By Adam Vaughan
It was with bewilderment and mild annoyance that I entered the screening of Final Destination 5 whose predecessor The Final Destination had a gratifying finite ring to it. Alas, money (no doubt boosted by its 3D), audience numbers and Hollywood writers with sadistic minds deciding how best to off their air-headed characters means that the fifth in the franchise gets its chance to cheat death. But it doesn’t get very far.
As with the previous movies, the plot remains the same – guy/gal has a premonition of some disaster, saves his group from disaster, before being bumped off one-by-one by the big Grim – only the names, places and deaths are different. A bridge collapse is the catalyst for our doomed group this time round as they travel to a business retreat to undergo team bonding exercises. Yes. Really. Surely this must be a sign that even the writers, after five editions, are running out of ideas?
That said, some of the sequences of death-dodging are pretty gruesome, although I’m apprehensive as to whether I should divulge any details of them as these episodes will be the only bits of creativity you’ll witness. But if I said ‘death by acupuncture and laser eye surgery’ (though not at the same time I hasten to add), I hope that’s enough to galvanise your gore-buds.
It has always been the case with this series of films that the outlandish offings are their highlights and they’ve got progressively sillier as the franchise has worn on. Director Steven Quale stages them as drawn out slapstick routines worthy of The Benny Hill Show. He is mostly known for serving as second unit director, responsible for the ‘actiony’ bits in films such as Titanic and Avatar. It’s no surprise then that the ‘talky’ bits play like an afternoon T.V. movie on Channel 5. And I mean that in the harshest way possible.
The film’s only substance comes from one of the lambs to the slaughter pondering as to whether they would be able to kill a stranger, therefore cheating death. Otherwise, this is murder by numbers and frankly the numbers simply don’t add up. One can only hope that this will be the final Final Destination. Then again, I said that at the end of the fourth one.