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Death is Pissed...Again

Movie Review: Final Destination 5 (2011)
Summary: Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there’s no way you can cheat Death.
Spoilers: none

Due to a premonition of one of the passengers, a group of survivors from a bus accident on a collapsing bridge escape death and find themselves picked off one by one in the order they should have died in the accident. That is the plot of Final Destination 5.

* Sigh *

Yes, we have yet a fifth movie in the Final Destination series. Four just weren’t enough, although we are told this film finishes out the series. Why they persist in giving us these drained and pointless continuations to what we got the point of in the first or second movie is anyone’s guess, but we’re certain it has something to do with cheap gore, easy thrills, and a generally low-functioning audience.

The film’s scripted feel is thankfully a thing that mostly characterizes the opening. But there are certain things that never change for the better in a series, and in this case, that’s the tendency to make extravagant gore funny, or at least try to.

As usual, the characters in Final Destination tend to be thinly thought-out and of mild self-contradiction. We find ourselves not just intrigued by the gore, but humorously lead on by fundamentally weak characters.

“Olivia” (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) is supposed to look like a bookworm type, but loves her huge breasts. “Candice” (Ellen Wroe) is the understated athletic girl who just loves life. “Isaac” (P.J. Byrne) is the glasses-wearing tech-support guy who thinks he can get the hottest girls and has the smoothest line and repulsively tries to show us.

By way of characters that aren’t overstated, we have “Sam” (Nicholas D'Agosto) and “Emma” (Molly Harper). They are at a low point in their relationship, but they’re perfect for each other. They’re basically just two beautiful lovebirds caught in a horror film. Best friend “Pete” (Miles Fisher), who looks like a young, bushy-eyebrowed Tom Cruise, is another good kid, but becomes unglued a little bit easier than anyone else. And “Nathan” (Arlen Escarpeta) is your everyday black dude who happens to be low-key and cool. He, too, takes his rightful place as just another poor guy trapped in the flick.

“Dennis” (David Koechner) is their boss. He’s quite a lousy boss and doesn’t notice when a group takes vodka shots in his office during working hours and right under his nose. “Agent Block” (Courtney B. Vance) is the determined FBI agent who has it set in his mind that Sam’s premonition-based knowledge of the accident was not an accident, but a crime. Instead of sticking to tracking down counterfeiters and white-collar misdoings, he sees fit to focus on a bridge catastrophe even after it is ruled an accident.

Death is ridiculously thorough in these movies, whereas in real life, a person gets their back broken or loses an eye and they go on living. Not here. Every accident results in a fatality. But death does have a nice streak; before killing them, he allows the bus survivors to make it back home and gives them time to grieve and be warned by a mysterious coroner (Tony Todd) that they’ve cheated death and now he is pissed, just as in all the other exactly the same movies of the series.

We don’t have a good film on our hands, but as a sequel, it is a slightly better one. Sure, people’s moods seldom match the occasions we find them in and the gore is a giggle, as are bodies crumbling and snapping like toothpicks in the most improbable of accidents, but apparently, fans of the series love it so. Falling bodies impacting hard surfaces and exploding into large patches of blood like a squished bug on a windshield is evidently what the easily entertained fans of the series have been calling for.

A few clichés like, “I came as soon as I heard” are here to go with the same less-than-amazing turn of events we’re used to, with the events never being fully explained. I’m still surprised they didn’t wait for Halloween to release this.

Despite efforts to bring us a better movie that the others of the series, this one adds nothing major (despite some vivid 3D affects) to change up the ordinary routine of “can’t cheat death”—a routine we are very familiar with by now and no longer excited by.

(JH)

Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: R (for strong violent/gruesome accidents, and some language)
Director: Steven Quale
Starring: “Olivia” (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), “Candice” (Ellen Wroe), “Isaac” (P.J. Byrne), “Sam” (Nicholas D.A’gosto), “Emma” (Molly Harper), “Pete” (Miles Fisher), “Nathan” (Arlen Escarpeta), “Dennis” (David Koechner), “Agent Block” (Courtney B. Vance), “Coroner” (Tony Todd)
Genre:  Horror / Thriller
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