By Mandy Griffiths
”Final Destination 5” is a haunting look at society’s attitudes towards death, the power of foreknowledge of tragedy on the human character, and a reflection on the desensitation of gore and pain for entertainment purposes.
There’s lots of good looking 20 something Americans with perfect teeth who die in increasingly brutal and bizarre ways though. So there’s that.
If you’ve seen the other ”Final Destination” films, and even if you haven’t, you won’t be surprised going into this movie that a group of people cheat death and then get slowly hunted down to take their rightful place in the ground.
This time the mass tragedy takes place on a bridge, and this whole sequence is visually spectacular, captivating and tense. The effects are incredible for what must have been a tight budget. The eight characters introduced in the opening scenes survive based on the premonition of Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto), who hurries his ex-girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) away from the bus of doom, and the lucky/unlucky few Peter ( Miles Fisher), Candice (Ellen Wroe), Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Issac (P.J. Byrne ), Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta) and boss Dennis (Anchorman veteran David Koechner) follow to safety.
A warning at the mass funeral by original ”Final Destination” character Bludworth (Tony Todd), complete with vague statements about death, knowing glances, a bit of a jaunty walk and whistling lets us know that the clock is ticking for our survivors. At this point the build up is gripping, and when we arrive at the scene of the first “reclaimed” death even a gymnasium looks more life threatening than a drug deal gone bad.
It really is quite imaginative the way everyday events, activities and objects can take on an unlikely chain of events that is their undoing. A teddy bear, a massage, it never is what you think it will be that does in the characters.
What is also surprising, and perhaps worrying, is how quickly you become desensitised to the deaths. What is at first tense and shocking soon becomes the norm, and the covering of eyes soon gives way to trying to figure out what the cause will be this time. One has to wonder what kind of movie world we live in when we walk away at the end wondering which death was the best. Also it was totally the gymnasium one.
The ending is a surprise and fans of the franchise will certainly get a kick out of it. The 3D is well done, enhancing the shocks, but most importantly it doesn’t darken the screen like so many do. Director Steven Quale’s past experience working on Avatar with James Cameron means he actually knows what he’s doing with 3D, but the glasses do get in the way when you’re trying to cover your eyes.
”Final Destination 5” succeeds in what it must have set out to do in that it is filled with imaginatively gory deaths, some impressive effects, good looking protagonists with some horror filled laughs along the way. If that’s what you want from your cinema going experience then go for it. Just don’t expect anything different from ”Final Destination” 4, 3, 2, 1…
Blu-ray details and extras :
The 1080p/AVC-encoded video really packs a punch! Reds are vivid, there’s lots of detail, flesh tones look natural and contrast is consistent; audio-wise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track offers just as much threat as the vision.
The disc comes complete with three featurettes – one which offers varied versions of the death scenes from the movie, another that’s pretty much just an EPK (only it encompasses a major spoiler), and there’s a vfx piece.
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