The first instalment of Final Destination was released in 2000 with a cast of young hopefuls (including Devon Sawa from Idle Hands, Slackers and that’s about it really) and directed by James Wong, who at that point was a member of the team that brought us The X-Files. It was tongue-in-cheek horror that offered some gruesome and inventive deaths that I am glad to say make a welcome return in the newest instalment of this franchise. Steven Quale is in the director’s seat and his knowledge and respect for the original film certainly comes across. Tony Todd makes a welcome return in his role as Bludworth who manages to come up with some cool and creepy lines, delivered in his usual deep tone: “I don’t make the rules, I just clean up after the game is finished.”
A group of work colleagues are on their way to a team bonding session when the bridge they are travelling across starts to fall down. This opening major disaster scene is full of suspense and edge of your seat moments and of course some brutal and fun deaths – all introduced by the very apt Dust in the Wind playing on the radio – which adds to the humorous tone. In classic Final Destination style all of this is imagined in a premonition by Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto from Heroes) and he manages to persuade his colleagues to get off the bus and cheat death. If you are a fan of the franchise, this is one of the best of the lot and you will know what to expect.
Sam is introduced as the sensitive psychic one in the beginning sequence of the film, and all the characters are introduced to some extent before they set out on their perilous journey. Not all the characters are particularly nice people though, David Koechner plays the obnoxious boss with fervour and P.J. Byrne excels at being the worst work colleague you could ever wish for. I don’t want to give too much away but these colleagues pursue some hazardous activities outside of work including gymnastics (ouch!), training to be a chef and going for spas...
The deaths were inventive, fun and gory and the pacing was quick, with funny little moments that put you off the scent of the intended victims’ real fates. The action is removed from the quiet moments that move the story along and allow for a small amount of character development and pressure cooker tension to build. There are plenty of subtle (and not so subtle) nods to the previous films and the filmmakers have created a 3D montage sequence of some of the best kills from the franchise that takes the viewer on a little nostalgia trip of the last ten years. Overall, a solid horror that delivers on blood splattering, cover your eyes moments, but also brings the franchise to a satisfying conclusion.
Expected rating: 6 out of 10
Final Destination 5 premieres in the UK at FrightFest on 25th August and is on general release from 26th August.