Posted August 15, 2011 by Dale Barnett in Films
 
 

Final Destination 5


By Dale Barnett. Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema have teamed up to take on the fifth installment of the Final Destination franchise, lead by Director Steven Quale.

By Dale Barnett

Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema have
teamed up to take on the fifth installment of the Final Destination franchise, lead by Director
Steven Quale.

It feels somewhat redundant at this stage to
outline the plot of the film as it is almost exactly the same as the last four
features. However, for the benefit of those new to the concept, a short
synopsis:

A group of teens narrowly survive a gruesome
accident on a collapsing suspension bridge due to an unexplainable premonition
that a member of the group, Sam (Nicholas
D’Agosto
), experienced moments before. After expressing his horrific
concerns, eight people are able to get off the bridge before his fears are
realised and everyone else plummets to their unsuspecting deaths. Returning to
their everyday lives after their narrow escape, the lucky few soon discover
that you cannot cheat death without him coming back to claim his due…

Those familiar with the previous films will
be no stranger to the hole-ridden plot, stereotypical characterisation and
diabolical script that comes attached. However, FD5 does offer its fans a
notable increase in brutality. Going out of its way to be the grossest it can
be, this movie definitely trumps its predecessors. The already farcical deaths
of features past are outdone by a horrific gore-fest that has now teetered over
the precarious border into the entirely ludicrous.

What results will prove surprisingly
entertaining for horror fans, with squirm-in-your-seat discomfort throughout,
the film forcing you to anticipate each and every character’s systematic
slaughter in obscenely far-fetched Itchy and Scratchy-style freak accidents.
Indeed, the overwhelming sound that came from the audience was not of screams
but of laughter. Though completely absurd, there is an element of fun and
hilarity in nervously awaiting the next implausible fatality.

FD5 suffers from amateurish acting and
one-dimensional (quite a feat of achievement in eye popping 3D) stock
characters. The jock, the girlfriend, the slut, the teacher, the hot-head and
even, dare I say it, the ‘token’ black guy, a mix that turns the film almost
into a homage to old horror B-movies.

While quality may be something this film
lacks, unfortunately, it certainly does not skimp on quantity, managing to flog
a brutally murdered horse for what is now an eleven-year span.

It is clear that the film must not be subject
to review as a movie in its own right, instead, a more favourable opinion will
result from comparing FD5 within the Final Destination world.

In this case, kudos must be awarded to some
clever alterations. A painstakingly familiar storyline is marginally alleviated
by the introduction of some new ideas. In this scenario, a morality clause was
added. In order to escape the wrath of Death, you can take the life of another
and live in his place for the years he was supposed to. This was an interesting
addition, as it allowed for some characters to struggle with their morality and
for the emergence of villainy within the ranks. Fans of the previous films are
also rewarded for their loyalty with subtle references to previous events in
the chain and by the repeat appearance of William Bludworth (Tony Todd), the unsettling coroner that
we see in each release, reminding us here of his trademark creepiness, as he
warns the survivors; “Death doesn’t like to be cheated.” Fans will also
enjoy the morbid ‘sizzle reel’ celebration of the favourite deaths over the
years during the end credits.

Another plus were the film’s many red
herrings, forcing a collective groan from the audience as they began to cover
their 3D goggles as almost every object becomes a possible weapon, every
situation a possible hazard. Indeed there were some very questionable
locations and shoddy building work that would violate every health and safety
code anyway. You would think they’d have learnt by now not to put the unstable
water cooler next to those pesky exposed electrical cables? However, there is
still an element of surprise in that most deaths do not follow what they have
shown you in the trailer and they certainly do not turn out how you expect them
to.

One would think the second-unit director of Avatar
and Titanic and the screenwriter behind Nightmare on Elm Street
(2010) and the highly anticipated upcoming horror remake The Thing could
have between them come up with something a little more impressive. It may be
that they were intending to stay true to the pattern that the other films
followed, in which case they did an excellent job. There’s little new
here but those who pay attention will be rewarded with a very clever twist at
the end that adds an element of skill to the storytelling.

Arguably not one for traditional horror fans,
instead appeasing the gore-porn generation which spawned the likes of Saw,
(though that series hit our screens with a far more intelligent and versatile
thread) and equally with those who enjoy horror comedies like Scary
Movie
, FD5 confidently straddles the mid point between torture-porn
and spoof.


Dale Barnett