In Final Destination 5, Death makes the point yet again that it will not be cheated. And happily for those of us who enjoy the FD series’ grotesquely clever premise beyond reason, unfortunate folks still refuse to pay attention, with inventively dire consequences. It’s been twelve years since Flight 180 exploded in the original Final Destination, way back in a pre 9/11 universe when a gaggle of high school kids meant to expire in the explosion survived instead — all because one teen with a premonition saved a handful of his classmates. Of course, as a result, those ”lucky” survivors threw the laws of the horror-movie universe off balance. Which is why each expired, in one exotic way or another, in the months that followed. Now, a dozen years later, Death — personified by franchise stalwart and Candyman star Tony Todd as an excellently creepy coroner — demonstrates what happens to those who don’t pay attention to cosmic rules.
Alas, it’s no longer pretty, vapid teens who meet their untimely ends in this efficient, albeit mechanical edition. But at least it’s a group of pretty, vapid co-workers at a paper company — a nice shout-out to The Office! — who are shafted. They’re also boiled, broken, sliced, drowned, fried, burnt, crushed, and, in one instance, pierced by acupuncture needles. Sam (Nicolas D’Agosto, from Heroes) is the newest dude with a pesky premonition, this time that the bridge over which he and his coworkers are traveling on a corporate bus trip is about to collapse. Among the (temporarily) saved are Emma Bell (The Walking Dead) as Sam’s ambivalent girlfriend; Miles Fisher (Gossip Girl) as Sam’s coworker and best friend; and P.J.Byrne (Horrible Bosses) as the office slimeball, a guy not above rifling the desks of his already deceased coworkers for anything worth filching. For a dose of Thespian Grandeur, Courtney B. Vance joins in as an investigating agent. Just because it’s always a pleasure to see him, David Koechner (from The Office — another shout-out!) plays the group’s less-than-beloved boss. And just for the many people who enjoy watching gymnastics on TV, there’s a deliciously anxiety-filled scene involving a young competitor (Ellen Wroe, in her feature debut) and a loose screw.
Under the direction of James Cameron protegé Steven Quayle, the visual effects from Ariel Velasco Shaw (who has crafted mayhem on everything from 300 to Freddy vs. Jason) ensure that no industrial hook through a skull is left unimagined. And speaking of hooks, if there’s got to be a trendy-if-unnecessary 3D application, it might as well be applied to flying objects of death, whooshing with cheerfully deadly aim towards audience eyeballs. B