Final Destination 5, directed by Steven Quale, sets itself up to be the final film in the Final Destination franchise. Although the Final Destination series as a whole is very predictable, this latest instalment brings something new to its supposed end with the new rule of ‘kill or be killed’.
Beginning in the same way as the others, Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) has a premonition of how he and his friends are going to die. This time around, Sam is sitting on a bus filled with his colleagues when he sees the bridge on which his bus is driving across collapse and all of his friends die in a variety of brutal and gore-filled ways. But death doesn’t like to be cheated, and one by one it begins to kill the eight survivors of the accident who are now living on death’s borrowed time. Can the group find a way of defeating death without turning against each other?
The survivors of the accident are named “The Lucky 8”. There’s Sam and his girlfriend Molly Harper (Emma Bell), his best friend Peter Friedkin (Miles Fisher), his boss Dennis (David Koechner), and his colleagues Candice Hooper (Ellen Wroe), Olivia Castle (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Isaac (P.J. Byrne) and Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta).
As always, the cast is mainly a set of new faces and talent, apart from David Koechner who is mainly known for his role in Anchorman. Whilst he’s not a bad actor, it’s strange to see him in a serious film and you find yourself constantly half-expecting him to shout “WHAMMY!” at any second. As for the other actors, this is probably the highlight of their careers; it’s not often that the cast of Final Destination are seen in anything bigger after their fairly mediocre and clichéd portrayals of young Americans. But then it’s only for the gore that this film is successful for, so we’re happy to see them goof around and then be thrown out of a multistorey building.
Promoting itself as “The Best Final Destination Yet”, it wasn’t far off. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to persuade people to go and see it in the cinema if they aren’t a fan of the franchise already.
Just like with the Saw franchise, we know the storyline off by heart and it’s by the fourth/fifth film that we usually stop caring, with only a small minority of people still going to see the films out of pure curiosity for its truly disturbing death scenes. However, this fifth addition is a must-see for fans of its predecessors, both to put an end to the franchise itself and to tie up some loose ends.
The best part about this fifth Final Destination is the suspense in the killings of these survivors. As with the other films, there are various clues given to how somebody might die – the shadow of a clawed man, the flash of a bus in the reflection of a window, the focus of a faulty fan – but this film works at its best.
Whilst you can sit guessing how they are going to die for minutes beforehand, speculating from this mass amount of clues (like the constant collection of candles lit around the death scenes; you’d have they would have learnt by now!), these focuses tend to only harm the victims or set up a much more brutal death. The suspense is painful, but it’s the final blow to the body that will utterly shock you in this instalment, as the makers show no fear of blood and gore. They certainly go all out with this film.
However, the film does also rely on some knowledge of the previous films, only hinting at things like the survivors being able to predict how they will die from clues in photographs of themselves, which is shown briefly but never explained. This instalment seems to miss out on some of what we learnt in previous instalments which I suppose is to avoid everything feeling too repetitive, but at the same time it does miss out on some of the bigger context.
If for nothing else, Final Destination 5 is one of few films that is worth going to see in 3D. Unlike many other films that promote themselves in 3D just to jump on the bandwagon, Final Destination 5 was written to be in 3D, and it definitely takes full advantage of this.
Is this the final Final Destination film? Well, it sets itself up to be by creating a loop to link all of the films together, ending with a montage of them all, but this is a franchise that could never end, so maybe it won’t.