Friday, October 7, 2011

Final Destination 5 (3D)

I just want to warn you upfront – This review is not all objective. With that in mind, I proudly present my thoughts on the fifth installment of the Final Destination movie franchise, a film series that I have very fond, but sick & twisted memories of.

It’s been a while since I’ve been impressed by a Final Destination movie and I’ve been hoping for years now that a director would come along that made one that gets close to the brilliance achieved by the very first Final Destination film. While it might be a bit of a stretch to appoint Final Destination 5 as an equal to the first, it is definitely (in my opinion) the best and most satisfying installment since then.

There are a few things that work in the film’s favour: Firstly, and most importantly, the death scenes are truly brilliant, with a few of them even exceeding the creativity of the signature fatalities from the original. Highlights include an excruciatingly painful, but exhilarating gymnastics practice session as well as an eye-operation gone horribly south. What make these scenes brilliant however are not the gory climaxes, but the clever build-up of nerve wracking tension, as relatively unknown director Steven Quale does a superb job at balancing the eye-popping moments of flesh explosions with stressful minutes of pure dread.

"Steven Quale does a superb job at balancing the eye-popping moments of flesh explosions with stressful minutes of pure dread."

But to be frank, this is the one department that Final Destination films have always done at least half-right, which means that successful goriness alone is not going to be enough to propel this mindless popcorn fest above the bulk of its predecessors. But luckily, Final Destination 5 also benefits from the inclusion of a quite capable cast of nobodies, that do a creditable job at not being too irritating before they get drowned, decapitated deboned and so forth. Nichola D’Agost (Fired-up, Mardi Gras) plays the role of sensitive semi-jock commendably, whilst David Koechner (Piranha 3D, Balls of Fury, Snakes on a Plane) serves as the films only really familiar face.

Please don’t mistake my comment as a direct praising of the actors’ talents however – It’s still quite bad, but does serve as definite a step up from past installments. And in a movie where acting is such a secondary point of consideration, you don’t even mind some of the more horrible caricatures, like a fat & geeky male chauvinist clown.

The plot follows the typical Final Destination template, but colours it in with some interesting twists & turns that you might not see coming and even if you do, you’re likely to at least appreciate the writer’s deliberate attempt of spicing up the franchise with some fleshy detours.

3D effects are used sparingly, but when it does come into play, you can expect some ‘eye-popping’ visual delicacies that manage to heighten the film’s shock factor quite considerably during certain key mutilations. The best example of the effective use of 3D however happens very early in the movie, in the form of a beautiful opening credits roll – You’re struggling to believe that credits can be exciting, aren’t you?  But nevertheless, it’s small little details like these that you’ll come to appreciate as your realize the film is far more polished than the last few entries of the series.

"... it’s small little details like these that you’ll come to appreciate as your realize the film is far more polished than the last few entries of the series."

That all being said, non-fans will probably still not be converted by this one and the film is still very much only for those who like their films with a deliberate sprinkling of bloody cheese. But those who like their comedy black and don’t mind a clichéd storyline will definitely find a lot to indulge in!

Yes, this is going to end badly.

Highlight: All I can say (without giving anything away) is that the best scene in the movie involves a screw… Gymnastics will never be the same again!