Final Destination 5

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"Y'all just be careful now "

Sept 01, 2011

For the second time this year we get a stonking 5th entry in a franchise (Fast Five being the first). I remember when sequels were just mindless cash ins each becoming progressively worse. The Final Destination series was guilty of this with a couple of sequels but finally managed to get back on track. Not only is this a great sequel it has the best 3D I have seen outside of an IMAX. Don't miss out.

Let's not pretend this isn't a ground breaking story. If you've seen one Destination flick you've got a good idea where this one is going. Sam along with his co-workers take a lovely picnic in the south of France and a good time is had by all. OK so that didn't exactly happen. Sam has a vision of his co-workers dying in a spectacular bridge collapse. Saving them from certain doom each of the cast are killed off by death via freak accidents.

Normally I hate rinse and repeat sequels. In fact this is the 5th time I've had to write out the exact same plot synopsis in one of my reviews for this series. So what made this film different? They actually took the time to develop the characters so that we actually cared somewhat about their safety. The deaths were presented as something serious rather than the comedic tone of the last two and finally we were given a new element combined with the familiar for a fresh twist on the genre.

The opening accident has to be on par with the spectacular highway pile up of the second. The last two films opening scenes felt too generic and cheap with direct to video stamped on their arses. This was something that I was glad I saw on the big screen. Unlike the previous outing the accident is actually a little more prolonged than usual. Rather than rushing the event so they can squeeze in multiple deaths everything here is larger. Quality over quantity.

Now the acting in this one isn't as good as the original films in the series but it's a defiant step up from the last two entries. The teen cast do the best they can with some awful dialogue that I'm surprised came off better than it should have. What gives this film more gravitas is that along with the teens we were actually given performances by a couple of heavy hitters (at least by this series' standards).

David Koechner (Champ from Anchorman) manages to bring the funny and play the arsehole at the same time as skill he seems to have mastered over the years. It was great to see people that I recognised. Courtney B. Vance played a suspicious detective investigating the deaths. The character was great fun and it was nice for this movie to be a little more grounded in reality I mentioned in my reviews for the other entries that the police by the fourth film no longer seem to care about multiple teen deaths, great return here. But of course the best thing about this was the return of Tony Todd.

I never understood why they decided to reduce his role over the multiple features. Todd just has something about him that's mysterious and scary. Maybe it's the fact he'll always be Candyman to me, having someone scare the shit out of you as a kid makes an impression. I liked the fact that he appeared physically in the first two films not only did this add to the supernatural mystery but it lead to cohesion between the sequels and generated a shared universe. His return he is perfect and while we don't learn anything new about his character he does drop a new element that got me excited. If you take someone else's life you earn their remaining years.

Now why this is a fantastic plot addition it's never fully realised. Setting up a thrilling final act showdown between our main players I wish it had been revealed to them a little earlier. The device comes so late in the film that the characters aren't given the time to question the ramifications in too much detail. If we get another sequel I hope that this is carried over but the way things end here I very much doubt it.

Once again I'm not going to ruin the death scenes here as the fun comes from not knowing what's going to happen. The deaths are fantastic and some of the best in the franchise. Scaling back on the amount of people involved means that each death is given more time ramping the tension to almost unbearable levels. What makes them better is the fantastic 3D.

Now the last films 3D was passable fare that came when the technology was just starting out. Final 5 was filmed in 3D (no shitty post conversion here) which had me ducking objects in my seat (it was that good). 3D is best used as a gimmick which is why horror is such a perfect medium. With the high tension levels and the knowledge that something is going to pop out the screen this is horror at its best. It's been a while since I've seen a scary movie and felt uncomfortable and unsure. It was great.

Unlike the other movies in the series this one actually has a couple of tricks up its sleeve and has a fantastic ending that truly trumps the other films. No matter what each of the films were like all had strong endings and it's really impressive that they keep raising the bar. This one ends on such a high note you'll want to go back and watch it again (which I will be doing)

This is a fantastic movie and a perfect night's entertainment. While I've been to the cinema and liked a lot of films this year this is the first time in a long time I've left a film elated. I never expected to enjoy a film so much let alone one that is on its fourth sequel and of a dying franchise. Final Destination 5 may not be the best entry but its close slotting in right behind part two. For fans who have decided to give this one a skip rethink your decision this one is great.

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