Main cast: Nicholas D’Agosto (Sam Lawton), Emma Bell (Molly Harper), Miles Fisher (Peter Friedkin), PJ Byrne (Isaac Palmer), Arlen Escarpeta (Nathan Sears), Ellen Wroe (Candice Hooper), Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Olivia Castle), David Koechner (Dennis Lapman), Courtney B Vance (Agent Jim Block), and Tony Todd (William Bludworth)
Director: Steven Quale
Wait, didn’t they say that The Final Destination would be the last ever movie in this franchise? Lying bastards. But at least they have gathered an attractive cast this time around, both guys and ladies. The better for them to die so beautifully, naturally.
The problem with Final Destination 5 is that, with every installment of the franchise, there is a need to upstage the previous movie while adhering to the same tired formula. The opening dramatic death scenes become more and more absurd, and the subsequent fatalities are so over the top and convoluted that I find myself thinking of the comparatively back-to-basic fatalities of the first movie and finding them far more terrifying because those scenes feel like something that can actually happen.
Anyway, in this one, we have a new bunch of meat waiting to die. The fellow who sees the vision of them dying is Sam Lawton. He and his colleagues Molly (also his ex-girlfriend), Peter, Nathan, Isaac, and Olivia, their boss Dennis, and Peter’s girlfriend Candice are all taking a bus with other nameless soon-to-die folks to a company retreat when the bridge collapses, killing all but Molly in most over the top ways. Sam manages to get the principal cast to run to safety just as the bridge starts to collapse. And so we begin the same old dance again. Oh, and Tony Todd makes a brief cameo as William Bludworth, to leave a cryptic warning to Sam and friends about death coming to bugger them all.
Yes, this movie is stale and played out, and the only amusement comes in the form of the occasional haw-haw-haw moments in the fatalities, with those of Isaac and Olivia being the most memorable for the deliberate darkly humorous moments present. But the rest of the movie feels so familiar that I’m feel like I’m watching on autopilot.
On the bright side, the fatalities are far more thoughtfully constructed than those in the last few movies and there are some efforts to flesh the characters into a semblance of two-dimensionality before they get splatted into pieces. The most memorable of them are perhaps Olivia, who is an amusingly insensitive bitch at times, Isaac for being a funny dog, and Peter for being a wicked bloke who resembles the love child of Tom Cruise and Christian Bale (which of course Mr Fisher exploits to the hilt in his musical and comedic gigs). The rest are bland at best. Still, as I’ve said, they are easy on the eyes, so it’s no hardship seeing them die. And the twist at the end is really neat – it is actually the only genuinely scary moment in the entire movie.
Final Destination 5 is actually better than the last few installments, second only the original, so in a way, it’s really a shame that it has to show up at the tail end of a franchise, when said franchise is already in its death throes. There are also some nice Easter eggs for fans of the previous movies. I might have liked it better when the novelty of the first movie was still fresh in my mind. As it is, this one is tainted through no fault of its own by the mediocrity to awfulness of the last few installments. It does tempt me to watch back the original movie, for what it’s worth.