Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I thought the last Final Destination movie was supposed to be the final, final destination but of course it wasn’t. Why do these studios even bother with that nonsense, knowing full well that if eight people pay to see a movie, a sequel is already in the works. Friday the 13th, the Final Chapter! Only to be followed by a half dozen more movies. But that minor complaint aside, we have the fifth Final Destination movie. It’s a Final Destination movie so… you know… it is what it is. Until it kind of stopped being what it is just little bit.

You know the routine. A bunch of young people, and probably one older dude, are off to do something fun when one of the young people has a ‘vision’ of impending disaster. Today’s visually enhanced young person is Chef in Training Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) who is joining his crew of paper factory employees on a retreat in a charter bus. Sam sees a vision of the bridge collapsing, freaks out and tries to get as many people out of the bus as he can. Most die, but about a half dozen or so cheat death and survive. You know the routine. My question in the past has always been… who’s supplying these kids with these visions? Is Death the vision maker? Is he bored and just wants to have fun terrorizing young adults? If it’s not Death, then whomever is doing this is a dick since waiting for ‘Death via OSHA Violations’ is way worse than the original death plan.

So Sam, his girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell), his best friend Peter (Miles Fisher), Peter’s girl Candace (Ellen Wroe), Olivia the sexy minx (Jacqueline McInnis Wood), Nathan the Black Guy (Arlen Escarpeta), Isaac the tool (P.J. Byrne) and Dennis the Older dude (David Koechner) all survive. At the funeral for the ones that didn’t make, Sam meets William Bludworth (Tony Todd) who you probably remember from the previous installments, who informs him, in his special ominous way, that they’re all gonna die. And horribly.

Then the movie rolls into becoming what Final Destination Movies are all about, that being finding clever and bloody ways to slaughter young adults, and one older dude, while adding as much tension as possible. The problem with this is that these movies

always tend to follow the path of the most gruesome, so while we’re watching some dangerous thing happening, all tension filled and stuff in theory, we know that, say, death by electrocution, as it is setting itself up, isn’t going to happen. It’s not nearly gruesome enough. Thus there’s not nearly as much tension as there should be. Or death by burning to death. No, not gruesome enough. No blood splatter there. We need gunky blood splatter.

But here’s where the movie changes course a little. I don’t remember if this has always been the case, maybe a new wrinkle for this version, but if someone dies in your place, you get their years. Now the movie stops being a horror film and becomes a little bit of thriller as we have a lunatic on our hands trying to grab some years from somebody to extend his own life. And when that’s resolved, the movie is over. Kind of. I gotta admit, I didn’t see that thing coming at the end.

If I allowed Final Destination movies to run my life, I already can’t go on airplanes, workout at the gym, go to the movies, cross the street or take a bath among others things. Now I can hang up that gymnastics career I had my eye on, I have to shuttle that Nuru Massage I had planned on getting this evening and I’m stuck wearing eyeglasses for the rest of my life. Damn. Just so you know, I have no real problem with ‘Final Destination’ and its sequels, this one directed by Steven Quale, when you consider that I seem to make it a point to watch all of these movies when I don’t have to. Some movies they force me to watch, these I watch by choice. Who knows why. Like we mentioned earlier, it is a fairly typical ‘Final Destination’ movie featuring some particularly gruesome kills for its opening disaster sequence, and it follows suit as expected, up until it switched to thriller mode thanks to the Bludworth delivered Bonus Rule. I don’t know if this made it better, but it make it a little bit different which almost by default makes it better. Our cast of attractive expendables did fine work freaking out while waiting to die, Courtney B. Vance moonlights from his day gig on Law and Order as an FBI agent investigating how someone could predict a bridge collapse, and more pressing, why the survivors of the bridge collapse are dying from freak accidents. I don’t think he ever figured that out. And of course there’s the twisty part at the end. Like I’ve said before, even mentioning a twist almost ruins a twist since, if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll be looking for a twist but I think this one is safe. Anytime a horror movie franchise on its fifth go-around can do something unexpected… that all in itself is unexpected and appreciated.

I’ve enjoyed all the Final Destination movies on some level I guess, since I keep dragging myself to the theater to watch them, but ‘Final Destination 5’ did add a little something extra to the mix. Probably the best one since the first one.

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