Monday, January 30, 2012

Movie Review: Final Destination 5 (2011)

I'm nixing the Roundup for 1-22-12 to 1-28-12 because it would have only consisted of two movies. Hey, I was tired from work and all I wanted to do was lounge on my bed and watch episodes of Law and Order: SVU that I've already seen a million times instead of having to concentrate on a new movie, okay? I did get some new ones seen this week so I'm going to review both of them. Yay, right?

Reading the "Critical Reception" section on Wikipedia's entry for Final Destination 5, I'm wondering if I saw the same damn movie as everyone else who apparently gave it such high praise. Frankly, this installment of a franchise that is now getting very old was a big letdown. I absolutely love the first two Final Destinations (the second one ranks a scant bit higher); I don't even remember the third one; and the fourth one was a little bit better, with some awesome kills.

The formula is basically the same. The main guy is Sam who while traveling on a bus with some coworkers to a business retreat has a vision of a bridge collapsing and everybody dying horrible and gruesome deaths. He gets a bunch of people to get off the bus in time to save them, but guess what? Days later, they all start dying anyway, one by one. The one big thing added to the equation is that Tony Todd implies to them that if they kill someone before Death can get them, then they can take the years that person has left.

The film starts off rather dull and uninspiring, introducing us to our main group of characters whom we already don't care about right from the beginning. There is of course the clashing of personalities and instantly unlikable people like the boss, who can never remember Sam's name and is generally just an uncaring douchebag. The guy playing Peter looks and act a little too much like Tom Cruise a lot of the time, which was disconcerting. Sam, Molly, and Olivia are the only ones we get to know, but only in a very minimal way.

Okay, so then after we meet all these people, we get to what is supposed to be the most exciting part of any Final Destination film - the inevitable huge catastrophe that will kill a bunch of people. When I first heard about this movie, I was stoked that the accident in question was going to be a bridge collapse. The idea seemed like it was going to be awesome because it is on a much larger scale - literally - than any of the incidents from the previous films. However, I was mightily disappointed at the final result here. I read some critics' reviews that said that this scene rivaled the highway pile-up from FD2 in how well it was executed. Shenanigans! Nothing can rival that sequence, which is one of the best (and my favorite) crash or action sequence from any horror film. I love that scene! But this bridge collapse was too focused on what happened to the individual people rather than on making a really cool, huge, catastrophic collapse with cars and bodies going every which-a-way. It was just not as exciting as I pictured, I'm sorry. Maybe my standards are too high.

Now, after a kick-ass premonition sequence, the other thing a good Final Destination film needs to have is of course the awesome kills of the survivors. Here again, FD5 fell short for me. These scenes are known for delivering the most elaborate setups for the characters' deaths and then shocking the audience by killing them in way unexpected from the setup. The setups here are less elaborate and the payoffs only leave you yelling at the screen, "That's it?!" Although I do give the filmmakers props for the gymnast's death, as that was rather nasty. The human body is not usually allowed to bend that way. Also, the FD series seems to have fostered a strange addiction to deaths by eye trauma - fire escape ladder to the eye, rock to the eye, and now laser to the eye. But then that scene ends with the chick just crashing out of the building's window. Not gruesome enough by Final Destination standards.

The previous films have given other possible ways to cheat Death - intervening when another person is about to die, bring new life into the world - but this one introduces a new way that is so obvious you wonder why it took them five movies to think of it. If you can appease Death by killing someone else in your place, then you can be safe. But then again the movie sets up this scenario and doesn't quite follow through with it all the way. Plainly, it doesn't seem to work all that well for our "survivors." And actually the ending of the movie explains maybe why they didn't try this method before.

Speaking of the ending, that was the only part of FD5 that I really enjoyed - and not in a sarcastic way either, like I was happy it was over or something. Throughout the movie, there is constant mention of Sam possibly going to Paris for an chef internship. I was thinking in the back of my mind that somewhere, somehow, they were going to connect that to the first Final Destination. When the plane blew up in that movie, the kids were heading to Paris for a school trip, right? The only thing I couldn't figure out was what that could have to do with this flick, four sequels later. So in the last scene, the very second they showed Sam and Molly on a plane, I freaked out. Why? Because I immediately knew that they were on the same plane as in the first movie! I actually kind of loved that. And this turn of events actually does make sense and doesn't feel like a forced twist ending.

Hopefully the credit sequence for Final Destination 5 was an indication that this might be the end of the series. The formula is definitely starting to wear thin and when the last good installment was three movies ago, I'm thinking it's time to put the franchise to sleep. FD5 was a nice attempt at something different, but in the end was only a big disappointment.


  1. I did find FD5 to be a bit flat compared to the first 3 films (the 4th one was balls) but it earned a lot of points with me with that great ending. I love some damn good full circle stuff.

    And yeah I totally thought that Peter guy was the love child of Tom Cruise and Christian Bale. Weird.

    PS- I too put off doing a lot of thing to watch SVU eps that I've seen so many times before. Sometimes those twist endings are worth watching again!

  2. I haven't seen any of the FD movies :/ I don't think I really want to either.

  3. I thought FD5 was the best installment along with 2. The original was good as well, and 3 was passable. 5 was the best looking of them all and the one with the most creative death scenes. I gave it a 7.5. Yep, I loved it! :)

  4. I'm a huge FD-fan and apart from #4, I love them all.
    IMO Part 5 is the best entry in the FD-franchise next to the original.

  5. @Nicki: Yup, the ending was great! Had me chuckling for sure.
    I almost wish they would take SVU off of Netflix Instant so I wouldn't be tempted to watch it so much. ALMOST wish. :)

    @Jenny: To me, the first two are the only ones worth watching.

    @Nebs and Maynard: AGAIN, did I watch the same movie as everyone else did?? I was so BORED with FD5. The death scenes were not creative and the end fight in the kitchen felt like a slasher movie - a really lame one.