Final Destination 5 (2011)
If there was any cosmic justice the Final Destination franchise would have been KO’d by death a long time ago. The initial interest of bizarre, fiendishly clever deaths and the constant macabre misdirection was fun, but now, after five movies, feels creatively exhausted. Once again a group of unremarkable characters survive a remarkable disaster, this time a collapsing bridge. And once again we have to follow them figuring out the rules of the movie series and that they’re all marked for death. The in-between stuff is some of the worst drama ever captured on screen. It makes you impatient for death to get off its duff and kill more teenagers so I don’t have to listen to their whiny, unrealistic problems. Coming off a limp fourth installment that was the highest-grossing one yet, the filmmakers once again turn to 3-D as their savior, which does not play well at all on your TV (a sailboat mast becoming an instrument for impaling?). It’s more annoying than anything. But the real draw of this movie is the gruesomely elaborate deaths, and they’re probably the weakest of the series (a gymnast’s body practically exploding once she hit a padded mat seems absurd even for this movie). There is one sequence that freaked me out but that’s because I’m quite squeamish when it comes to eye trauma. What ends up slightly redeeming Final Destination 5, as far as cheap horror movies go, is a surprising third act that breaks from the doldrums of the franchise formula. For once, the people decide to take life to save themselves when death comes calling, and they set their sights on each other, resentful that one of their own survived in the premonition staple. I think this horror franchise took a turn for the worst when it gave into its target audience’s cynical bloodlust, and I doubt there’s anything “final” about this series. At least the Saw franchise had the merit to die.
Nate’s Grade: C