THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"FINAL DESTINATION 5"
It's weird that Final Destination 5 even exists. The previous installment in the popular horror franchise was called The Final Destination, indicating that it would be the last one. That movie's unexpected success in 3D is directly responsible for this one's existence. Either that or the people who produce this series are a bunch of liars. I'm kidding. Sort of.
The drill is the same. Only the specifics have changed. Young people narrowly escape dying in a catastrophe – in this case, a bridge collapse – after one of them, Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto), has a premonition. Death does not like to be cheated, so it hunts down the survivors, killing them one at a time. If you've ever seen a Final Destination flick, you know that Death doesn't simply off its victims. No, that would be too simple. Instead, it sets in motion a Rube Goldberg-style chain of events that leads to an “accidental,” yet highly conspicuous passing.
It's generally true that the longer a horror series goes on, the more it devolves into something approaching comedy. Freddie Kruger went from a murderous child molester to a wise-cracking bogeyman. Jason Voorhees went into outer space. Chucky the doll got married and artificially inseminated a woman. The Final Destination series is yet another example. I thought the 2000 original was a clever and creepy movie that effectively played on common fears about the inevitability of death. The subsequent sequels have focused more on the gore scenes, creating increasingly absurd ways for characters to die. The death scenes in FD5 are among the dumbest and most laughable yet. One character dies through acupuncture, while another meets her end via Lasik eye surgery. The desire to make “creative” carnage has overtaken the thing that was legitimately scary about the original: the idea that death was coming for you, and there was nothing you could do to stop it.
The picture tries to put a spin on things by having a ton of visual references to the previous installments, and there's a twist ending that only comes off as a cheap gimmick. Some decent special effects can be seen during Sam's premonition about the bridge collapse, but that was the only thing I really cared for about Final Destination 5. The performances are amateur (at best), the formula is predictable, and there's nothing scary going on here.
( 1/2 out of four)
Final Destination 5 will be released on 3D Blu-Ray, in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, and on DVD December 27. A digital UltraViolet copy comes included in the pack. I watched the 2D Blu-Ray. Suffice it to say, it's quite obvious where the movie was making use of 3D.
The bonus material is...actually not bad. “Circle of Death” is a 5-minute segment in which the actors and filmmakers talk about trying to tie this fifth chapter into all the others. They point out some references that you may have missed while watching. There are also two “Visual Effects of Death” segments: one for the bridge collapse and the other for a plane crash sequence. The raw, on-set footage is shown in split screen alongside the finished film. I found both of these segments fascinating because they show how the special effects were accomplished. It's particularly interesting to see how they did the bridge scene.
The only duds in the supplementary material are the “Alternate Death Scenes,” which are just minor variations on what happens in the movie itself. Instead of only showing what's different, the scenes start several minutes before the altered material, thereby requiring you to watch large chunks of what you've already seen.
Visually and aurally, the Blu-Ray is excellent. The opening credit sequence, even in viewed in 2D, is striking.
Final Destination 5 is rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, and some language. The running time is 1 hour and 32 minutes.
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