It was a mostly teenaged/young adult crowd that joined me for a viewing of FINAL DESTINATION 5 on its opening day. I popped on my 3D glasses and prepared myself for the “ride” that is guaranteed whenever one sees a FINAL DESTINATION film. Before I begin on my take of the movie, lets address the “3D” aspect. Its a common feature these days and with varied results; In most cases its unnecessary, in some cases disastrous (CLASH OF THE TITANS), while effective in a clever few (PIRANHA & MY BLOODY VALENTINE remakes). Horror films, by their very nature, should be ideal for this medium. The whole idea of something coming at you and causing you to jump is all part of their standard operating procedure anyway and 3D simply gives it extra punch. I did not feel, however, that it made a huge difference in this one.
I wasn’t surprised to see such a youthful audience. In many ways, the FINAL DESTINATION movies are the “slasher” films for this generation. The characters are rarely likeable, the plot is paper thin (group of people cheat death so now “death” wants to claim them), and the main reason for watching is to see the clever ways people are going to get killed. In this regard, FINAL DESTINATION films are at an advantage. While knives, machetes, and axes are certainly not off-limits – these films can turn even the most mundane items into instruments of death. This is done through an elaborate “chain of events” that occur in tandem and are often far more brutal. They sort of remind me of that old game “mousetrap” I played as kid and offer the viewer a chance to watch with one-eye open as they know something is about to go terribly wrong.
The beginning of this film, as is the case of all others, shows a large scale disaster that is “foreseen” by a random, would-be victim. This prompts him/her to immediately leave the situation before it begins – grabbing a handful of folks to join them who, in doing so, end up surviving the catastrophe. Of course the word “survivor” isn’t really appropriate here as they have merely exchanged one gruesome death in favor of another. Fans of the previous films probably won’t be disappointed – especially with the return of Tony Todd’s character who had been physically absent from the last two entries.
With Tony Todd at Flashback Weekend 2009
I will also say that I did enjoy the “twist” ending this film offered as well as one of its lead characters finally touching on a question I’ve had since the very first film; if “death” is an intelligent power then what unseen force gave them the premonition of doom in the first place? Does “Life” also have its crusader and, if so, why does it not offer any further assistance? Unfortunately, it was only given a brief mention in this film and touched on no further. I found this unfortunate as, after five movies, viewers can no longer allow themselves to become attached nor root for characters that they are now fully aware don’t have a chance in hell of surviving! At least slasher films occasionally allowed for a happy ending making it a possibility to viewers if not always a reality.
All in all, I’d say you can safely wait and rent this one – especially if its a weekend and you’re with a fun group of friends. Otherwise there isn’t much this film has to offer unless you’re a teenaged boy looking for a way to get your date to bury her head in your shoulder!
Regardless, I have no doubt that this film will bring in some money and that a part 6 is on the horizon. That’s another thing you can always count on with a FINAL DESTINATION film – it is NEVER final!