After too many Freddie/Jason/Michael-type horror slasher flicks, the original Final Destination was a nice surprise because instead of a masked, invincible killing machine whacking kids, it was Death itself claiming the survivors of the movie-starting disasters. In case you've never seen one of these, the formula is the same: A gruesome accident that kills a bunch of people spectacularly is revealed to be a premonition by one character who then tries to warn everyone away. While he's able to save a handful despite their thinking he's crazy, the accident occurs and people die and they're still alive, thanks to him. At least until the survivors start dying off, one by one in the order they would've originally, in bizarre Rube Goldberg-worthy accidents.
The first film was clever. The sequel had a great opening crash chain reaction, but the subsequent kills were too obvious in setting up the mouse traps. The third entry was even worse as we could see the dominoes being obviously set up in preparation for the hapless victim's demise. It was getting so weak that I totally skipped the fourth film, The Final Destination, which hinted it would the last one of the series. HA! Fat chance! There's money to be made and thus we have Final Destination 5, or as I shall call it, Final Destination OOOOHHHH!!!!!!, because that what you're going to be saying. A lot!
It opens with a corporate retreat with a group of....you know what? Who cares? Here's what matters:
• The opening disaster is the best since the highway crash in FD2. You will exclaim, "OOOOHHH!!!!", and laugh three or four times in this part alone.
• The survivors are barely two dimensional nobodies played by cheap talent you probably won't recognize beyond the boss. Who were they? A guy whose cute girlfriend (she looks like a cross between Sarah Polley and Anna Faris) has dumped him; another guy and his not-that-cute girlfriend; an annoying dork; the a-hole boss; a hot chick; and a token black guy who looks like Mos Def. Names? Didn't notice. Care whether they survive or not? Not really. The reason?
• In Final Destination flicks, it's ALL about the killings and FD5 really brought its a game. I'm deliberating NOT including the trailer below because it gives away too many setups and payoffs. It'll be more fun to just go and see it.
What makes it work this time is that while we see the elements of the dominoes/killing mousetrap machine individually, but aren't sure how it all goes together until it is set in motion. There are some red herrings and a couple of the coup de graces are foreseeable, but for the most part they're wonderfully grisly in a Grand Guignol manner and usually have a bonus OOOOOOHHH! for good measure.
I wasn't that enthused to see Final Destination 5, but I'm glad I did. If they can keep this level of mayhem going, bring more on.
Score: 8.5/10. Catch a matinee.
We didn't see it in 3D, but could tell that several of the shots were totally cheesetastic stick stuff in the audience's faces stuff to the point I almost wish I had gone with 3D. It's not mandatory, though.
I hate when people hint at twists because you're always trying to see them coming, but I'm just going to say that there's a reason why everyone seems to have crappy old cell phones. Heh.