“Death doesn’t like to be cheated”: ‘Final Destination 5’ Review

Posted in Screening Room by - October 24, 2017
“Death doesn’t like to be cheated”: ‘Final Destination 5’ Review

After the creative disappointment that was The Final Destination, Director Steven Quale and writer Eric Heisserer (Arrival) go back to the roots of the series and deliver an installment that feels fresh, nostalgic and delightfully macabre.

The story, which feels again like a retread of the other films, is that while on a reunion with his friends Sam has a premonition when crossing the bridge that it will collapse, but of course no one believes him. The premonition is one of the film’s biggest sequences, both in scale and in body count, and truly feels like something on the level of what David R. Ellis accomplished in Final Destination 2 crafting something that is terrifying and suitably sprawling. After his premonition becomes a reality, and a myriad of people are killed, coroner William Bludworth (once again played by the devilishly sinister Tony Todd) warns the survivors that he’s seen this type of event before but warns them of the ever-threatening presence of Death.

With those ominous words of warning, the survivors continue about their lives and try to piece together a way to stop Death before he gets to them. One of the best aspects of Quale’s direction is how incredibly tense and suspenseful it is during the murder sequences. Without spoiling a lot, one of the signature sequences of this film is the eye procedure scene, and with a combination of intense close-ups and genuinely disgusting effects, Quale truly achieves some of the most absurdly creative murder sequences of the entire franchise. There’s also another one involving a gymnast, that’s all I’ll say, but that one feels like a wonderful combination of practical effects and old-school style tension.

This installment also boasts a pretty solid and incredibly fun cast led by D’Agosto but also Emma Bell, P.J. Byrne, Arlen Escarpeta, Courtney B. Vance and David Koechner all provide an incredibly fun presence to the overall tone of the film. A lot of what makes the Final Destination series so watchable and a creative entry into the horror genre is that it’s a unique take on the slasher film – instead of the killer being a supernatural killer it’s a mysterious and ever-present force that you can’t see. That’s something that creates more tension than some of the other standard slasher entries into the genre.

What this chapter does that is truly successful is how fun and incredibly twisted some of the murder sequences are. In many ways, they have the same level of absurdity of something like Final Destination 2, specifically the falling glass death scene, that has given the franchise a celebrated cult status amongst horror fans.

Final Destination 5 doesn’t reinvent the franchise but does give it a breath of fresh air after the disappointment of The Final Destination. While there are sequences that involve CG, the emphasis on five is to have its murder sequences have a delicate balance between practical effects and computer imagery, and that’s where a lot of the impact of those sequences comes from. Final Destination 5 is a fun, energetic and well-paced entry into the franchise that ranks as one of its most entertaining ones.

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He is an avid movie fan and loves to write about movies perhaps a little too much. He also considers Casino Royale to be the best James Bond film ever made and he's ready to defend at any moment.
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