If I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. I really liked the first two in the series. The third was OK, and the fourth one bored the pants off me. The fifth movie in any series is not usually an improvement on its predecessors (look at Friday 13th: A New Beginning, or Nightmare on Elm St: The Dream Child).
This instalment starts off in much the same manner as the others. It introduces you to a group of people (in this instance, a group of workers in a paper mill, off to a company retreat), sets up the massive, effects laden disaster, kills them all off in glorious 3D and then has one of the victims wake up from his vision, in time to save his friends from being splattered.
The special effects are very well done, especially at the start, but as the movie rumbles along and the body count increases, the sense of déjà-vu becomes overpowering. I started to lose interest, despite the elements of black humour and the couple of sly winks to other films in the series.
Then, around 2/3 of the way through, the film surprised me. The story took an unexpected twist that threw things up in the air, and made me sit up and take notice again. The ending actually impressed me.
The film has its faults. Some of the acting is woeful, and more than a couple of the characters are little more than cardboard cut-out caricatures, waiting for their inevitable demise. I also got the feeling that they spanked most of their special effects budget on the opening disaster. A few of the death scenes were very sudden, and lacked the red herrings or build up from the earlier movies in the series.
On the positive side, the special effects work very well, especially in 3D. A few of the deaths made me cringe and/or laugh out loud, and I loved the ending, which ties the whole series up nicely.
If you liked the other Final Destination films, then you’ll enjoy this one. It’s not exactly cerebral, but it’s fun, hits all the notes that fans will expect, and adds a couple of plot twists to keep things interesting. It’s a refreshing return to form for a series that I’d all but written off. I wouldn’t complain if they ended things here, but deep down I know that somebody, somewhere, is probably working on Part 6. Another Final Destination, at this point, seems as inevitable as death.
Expected rating: 4 out of 10
Final Destination 5 is out now in the US, and is released in the UK on the 26th of August