Death rears its violent and elaborate head once again in this, the fifth instalment of the Final Destination franchise, but is it time for the nasty fella to finally punch in his last ticket?
For those unfamiliar with the series, the average film from the Final Destination canon focuses on a group of people who are miraculously saved from a fatal accident by someone who was able to foresee the whole event just prior to it taking place. The film then generally follows Death’s elaborate and often very bloody efforts to knock off said group members in the pattern that they would have died had they not escaped the accident.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the acting is sometimes dreadful, the characters are all boring, and the dialogue can be very wooden. At one point a character is told of the death of another and simply remarks “Wasn’t he dead already?”, which really says it all. The film uses exactly the same formula incorporated into every other film in the franchise, so you can pretty much guess how it’s all going to turn out.
What the film lacks in these aforementioned areas is just about compensated for with the often hit-and-miss death scenes. Some rank among the best the series has had to offer, whilst others seem lazy and cheap in comparison. A new twist on the premise is also introduced, whereby someone can cheat death again by killing somebody else and gain the remaining years they had left to live. Unfortunately this is not utilised well enough and so seems a bit of a desperate attempt to inject new life into the franchise.
The beginning ‘vision of total annihilation’, as I have come to call it, which this time takes place on a large bridge, also fares well amongst other Final Destination efforts. The CGI is used more ambitiously and to better effect than it was previously, resulting in quite a spectacle of destruction. Despite prior knowledge of what happened in a previous instalment being required for it to have maximum effect, the gut-punch ending is also executed well and may possibly signify the end of the franchise.
Let’s be honest, though — if you’re going to see this movie, you’re not expecting to see acting at its finest or come out with a new world view. No, you’re going for one reason and one reason only: death. The film has this in bucket loads, and for the most part it is executed well; however, this will only be worthwhile for those ready to deal with poor performances, a dire script, and a premise that may have already cheated death one too many times.
Final Destination 5 (2011), directed by Steven Quale, is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Pictures, certificate 15.