Director: Steven Quale
Cast: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Elle Wroe
Watch Final Destination 5 online in the UK: TalkTalk TV / iTunes / Amazon Instant Video
/ Google Play
There’s nothing quite like waiting for a horrifically drawn-out death to unfold. The introduction of the key props. The gas cooker. The staple gun. The unfortunately misplaced meat cleaver. The unwitting victim walking into the middle of the death trap. The ironic comment as they slip on the unseen puddle of water…
Oh yes, there’s nothing like it. That’s why people love the long-running BBC series Casualty. And Final Destination 5? It’s like watching the opening of Casualty on repeat for 90 minutes. And then some.
Some will be tired of the same-old formula in the franchise’s fourth sequel. They’re fools. The secret of Final Destination is that its set-up is so simple (Death kills folks, even when they cheat him) that any time spent on exposition can be replaced with something more worthwhile. Like more horrifically drawn-out deaths.
And boy does Death know how to dead people. From an anatomically dubious gymnastics accident to a carefully positioned boat under a bridge, director Steven Quale takes a disturbing amount of pleasure from building up to each blood-splattered dispatch – a blunt, messy full stop that warrants applause every time. You can even forgive the novelty shots designed for its 3-D cinema release – 3-D should only be allowed for Werner Herzog cave documentaries and Final Destination sequels.
Of course, there’s no point reciting character names, but the cast is at least more familiar this time round – Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, and Nicholas D’Agosto acquit thenselves well, while David Koechner provides a fair amount of inappropriate comic relief. The ensemble isn’t emotionally engaging but they all make for great meat bags.
What’s striking, though, is how clever Final Destination 5 is when playing with those bags. Where the last film was trash, featuring a post-modern set piece in an exploding cinema, the self-aware streak here leads to a neat twist upon the original system. None of that life-beats-death malarkey from Final Destination 2. Here, death can only trump death – and only that creepy black dude (Tony Todd) from the first film can tell you otherwise.
The result is a tense piece of drivel that relies not only upon looming destruction for its suspense (one scene at an eye doctor’s is excruciating), but also on the interaction between characters. The human-versus-human angle leads to a surprisingly mature (yet satisfyingly dumb) final act – and an inspired ending that should please horror fans hoping for a more original form of popcorn fodder.
For everyone else, there’s always Casualty.