Final Destination 5
Director: Steven Quale

Cast: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Arlen Escarpeta
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Yep it’s another Final Destination movie and since the plot for them hasn’t changed a single, solitary bit since the first movie back in 2000, you know exactly what to expect. Some young and far too pretty people narrowly avoid a massive and over the top death scenario, be it an airplane crash, killer roller-coaster, world’s worst traffic accident or whatever, by someone getting a psychic vision of the impending doom. This cheat really pisses the grim reaper off to no end who then strives to put things right through the use of usually overly complex deaths. Think of the traps from Saw as seen through the eyes of a morbid Rube Goldberg, with a healthy dose of happenstance and whimsy mixed in for good measure.

The protagonists always try to find a way to escape their fatal fate while all their friends around them die gloriously gory deaths, and by the end of the movie they will think they did cheat death a second time only to get a “surprise” (yep, those are finger quotes) death at the end proving that no one can escape their fate. And seriously, that’s it, that’s the exact same story, over and over again, with only new death scenes cut and pasted into the movie to make one film the least bit different from those that came before it. Hell, even the endless chain of Friday The 13th movies had more variety and creativity than that.

But you know what, that’s ok. Because the real star of these movies have never been the mad-libs with gore story, or cute but forgettable twenty-something actors, or the competent at best, but in no way thrilling direction, or even Tony (Candyman) Todd as the voice of death. No, you go to see a Final Destination movie for the crazy kills and sensational splatter and these films have always delivered the goods. Thankfully Part 5 is no exception to this and the kills come fast and bloody in this latest installment.

The one, and pretty much only, new wrinkle to this tail is the setup, the aforementioned big catastrophe that the stars of the show narrowly escape. This time it’s a bridge collapse in all its CGI splendor. After that comes the usual “who will die now and how” part of the film and this is where these movies shine as death gets medieval on their collective asses for daring to turn him down when he first asked them to dance. However, as rote as this part of the film is, I must say that the ending of Final Destination 5 was, in a word, super-freaking-awesome. Seriously, it’s the best ending of any of the movies from the series and if you are a fan of the Destination flicks, it is worth the price of admission alone just to see it. Also as impractical as it first seems, in retrospect the movie plays 100% fair and honest with the big twist. Go ahead, watch it a second time and you’ll notice all the clues you first missed.

As far as extras on the new Blu-ray from Warner Brothers goes, like the movie its self, the majority of them focus on the stars of the show; the death scenes. From alternate versions of the deaths, to behind the scenes bits on the technical aspects on creating those deaths, to split-screen features on two of the big set pieces. Sadly there was no commentary track, but what would such a thing be, anyway? “Ok here we thought it would be cool if someone died during lasik eye surgery. Now here we were thinking about acupuncture needles…”

Final Destination 5 does nothing new, but what it does, it does well. If you’re a fan of the FD flicks then you’ll dig this one too. If you’re not, then this movie won’t do a thing to change your mind. If you’ve got a jones to see people get squished, sliced, bashed, stabbed, electrocuted, and all sorts of other icky things happen to them real good, then this movie is the one for you.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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