Final Destination 5

Yes, the last movie was called “The Final Destination,” indicating it would finish the franchise.  But it made more money than any of the previous ones, so what Hollywood studio wouldn’t have made another sequel?

The simple plot, like in every single one of these movies, is that a bunch of people miraculously escape a fatal catastrophe thanks to a premonition, and now Death is determined to catch up with them anyway, usually in gruesome and unexpected ways.


It’s mostly just a setup to see what kind of crazy ways to kill people the filmmakers can invent.  And yet despite that formula, the quality varies widely.  I’m not really a horror fan, and yet I’ve seen each in the series.  They’re more like action/comedies…that happen to have a ton of gore.  It’s an odd mix, but they’re not really “scary.”  The first one actually tried to be,  with modest success, but the series changed with the second one, which is regarded as the high-water mark of the franchise.  The freeway crash that the characters avoid is one of the most spectacular action scenes ever, and the bait-and-switch deaths became a trademark.

Anyway, parts 3 and 4 went downhill but along comes 5, which manages to bring quality back.  It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does add a couple good twists, and is easily one of the best two in the series.  Possibly the best, but I haven’t seen part 2 in several years.

Whew.  Preamble aside, what makes this one good?  The opening catastrophe is stellar.  Amazing visual effects that rival anything in a summer blockbuster.  The cast is fine, with the likable Nicholas D’Agosto and viral video mastermind Miles Fisher (Check this out if you haven’t seen it) leading the doomed crew.  The deaths are creative, and several include situations that are already squirm-inducing, like the Lasik eye procedure, so adding the threat of death makes those scenes that much tenser.

For fans, there are references to every one of the other 4 movies, which made for some great Easter Eggs.  There is a twist that has probably been spoiled online, but I didn’t see it coming, and it blew me away.  Plus, they even inject a new concept into the formula, which keeps things more interesting than usual, since there’s now a glimmer of hope for the characters to survive.

The few complaints I have are mostly small.  A subplot with a suspicious detective doesn’t really go anywhere, and towards the end of the movie there are a couple of deaths that are low on the creativity scale.  There’s also no nudity in this movie.  It’s not like the previews teased it and it failed to delivery or anything, just that in an R-rated horror movie, gore and nudity often go hand in hand.

I need to add a caveat to my rating too.  I gave it a very high rating, but that’s for people who already like this kind of movie.  Really, the more you know this particular franchise, the more you will like this individual entry.  It’s certainly not a universal rating, in that I would recommend it to my parents or squeamish friends.  It’s the epitome of a niche movie.  The filmmakers know their target, and they deliver something great to them, while making no effort to appeal to “outsiders.”  You don’t have to know the other movies in the series, but you really should like horror/comedy to see this one.  If you do, I can certainly recommend it.

Ryan S. Davis

I love board games, thrill rides and travel. I'm happy to watch and review all kinds of movies, from mainstream blockbusters to art house indies. As a Warner Bros. employee, I'm privileged with a glimpse of Hollywood many don't see, but my opinions here are my own and not representative of the company.

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