[31 Days of Horror Part VI: Jason Lives] Day 20 – Final Destination 5 (2011)

Director: Steven Quale

Cast: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, David Koechner, Tony Todd

Screenplay: Eric Heisserer

92 mins. Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, and some language.

 

After The Final Destination (intended to be the last film), I wasn’t quite sure how the Final Destination franchise could keep things interesting and exciting going into a fifth film. Personally, I was so disappointed in how the fourth film went, I didn’t even really know if I wanted it to continue. So when Final Destination 5 popped up, I was skeptical as to what, if anything, it could bring to the table. This one swung for the fences, though.

Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto, From Prada to Nada, TV’s Masters of Sex) is embarking on a company retreat with several other employees when he has a vision of the suspension bridge the bus is on collapsing, killing hundreds. Concerned, he gets off the bus and runs to safety, followed by a handful of his employees, and the suspension bridge indeed collapses. Blessed but also shaken, Sam and the others notice that the survivors are dying in the exact they would have died on the bridge, and they learn that in order to save their own lives, they may have to take another’s.

Final Destination 5 does not reinvent the wheel, but it’s probably the best entry in the series. It has interesting characters with real motivations, strong set pieces, an overall sense of dread, and it teams with mythology. I’m not entirely on board with the “take another life to save yours” notion that is legitimately brought into this film (something that’s been toyed with before), but it does add another layer to the film.

Nicholas D’Agosto and Emma Bell (Plus One, Different Flowers) are both strong leads, and the film has some fun performances like David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, TV’s American Dad!) as Dennis, Sam’s boss. Koechner is always fun and he’s restrained enough here to fit in nicely within the horror while still getting to do his own thing. The absolute win of the film, though, is the return of Tony Todd (Candyman, Reign of the Supermen) as the coroner Bludworth, who is given little screen time and just does so much with it. I’ve been saying for some time that Todd’s Bludworth needs to be expanded upon, especially how he seemingly knows so much about Death’s design and plan, and while we don’t get that in this film, his reintroduction is a step in the right direction.

Outside of the main story, I am happy to say that Final Destination 5 gets back to the horror roots of the series after the almost-silly fourth installment. It’s also the film that feels the most like it’s connecting a saga, with little references to other films in the series and an overarching mythology that’s been cleaned up and streamlined. This is one that you kind of want to watch again after unlocking the big reveals of the film and how it all comes together.

Final Destination 5 wins it with the ending though, a doozy of a revelation that makes it the most fun installment of the entire series. How this franchise seemingly stalled out after the fifth film is beyond me, but this is definitely one worth seeing. It’s gruesome and bloody and filled with atmospheric flavor. Go check it out.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

For my review of James Wong’s Final Destination, click here.

For my review of David R. Ellis’s Final Destination 2, click here.

For my review of James Wong’s Final Destination 3, click here.

For my review of David R. Ellis’s The Final Destination, click here.

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