Director: Steven Quayle
When a film franchise begins to lag in quality, a few fresh elements can be thrown into the mix to spice things up a little. The Final Destination series has been in such doldrums since the second film. The novelty ran out at the end of the first film, and as time has passed the repetitive nature of these films has sunk in; person envisages fatal disaster, helps others avoid it and death comes to take these survivors out in bizarre, bloody and cinematically OTT ways. Given how well Final Destination 5 sticks to this template, don’t expect Final Destination 6: Cancer Comes A’ Callin’.
This isn’t to say FD5 doesn’t have a few tricks up its sleeve, but it’s mostly franchise rote as we watch pretty young things get sliced and diced in myriad ways because they didn’t die when they were supposed to. An admittedly spectacular opening scene sees a suspension bridge collapse, and people are crushed/impaled/splatted like ants. It turns out the disaster is a vision witnessed only by Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) who is on a tour bus with his ex-girlfriend (Emma Bell) and his friends and co-workers about to go over the bridge. He saves them from their fate, but the Reaper is a persistent so-and-so. Having his evil way with (amongst other things) a corrective eye surgery laser and acupuncture needles, the remaining survivors learn that they can stave off death if they do his job and kill someone else. This information is imparted by a coroner named Bludworth, played by Tony Todd. Besides the fact that Candyman is above this material, the idea of killing to avoid being killed would have made a neat twist two movies ago, but the emphasis is still firmly on blind-siding the audience with red herrings just to shock them with a surprising death seconds later. Over and over again. In the first films, this was scary/funny. Now, it’s just patronizing.
On the plus side, the opening is a good’un, the ending is surprisingly clever and, with various characters being impaled on all manner of skewers and bars, this is one of the most effective 3D cinema experiences yet. However, diminishing returns at the box office suggest that both 3D and the Final Destination franchise may be on the way out. In a way, it’s a pity since both were just figuring out what works best. The novelty has been rediscovered, but it’s too little, too late.