Rating: 2 stars out of 5
The Final Destination franchise returns once again, sticking to formula like a wad of chewing gum. A group, comprising mainly of teenagers and a stodgy boss on a company retreat, are doomed to die in an accident. One person in the group, however, has a flash forward and warns the rest.
Death, being the fun guy that he is, then resorts to setting up elaborate situations to slowly kill off the survivors, usually in highly painful methods.
There’s certainly very little different here from the previous instalments. The current group of B-list actors are led by newcomer Nicholas D’Agosto, and besides being potential victims, there’s little depth in characters or distinguishing characteristics, besides a couple of jerks. They might as well have set up mannequins with target circles on their head.
What it comes down to, and where the franchise gets its fan base, are the elaborately choreographed deaths. Fans of the series probably come back to see what ingenious kills have been dreamed up this time, and there are a couple of entertaining ones in this instalment.
One of them is set during a gymnastics training section, and another at an acupuncture session. Newcomer director Steven Quale does the usual trick of teasing out the fun. Is it going to be that loose screw that’s going to kill our unknowing victim, or that puddle of water next to the electric circuit? There’s the usual fakeouts, red herrings and close calls to keep the suspense going, even if we know what the ultimate fate of the victims is.
The other defining moment is the accident that sets the whole thing in motion. This time it’s a bridge collapse that’s quite spectacular, not least in the ways the filmmakers and screenwriter have contrived ways to kill off the cast.
Tony Todd, famed for playing Candyman and the only constant in the films, returns after missing out the previous instalment, and gives the victims a heads up on what’s going on. The filmmakers have also thrown in a little twist to the film, though it’s quite a mild one that’s telegraphed early.
Nonetheless, this instalment should please fans of the series, and the end credits give previous kills from the franchise the 3-D treatment.
Final Destination 5 isn’t subtle, well-conceived and even the kills get laborious and fairly unimaginative, but if you’re a fan of the formula and not asking for anything more (like characterisation), this destination may be worth the trip.