When one pops in a neo-splatter flick with a title like Final Destination 5, one really can’t expect a very fresh formula. For those of us who remember what it was like to go to the cinema in the ‘80s and ‘90s, only to shudder at the sight of coming attractions for Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger vehicles (the real, original ones — not those lame Michael Bar re-imaginings), you know that it’s incredibly easy for a horror film franchise to overstay its welcome. And yet, much like Jason and Freddy, there exists a possibility that someone somewhere might be able to attach themselves to a new project and bring a little life into a series; not much, mind you but enough that you almost forget how bad the rest of the movie is and say “Eh, that was kinda cute” once something unique (for the series, that is) flashes across the screen.
Well, ta-da! Somebody did that with Final Destination 5. And, while that moment isn’t overly rewarding or wholeheartedly awesome, it can still make even the most jaded of horror moviegoers grin ever so slightly. Naturally, I’m not going to ruin the surprise for the two of you out there that either haven’t already seen the film and want to, or haven’t already been informed of the “twist” this film contains. Instead, let’s focus on how bad the rest of the movie is. And is it ever.
After a brief and almost hesitant introduction of our doomed main characters, the film revs up with what has to be the most cataclysmic bridge disaster in cinematic history. Actually, it’s better to refer to it as “the most cataclysmic CGI bridge disaster in cinematic history,” as movies like The Night the Bridge Fell Down, Funny Farm, and Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County would probably win the awards for non-Computer Generated Imagery overpass catastrophes. Nevertheless, once we get the minor bother of character introduction out of the way (and I do mean minor) and get on with the collapsing of the suspended roadway, we find ourselves at the hands of several young lead actors — all of whom are in harm’s way, having cheated Death.
And, as in the four films to preceded this one, Death has a habit of magically removing the characters skeletal structures and replacing them with gelatinous goo; viscous bodily sewage that shoots everywhere once the slightest bit of pressure is applied. The fatalities in this (final?) chapter are just as goofy as some of the ones we’ve seen previously — ranging from fatal acupuncture and lethal laser eye surgery. The kids in the starring roles here — Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Arlen Escarpeta, and P.J. Byrne — turn in performances ranging from tepid to downright awful, while the only notable real performers cast are co-stars David Koechner, Courtney B. Vance, and Tony Todd (the latter of whom reprises his role of the creepy coroner seen in several other series entries), though they aren’t given nearly enough to do (especially Todd, who’s character is left undefined once again).
Interestingly enough — despite this was released to theaters in 3D — Warner Home Video has given us with a standard 2D version of this on home video (there is a Blu-ray 3D version available, but as one of those damn Best Buy Exclusive things). That said, the film is presented in a lush 2.40:1 widescreen presentation with a lively English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in the lead, and French, Spanish, and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks also on-hand, and optional English (SDH), French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles. The only special features here are two alternate death scenes (which are basically what were seen in the finished film right until the end, wherein we witness something not nearly as interesting), a promotional featurette, and two split-screen comparisons of the film’s many, many CGI moments. The Blu-ray/DVD Combo comes with an Ultraviolet Digital Copy download code.
In short: Final Destination 5 isn’t as completely horrendous as you’d expect. It is a step up from some of the other chapters we’ve seen come from this franchise, though that’s really not saying much, I suppose.