Final Destination 5 DVD Review
Directed by Steven Quale
Written by Eric Heisserer and Jeffrey Reddick
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 92 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 26th December 2011
Nicholas D'Agosto as Sam Lawton
Emma Bell as Molly Harper
Miles Fisher as Peter Friedkin
Ellen Wroe as Candice Hooper
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood as Olivia Castle
P.J. Byrne as Isaac Palmer
Tony Todd as William Bludworth
If you aren’t aware of the general premise of the Final Destination franchise by now, you really shouldn’t be here reading this. Go on, leave now. It’s hard to imagine any other franchise sticking so rigidly to the same formula and being successful enough to reach five movies. Sure, long-running slasher franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween followed familiar paths in each episode (with the exception of Halloween 3), but they didn’t mimic each other so closely as the Final Destination films do.
If you didn’t leave when I told you to, here’s a detailed analysis of the Final Destination template: Big disaster happens, some kids cheat death, death catches up with them. The end.
My first experience of this fifth chapter was during Frightfest in August 2011, where I and 1100 other horror fans got to see the film in 3D on the massive Screen 1 of London’s Leicester Square Empire Cinema. Back then I gave it five stars. It was a genuine crowd pleaser, playing to an audience that was clued up on horror movies and eager to lap up the film’s gory set-pieces. The opening disaster scene is one of the best compared to any of its predecessors, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the motorway pile-up of part two.
For home viewing it doesn’t fare quite so well; it’s still an extremely entertaining ride, but unless you can fit another thousand or so horror fans in your living room the atmosphere isn’t the same.
Where FD5 succeeds is in its self-awareness. It knows the audience is expecting a mouse-trap style chain reaction, ultimately resulting in someone’s gory death, but it teases by keeping the viewer guessing on exactly how the sequence will end. Sure, that loose screw on the gymnastic balance bar looks like it will cause something, but exactly how it ties into the final, bone-crunching finale of that scene isn’t quite as you’d expect. Similarly, the wise-ass stuck full of acupuncture needles in a burning room doesn’t exactly meet the end his situation would suggest.
On the downside for home viewing is the lack of 3D (at least on this screener version) as many of the best effects have been shot to maximise their potential in screen-popping gore. As a result, some are a touch cheesy in the same way that old 3D movies (Friday the 13th III for instance) look when viewed in glorious flat-screen.
It’s better to go out on a high than a profit-wringing, DTV sequel and Steven Quale has certainly done that with his directorial feature film debut. Tying itself brilliantly to the first film, it is the perfect end to a franchise that has varied in quality, but usually delivered throwaway popcorn horror for the multiplex generation. You can’t blame them for trying to entertain.
Audio, video and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener.
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.