’s an achievement that alone makes the movie a much better ride than the last one.
Speaking of death scenes, there’s a lot of improvement here when compared to the last installment. While the car-wash sequence and the pool sequence from the last movie were certainly unique, there were way too many death sequences and none of the rest were memorable at all. People got crushed by random objects, got hit by cars, things flew onto them – none of these deaths had even a fraction of the impact that the series is known for. ‘Final Destination 5’ probably hold some of the most unforgettable death sequences of the franchise and due to the fact that there’s not too many of them, each of them have a much more lasting effect. It’s very clear that a lot of thought has gone into making them as unique and inventive as possible and there are definitely a lot of surprises in store for people who think they’ve seen it all.
While the fourth movie completely skimped on character development of any sort, this movie does a better job at setting up the characters and giving them personality before they meet their end. The protagonists as well as the supporting characters are given some sort of traits that later pay off in the storyline, instead of being cookie-cutter teenage characters which is definitely appreciated. There’s a new angle here where one can kill another and skip his own death, which adds a whole new element of danger and leads to some clever twists. However, the script isn’t still what you would call an effective one. The dialogue is still weak and the stuff that happens in between of the death scenes isn’t particularly interesting and ends up being filler instead of actual plot. The biggest example of that is the tacked-on love story that does nothing for the viewers until arguably the very end, which is why people who are not at all fans of the series will probably not be changed. But things take an excellent turn at the end with a brilliant twist ending that changes the direction of the entire series. I defy you to see it coming without reading any spoilers, and it beautifully ties in with the rest of the franchise. Even if this ends up being the last movie of the series, this is as great of an ending that the series could have hoped for.
As for the 3D, I would recommend everybody interested in the movie to go see it in 3D. In fact, I watched it in IMAX 3D and the experience was off the charts. Do not confuse this with one of those subpar 3D movies that have been releasing all summer – ‘Final Destination 5’ probably has the best 3D experience all year. The effects are actually thrilling and will make you jump, and the added dimension definitely adds to the death sequences as well as the bridge sequence in ways I haven’t seen before. Speaking of which, the special effects here are on part with big budget blockbusters and there is not one moment that you will find it weak. The opening bridge sequence in particular will forever be remembered as an excellent example of CGI and suspense done right and done on a budget. On a final note, even the acting talent here does a much better job and takes their roles seriously compared to the hokey acting in the last installment.
‘Final Destination 5’ is the right adrenaline boost that the franchise needed to get back to the top. It’s not only one of the finest of the series, but anyone who gave up on the franchise after a few films should definitely give this one a go and they will fall in love with it all over again. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually looking forward to a new one hoping this isn’t the franchise’s final destination.
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