Haven’t we learned some very important lessons thanks to the Final Destination franchise? I’m not talking just about the whole ‘you can’t cheat death’ stuff that one character or another ends up realizing (usually right before their face gets ripped off)—I mean more about what I tend to think about after I see a Final Destination movie: Holy smokes, there are a lot of ways to die.
This is true for Final Destination 5 too, thank goodness, and you really have to hand it to the writers for being able to dig deep and gross in finding new and inventive ways in killing some death-cheating suckers.
It’s been over a decade since the first film laid out the movies’ basic formula: A giant disaster takes place at the start of the film where one lucky/unlucky person sees the gruesome deaths of all assembled before waking up moments before actual disaster takes place, and is able to hustle a few others to safety. Which is great!
Until, that is, death starts coming for them one by one in order to correct this small wrinkle in fate’s grand design. (Want a montage sequence of deaths and body counts from the first four films? Oh of course you do! So watch this.) Oh, and at some point, actor Tony Todd will show up to creepily fill everyone in on the rules (I was pleased to hear the group of 11-year-olds behind me in a packed-to-the-brim theater correctly identify him as”Candyman”).
The disaster this time around is a bridge collapse (Japan’s translated title is Final Dead Bridge, which is perfect). Our visionary is Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto), a friendly-eyed wanna-be chef who wants to move to his restaurant’s ‘flagship’ location in Paris, but for reasons unclear is on a bus with workers from a paper company for a corporate retreat.
He’s able to save his on again/off again girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell), uptight intern and gymnast Candice (Ellen Wroe), her boyfriend Peter (the extremely talented in Saved By the Bell spoofs Miles Fisher), sex kitten Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), office perv Isaac (P.J. Byrne), nice guy Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta) and boss Dennis (hey it’s that guy, David Koechner). One by one they face the consequences for sidestepping death.
Of course – and surely the actors realize this is as well (which leads to amazing line readings like ’but she was almost finished with her routine!’)– the real fun of the movie is not the dialogue or acting, but finding out how each gory death is going to go down.
Final Destination 5 knows that, and teases the killings out slowly. One particularly tense which-of-these-things-is-going-to-kill-this-girl had my whole audience screaming. Plus, this movie has a fairly ingenious twist at the end for devoted fans.
I won’t spoil it or reveal the cause of deaths either, but will say this: after watching Final Destination 5, I’m fairly certain I’m never going to get lasik surgery.