What can I possibly say about Final Destination 5? Not only is it the fifth film in a franchise with “final” in the title, but it’s the fifth film in a franchise that’s unabashedly, laughably formulaic. But unfortunately not laughable in a comedic sense. Though I was sort of entertained by the first film, the franchise as a whole leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This is basically what you would get if you took an ‘80s slasher film and put it through three decades of generic, bland Hollywood formula filmmaking influenced by a generation of studio executives who wet their pants when they think about how much money Scream unexpectedly made. The script is barely more than an outline, the dialogue is absurd, and the acting is best left unmentioned.
With that said, Final Destination 5 has two things going for it. There’s a great, twenty minute opening sequence, as well as some superb 3-D effects. It’s also a hell of a lot better than Final Destination 4, though I could probably make a better film with a smart phone, some gum and some toothpicks.
A group of 20-somethings all working for a paper firm prepare to go on a weekend long retreat. Immediately after getting dumped by his girlfriend, nice-guy Sam has a vision that they’re all going to die horribly on a bridge. He manages to convince a few friends to get of the bus just as the bridge collapses. They spent the rest of the film dying horribly and jumping to the conclusion that they probably weren’t supposed to survive the bridge accident.
I went into the theater expecting to hate FD5 and expecting it to be irredeemably terrible, so I think knowing what you’re getting into is half the battle. If you enjoy watching soap opera-types get killed in gruesome ways for no reason, you’ll probably be reasonably entertained. (I think alcohol before, during and after also helped). I actually would have liked the film if it involved some sort of giant killer animals or ridiculously masked killer, but alas. Don’t expect anything clever or creative from the script, as I always unconsciously do.
One of the things that really blows my mind is the acting. It’s fucking terrible. It seems like the casting director went in search of some Days of Our Lives rejects. And yet I know that a lot of these actors have established television careers and they must be better than this. The Walking Dead’s Emma Bell even has a co-starring role, not that it amounts to anything. I’m going to blame this mostly on the studio, but also on director Stephen Quale. It’s his first, non-documentary feature, though he’s probably just spending too much time with James Cameron. Another potential source of blame is screenwriter Eric Heisserer, who wrote the awful Nightmare on Elm Street remake and the appallingly unnecessary remake of The Thing. Thanks for shitting all over everything I love, Hollywood.
Also, as a word of warning, don’t wait for the credits. Run from the theater at the final shot, because sandwiched between that and the credits is a horrific montage of deaths from the previous four films in the franchise that are all “enhanced” by the worst 3-D CGI blood I have ever seen. It’s insultingly bad.
Final Destination 5 is now playing in Philly area theaters.