Review in a Hurry: Critics of the Final Destination sequels may say they appeal only to sick, twisted individuals who like to laugh at onscreen misfortune…and they’d be absolutely right. Hard to believe that the first movie aimed at being a genuinely suspenseful shocker from a pair of X-Files producers; it’s now all strictly about the elaborate kills, and the associated red herrings. If you know and dig this, you’ll have a blast.
PHOTOS: Movie Premiere Pandemonium
The Bigger Picture: It’s honestly no insult to say that the best thing about FD5 is its credits—they may be the most gloriously overboard examples of such ever committed to film. Opening titles throw multiple hazardous objects at your face in a shower of 3-D broken glass, while the end credits showcase a montage of the franchise’s greatest deaths enhanced with additional 3-D gore and scored to AC/DC.
If you missed any of the first four installments, the formula is as follows: Massive disaster sequence, usually involving attractive young men and women dying violently. Sudden reveal that this was just a premonition, as one character starts yelling at everybody to run away because something bad is going to happen. A significant number of people go along with it, only to later find themselves dying as a result of mysterious Rube Goldberg-like coincidences, in the order they would have died anyway. Each time, the designated main character tries to figure out a way to make an exception to death’s arbitrary rules, and every time thus far everyone has ended up eventually buying it anyway.
As a result, there’s no real continuity (save the occasional Tony Todd cameos as a creepy mortician) and no suspense to speak of. Death may literally be an invisible hand in this series, but he/she/it is nonetheless the best modern-day equivalent of Jason Voorhees—as in the Friday the 13th sequels, the thrill is in the slasher’s creative sadism. Except Jason only got one 3-D movie, and FD is now on to its second. (It should be noted that both franchises fake-promised to stop at part 4.)
Of the new cast, only Miles Fisher really makes an impression. As the absurdly focused team leader for the local paper factory, he comes off like a demented young Tom Cruise (a role he portrayed previously in Superhero Movie). Director Steven Quale, a James Cameron protégé, keeps things reasonably fun despite the fact that we really don’t care about much that happens between moments of violence. The ending, however, rewards longtime fans nicely.
The 180—A Second Opinion: It’s probably too much to expect in a sequel with this high a number, but a plot that actually got into why death behaves in such a capricious manner might keep our attention more than the frivolous relationship drama we get now.
GALLERY: Movies From the Future