“Final Destination 5” is a thrill-a-minute ride complete with 3D gore

The “Final Destination” franchise is a horror franchise unlike any other horror franchise in which the killer is not a mask-wearing psychopathic killer, but Death itself. Lights flicker and a slight chill is the usual MO for the presence of Death, who sets Rube Goldberg-esque booby traps that would cause the victim to die in bizarre ways. In “Final Destination 5”, another group of “lucky” people cheat death when they survive a major disaster, but they soon realize that Death does not like to be cheated and this ominous force will eventually cause their imminent demise.

A group of employees from a paper company are on their way to a company retreat. As they get on a bridge, Sam (Nicolas D’ Agosto) has a premonition of the bridge collapsing. He snaps out and warns his fellow passengers including his girlfriend (Emma Bell). Before you know it, his premonition comes true. This brings the attention of a FBI agent (Courtney B. Vance), who thinks it was more than just a mere accident. After being warned by an ominous coroner (Tony Todd) that death does not like to be cheated, the survivors soon begin to drop like flies one-by-one in freak accidents.

As a fan of this horror franchise, I liked every single one of these movies because it sticks to a formula that is unlike any other horror franchise by using the Grim Reaper as an ominous force that cause people to die in unusual and sometimes ironic ways. When the fourth installment came out two years ago, it seemed like the franchise ran out of steam.

“Final Destination 5” is the best sequel in the franchise and it as good, if not better, then the original movie. The movie is successful and entertaining thanks to the addition of some new blood franchise from Steve Quale, who has worked with James Cameron on several projects, and writer Eric Heisserer. They keep the audience on the edge of their seat as they use many techniques to create some great tension along with some subtle misdirection that eventually leads to some gruesome Grand Guignol moments.

Quale, who has worked with James Cameron on several 3D films, understands how to shoot a movie like this in 3D. The 3D element in this movie helps elevate the death scenes with some help from the special effects department. There is a guarantee that you will certain appendages will be flying and pop up in your face. The opening title sequence is fantastic in 3D with a variety of deathly objects that were feature in past films like knives and pipes that makes it feel like they are actually coming at you.

“Final Destination 5” does pay homage to the previous films that die-hard fans would appreciate whether it is a picture frame from that features the rollercoaster from “Final Destination 3” or a callback to death’s “greatest hits” from the previous installments to the tune of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”.

With movies like these, the death scenes are always the best part of the movie and the opening disaster sequence is no exception. The bridge collapse is easily tops any of the disasters that have occur in the previous installments as you see cars falling into the water and people impaled by several objects. While the scene is awesome, the accidents that befall the survivors are just as great as these moments feels more realistic compared to the cartoonish and ridiculous deaths seen in previous installments. It is understandable that a scene involving laser eye surgery is intense with just the sheer mention of it, but you will think differently about how you see gymnastics and massage parlors after you see this movie.

While it sticks to its basic formula, it also introduces some new concepts to the mythology. The film’s previous installments has told us that if you intervene and save someone from dying, it messes up Death’s plans and skips to the next person or the concept that you can’t kill yourself no matter how hard you try. In this movie, they introduce the idea that if you kill someone when your number is up, you take whatever life that they had left. This leads to some of the survivors considering about doing this dirty deed as this concept does lead to some fascinating pay-offs. The climax has a great scene that has some thrilling moments that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud, along with an ending that makes this film come full circle and possibly bookends the series.

There is no Oscar-winning performances in “Final Destination 5”, but this horror film does have passable performances that are nor atrocious. Nicolas D’Agosto and Emma Bell manage to play characters that we would care about if they were on the verge of being endangered. The supporting cast is just as good as they are not your typical fodder for Death as the character are more fleshed out this time around that include P.J. Byrne providing comic relief as a sleazy womanizer. Miles Fischer, who likes a cross between a young Tom Cruise and Christian Bale, has a great character arc as a man who takes survival of the fittest to a whole different level. It is also good to see the return of Candyman himself, Tony Todd, as the coroner who knows more about Death’s design then he lets on. Another good addition is adding some sense of police authority to the story with Courtney B. Vance investigating in the freak deaths of the survivors.

Watching “Final Destination 5” was the most enjoyable experience I have had in a movie theater for a long time. Not only is this one of the best movies to see in 3D, but it is also the best horror movie of the year that has characters you actually care about this time around, new twists to the mythology and outstanding death scenes. If this is the last movie of the film series, I am glad that it went out with a bang. However, I am totally up for more films from the franchise if they can be as fun and entertaining as “Final Destination 5” was.

“Final Destination 5”: 5 starts out of 5

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