Monday, January 9, 2012

DVD Review: Final Destination 5

Final Destination 5 **
Directed by: Steven Quale.
Written by: Eric Heisserer.
Starring: Nicholas D'Agosto (Sam), Emma Bell (Molly Harper), Miles Fisher (Peter Friedkin) Ellen Wroe (Candice Hooper), Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Olivia Castle), P.J. Byrne (Isaac Palmer), Arlen Escarpeta (Nathan), David Koechner (Dennis), Courtney B. Vance (Agent Jim Block), Tony Todd (William Bludworth).

I have watched all five final destination movies, even if I must admit after the first one I cannot say I ever fully enjoyed any of them. They all have the basic plot – one member of group that is about to be horribly killed in some sort of accident “sees” the accident happening in their mind right before it does. He goes crazy, and starts screaming that they need to get out of there. Most people ignore him, some come with him, and when it turns out they’re right, everyone wonders how the person could have possibly known. They don’t wonder too hard though – they’re just relieved that they didn’t die. But then, one by one, the survivors start dying. And they don’t simply drop dead of a heart attack, but go through a series of bizarre coincidences that lead to their gruesome demise.

Let’s be honest here – the reason those of you who have watched all the Final Destination movies is the same reason I have – and it’s not because of the acting, the direction or the complex plots. We watch to see people die in bizarre ways. There is no other reason to watch these movies – the broad outline of the story never changes, it’s just the grisly way people die that does. Now, if these movies were as vile and despicable as something like the Hostel movies, then we’d probably have need of some psychological counselling to try and figure out why we enjoy watching people get tortured to death. But the Final Destination movies aren’t like that. For all the blood and guts spilled, they are actually fairly light hearted. Yes, people die in gruesome way, but they ways they die are so inventive and outlandish that you can be forgiven at laughing at them, instead of being scared.

The same is true of the fifth instalment. A paper company (I’m couldn’t help thinking of Dundler Mifflin, especially since David Koechner, who has guest starred on The Office is the boss) is going on a corporate retreat. On the bus ride, Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) sees a horrific bridge collapse coming, in which they’re all going to die. He gets a few people to safety instead – but then they start dying.

The problem with these movies is that because we know everyone is doomed, and because the characters are for the most part poorly written and acted, it becomes impossible to care about any of them. The highlights of this movie are once again, the deaths themselves. The bridge collapse is brutal and bloody, just like we want. I enjoyed the way the filmmakers played with the survivors subsequent deaths – they are having a lot of fun setting up gruesome, complex deaths, and than shock us with a more sudden death, when the original complex one, doesn’t quite work out.

Other than the deaths, there is little else to Final Destination 5. You sit there and wait for these people you don’t care about to die. Yes, the deaths are well handled. But there needs to be something else to make the film worthwhile. But you know what? I’ll watch Final Destination 6.

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