August 29, 2011

Movie Review: Final Destination 5

It is hard to believe that it has been 11 years since Final Destination first graced our screens. I do not think it was necessarily a revolutionary horror film, but it did help bring some blood back into horror. At the time we were still living in a post-Scream world where horror was becoming diluted, self-aware, and increasingly bloodless. Now, Saw may have thrust blood back into horror in a big way, but Final Destination predates it by four years! It is now 2011 and we have the fifth entry in the series. It may not be an exactly storied franchise, but it is not without its merits. Fortunately, this fifth entry is a good deal better than the prior two go arounds.

Final Destination 5 starts off by doing a something right. What is that? It does not try to tie itself into prior entries. It worked for the second one, but I think this is better living in more of an anthology world. In any case, the movie opens by introducing us to the principals, which at this point I do not care much for who they are so much as how they die.

To be thorough, the movie starts with the employees of a paper company going for a team building retreat. The introductions made as they get ready to leave set up some of the conflicts later on, nice and neat as a good little film should. The gang all pile onto the bus and head on their way. Not long into the drive, our hero, Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto), has a vision of a massive bridge collapse. This is the traditional catastrophic opening that sets us down the path of blood and death. It was more involving that the fourth's racetrack crash and better than part three's rollercoaster. What follows is the traditional path of would be victims being hunted down by death while being given bits of information by the enigmatic Tony Todd.

In all seriousness, there is nothing new here that hasn't been in prior entries. However, there is something about the approach to this one that works better than the last two. For some reason it feels a bit more real and grounded and not quite so cartoonish. It doesn't hurt that the 3D gimmick feels more thought out in its application.

What makes the movie fun is that it is essentially a trashy slasher film in the style of the 80's. The modern twist being that the killer is no masked monster but Death itself. This movie brings in some creative kills and near misses as our killer seeks to put the path of nature back on the correct path. I like that there is still no real discussion about the nature of Death, just an acceptance that it is out to set things right. The paranoia and fear is given a big stage to play on.

With that all being true this movie entertains but it is not one that is going to stay with you for very long,. Sure, the ending has a pretty good WOW factor, but even that will fade pretty quickly. I watch this movie and I like it. The blood is good, the deaths are good, it plays out in a more or less logical fashion, I just feel that for this series to continue there needs to be some sort of change.

Simply put, Final Destination has become a slave to the formula. Generally speaking this is not a bad thing. Part of what we like about sequels is the familiarity it breeds, but close behind is the contempt part of the equation. I feel I am drawing ever closer to contempt. The third and fourth films pushed me to the brink, so close that I was hanging on by my fingertips. This one has pulled me back up to the ledge, but there is a distinct possibility that should the series continue without some sort of shake up this helping hand will be nothing more than a tease and I will be pushed into the abyss should a sixth film come to fruition.

Final Destination 5 is a fun horror movie. No classic, but when you want some interesting bloodshed and the sort of kills that make you look at things differently in the real world, this is for you.I would like to see a sixth film, but I would also like to see a new director come in and shake some things up.


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