Everyone hates to balance their checkbook... that's if you have a checkbook to balance in this extreme digital age that really does the job for you with the whole internet banking phenomenon. You might also find fault with the process when the debits and credits are the lives and deaths of your friends. Let's give a friendly "Hello" to a 3-D film that does what its predecessor and other horror three dimensional pictures could not. Final Destination 5 doth dress to impress with no overdraft fees or minimum balance. Kill 'em all!
So I made a bold statement. Final Destination 5 does what its predecessor and other horror three dimensional pictures could not do. Quite simply you've got the same goofy cast of early twenty-somethings skirting death only to find out that death has a Karmic system just life the big ol' life wheel has a Karmic system. If you're looking for a new plot device you can hand in your keys in now and take your old position back at the Slop & Shop. Yes, there's a twist, but it's not a real twist. It's pretty much an iteration on previous twists and it doesn't matter anyway because if you were watching FD5 for the twist ending... well, we discussed where you can go.
What the fifth installment of these series does ever so well is to give the audience some characters you don't hate. You may even like some of them. You might call them lovable. Things you won't call them: realistic, good actors, ugly, late for dinner. It's important to have characters you care about AND also want to see them die. It's the fatal flaw in the body count/slasher flick movies that almost get it but epic fail in my humble opinion. Either the characters are too lovable and its no fun watching them get hacked apart and you're girlfriend wants to leave the theater, not because she she's scared but because she thinks her friends have all been killed and wants to check on them. Not good (for you anyway... maybe you had the hole in the popcorn trick in mind anyway, you savage!). Let's go the other route. You want to see the characters die and haven't a care in the world for them. This is true torture porn mentality. It doesn't show up in just torture porn fetures mind you. We like the to use the word porn because it invokes a feeling instant gratification... no pesky emotions to get in the way. You bring your date to one of these flicks and she better be a hardcore horror and/or Traci Lords fan. Otherwise, whoops, you lost your date to those guys in Animal House... and yes, they will dance with your date. Piranha 3-D didn't make you like the characters at all. The film is great because its fun and that's all well and good. It isn't complex; it's the kegger of summer horror flicks. My Bloody Valentine 3-D... haven't seen it. It's a remake of a great picture (just like Piranha ), but I don't think Harry's killing any budding young starlets who are hell bent on making you feel something.
How does this film shape up against its predecessors. The original flick took a great idea and made it a franchise. We thank it for that. Sure, there were kinks to be worked out, but we can all agree it got the job done. Pop culture knows what the story line is about and that's half the battle. You think Nightmare or Friday would be successful unless the audience knew the "legend" of the antagonists? Franchises are great because you get to hear how Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan saved the great forest of the north from [fill in the story du jour]. So you wanna compare this picture to the original, I say the original wins on ingenuity, but not on effects and not on creative death (that's the reptile brain talking... PORN).
Part two and three blend together, don't they? I'm not saying that we don't have some impressive death "mouse traps", but really you're watching Saw: the Teen Years. Nothing new. Not as ingenious as the original but fun. Great for your Halloween party. Good to cut up and show on non premium cable networks.
Part four... I'd like to write Final Destination Four a letter. It would read like this:
Dear Final Destination 4,
I appreciate all the time and effort you must have put into coming up with some really neat-o death sequences that let the viewer almost see how the cout du gras would occur with an element of cereal box toy surprise. Perhaps if you had focused on finding some actors that didn't come straight out of Summer Stock or dropped out of the school of visual arts around the corner from the shooting lot, we might be able to enjoy the narrative. I realize you aren't giving us anything new or trying to out film Felini... after all this is just a Hollywood's newest take on the body count since nobody wants to touch a Friday the 13th sequel (only a remake right now. I sincerely hope you don't think we are fooled by your inability to understand our need for human connection with the soon to be slaughtered. Love the escalator death. I think its an important step for a genre piece to attach itself to as many of my own personal fears as possible. I'll take the elevator from now on even if its marked for the use of handicap folks only. Stay out of the 3-D business until it looks better than the hologram on my 7-11 Baseball Card Coin off the bottom of my Slurpee in 1987.
Penniless because you stole the money right out of my pocket
Let's talk about the death match here. Final Destination 5 vs. Final Desination 4. Is it obvious I'm not a huge fan of part four and not simply because its a rehash of a great idea (they all are). I didn't care that it was "The Final Destination". I was prepared for faux franchise ending. Jason, Freddy, Myers... it happens. I was upset, as previously stated (anybody got a stamp for that letter), that the director was more concerned with death sequence after death sequence and less concerned with narrative to glue the whole thing together and have actors that could get the job done. Final Destination 4 wasn't funny enough to be Shaun of the Dead or Student Bodies... it came off like bad stand up at times. Enter Final Destination 5. You've got some pretty damn good 3-D. Shoot a movie with 3-D cameras and you get some fine results. Moments of humor don't overshadow some fair acting with some chemistry between two of our lovebirds (you'll figure out who they are quick enough). I'll tell you there's a fine ending for this one that blows several of the earlier works out of the water. Make sure to get there early because if you miss that credits you haven't learned anything about 3-D movies or the Final Destination franchse. Half the juicy stuff that hooks you in the first ten minutes. Plan accordingly. Don't get caught in the bathroom; wear a diaper.
Items of note:
-Isn't that corrective eye surgery scene reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange and just a bit like Argento's Opera? You can say no. I really can't say whether the director like Argento, but the Clockwork Orange reference is almost unmistakable. I will not be getting Lasik for at least a year now. My optometrist thanks you for the new frame bills that will help pay for her vacation this year.
-Also, the music is powerful. Always has been and it really holds up. It's time to start thinking of it in line with Candyman and the Exorcist. Speaking of Candyman...
-Tony Todd... increased presence... maybe on the uncut DVD? I guess he has three lines instead of one. He's still got that spooky voice.
-Miles Fisher... shorter (is that possible) Tom Cruise? I squinted my eyes and yep... I thought I saw Nicole Kidman trying to murder the poor bastard. A guy can dream right?
-Jacqueline MacInnes Wood... your introduction has stuck with me... even when you die. Thank you (Don't think I'm giving away anything here).
-David Koechner... you're a funny guy. They could have utilized you better. Still, it's nice to see a real funny man in a horror picture.
The CGI works for this picture even though I'm a live effect man myself. I can take a computer generated blood bath every once in awhile when it makes sense. The complexity of some of these deaths requires the help of from the WOPR of Wargames fame. I won't hate on it for that. Looked good and the girl in front of me got up after each violent kill only to come back five minutes later. I hope she was puking. She was like twelve years old with her dad. Is that funny? Yes it is. All we are is dust in the wind... or puke in a vomit bag. You pick.
In case you were wondering I score this franchise as follows: 1,5,2,3,4... best to worst and the gap between 1 and 5 is a hairline crack.