‘Final Destination 5′ Review

Published 3 years ago by

Final Destination 5 Review Final Destination 5 Review

Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews Final Destination 5

Along with the Saw franchise, the Final Destination series has become one of the most recognizable horror properties in the modern cinescape. While films like Insidious have succeeded in delivering new and compelling horror scares – there’s no doubt that audiences still enjoy the familiarity (as well as increasingly complicated) formulaic setups in the horror/comedy Final Destination films.

While the films are without a doubt short of moviegoing mastery – with stiff performances, stilted dialogue, and a preference for style over substance – there’s no doubt that despite some ups and downs, overall the franchise has succeeded in entertaining audiences for over a decade.

Can the latest entry, Final Destination 5, deliver another tense and enjoyable time at the theater… in 3D?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes – and, even more surprisingly, the success of the film owes a lot to director Steven Quale’s use of 3D. Where Saw 3D turned out to be a gimmicky cash-grab with very few interesting applications of the format, Final Destination 5 often catches the audience off-guard, and plays against expectations through its use of 3D. Obviously, things fly out of the screen, but this isn’t a film that’s attempting to create a rich and immersive experience – it’s about toying with anticipation as well as delivering cathartic, over-the-top pay-offs. Most audience members are burning out on run of the mill 3D, but even naysayers will have to admit that Final Destination 5 makes interesting (and at times cringe-inducing) use of the format.

By now the basic Final Destination premise should be familiar to most moviegoers: Each installment begins with an enormous action set-piece (in this case, a suspension bridge collapse) that kills off character after character in a variety of shocking and grisly ways – until the entire sequence is revealed to be a premonition. Final Destination 5 centers around Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) who, after a brief moment of deja vu, remembers his gruesome vision and drags several of his co-workers off the aforementioned bridge before the collapse – subsequently saving them from their pre-ordained deaths. As a result, “Death,” who does not like to be cheated, spends the remainder of the film hunting the survivors one by one – using a string of complicated real-world setups to reclaim their lives.

Final Destination 5 Cast Final Destination 5 Review

The unlucky survivors of 'Final Destination 5'

Prior installments always toy with a “solution” to the inevitable deaths (i.e. cheating death again, new life, etc.) to give the characters motivation to press on. However, Final Destination 5, to its credit, offers a more straightforward solution – the survivors can kill another person to appease death – which not only makes more sense than prior films, but also drives the plot and characters forward in compelling and twisted ways. It’s a subtle addition that (surprisingly) isn’t a major focus of the story – but adds an interesting dynamic as well as a few extra surprises by the end.

As with the other movies in the series, most of the performances are pretty stiff and the characters are either underdeveloped or fit into predictable stock categories. That said, both Nicholas D’Agosto and Miles Fisher (who plays Sam’s best friend, Peter), have surprisingly natural onscreen charisma – especially given the ludicrous scenario and flat dialogue they’re expected to deliver. The rest of the cast is competent, and never really distract from the events that are unfolding – but don’t make much of an impression, either. Most of the characters, as usual, are merely cannon fodder for the star of the film – Death (and its creative killing methods).

As mentioned, the death sequences in Final Destination 5 benefit from the use of 3D, but even without the format the set-pieces will still satisfy, presenting some of the most outrageous kills of the franchise.

Final Destination 5 Death Scene Final Destination 5 Review

Part of an elaborate death scene in 'Final Destination 5'

Instead of a string of overly-complicated real-world killing scenarios – which could become arduous as the film rolls on from one multi-step death to another, Final Destination 5 finds some intriguing ways to keep tension high without continuously falling back on the formula (though there is still plenty of by-the-numbers killing to satisfy die-hard fans). The deaths are especially effective this round because there’s a different approach to each one – toying with expectation, body horror, sympathetic discomfort, and abrupt surprises. Each one keeps the audience invested in the moment-to-moment happenings (but in a different way) – as opposed to simply waiting for the ball to drop.

Final Destination 5‘s logic gets a little dodgy by the closing credits (though no moreso than in prior installments) but definitely delivers some fun surprises and a number of great nods to the overarching Final Destination franchise. It’s arguably the second-best entry in the series (behind the original, of course) and should please fans as well as serve as a good re-entry point into the storyline for filmgoers that may have passed on the last few installments.

That said, anyone expecting a sharp and thrilling horror narrative or an immersive scare flick will probably be disappointed by Final Destination 5, but at this point, moviegoers know what to expect from the series – elaborate, over the top, kills. There’s no doubt that despite its shortcomings, Final Destination 5 delivers on those expectations – and as a result offers a horror mayhem tour de force.

If you’re still on the fence about Final Destination 5, check out the trailer below:

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[poll id="178"]

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If you’ve already seen the film and want to talk about various plot details without ruining it for others, head over to our Final Destination 5 spoilers discussion.

Final Destination 5 is now playing in theaters.

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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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TAGS: final destination 5

32 Comments

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  1. For a 3D Popcorn movie, I might go see it

  2. Wow! I was expecting 1 star. I might give this a shot…

  3. YES 3.5 is good enough for me! Im seeing this very soon!

  4. yes, is very dificult, ok? dis morte of pipol no me gusta, emi trola

  5. Wow! Wasnt expecting that at all!

    • Ben,

      Will the movie be just as enjoyable without the 3D to enhance the deaths or what have you. Basically what Im asking, would you give it a lower rating (3 stars) if you were not to watch it in 3D? Or would you stick with 3.5 stars still on the 2D Version? Reason I ask is because sometimes The 3D movies give me a headache, and I find it hard to concentrate on the film cause im worried about the 3D glasses adjusting comfortably on my face (ears really) and try to fight the headaches away!

      • Hmmm… I probably would have enjoyed it less without the 3D (just because of how absurd the effect is). That said, I’m not sure it would have changed my score. If you’ve liked the other FD films (specifically the first one), you might still enjoy this one – because I still think the way that the deaths are handled (toying with expectation, etc) was enjoyable. It’s not a good movie (the story is idiotic, etc) but it’s entertaining for how over the top everything is – especially with a good, packed, audience (I’d assume even without 3D).

        • I think the only movie I have liked in 3D was James Cameron’s Avatar. Not 100% sure though. Overall it takes an incredible movie to let the 3D gimmick make a good impression on me. You also make a good point of a packed audience having a positive effect for the experience.

          • I thought that Cap in 3D was pretty darn good. The only film I have seen in 3D since Avatar that I enjoyed in that format.

  6. Wow! That ending was totally unexpected. But I tell you, it completely made the film for me. What a fun and creative direction to take the franchise. I’m almost tempted to go see it again just so I can find all of the clues that would have better prepared me for the final twist. I really enjoyed it…

  7. I don’t know if I’m more surprised by this review or the one for Thirty minutes or less. I expected to open this and see 1.5 or at the very best a 2. I mean this is a horrible film franchise even the crappy fast and furious films were better. This must be the best of the entire franchise with that rating. Then again checking RT you can see that this review is certainly not the general consensus. With a 55% for all critics and a really harsh 26% for top critics. Really hope the movie ends the franchise for good.

    • They’re working on part 6.

    • To your point Daniel – this is the highest rated of the series on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, does it surprise you that Ebert, etc. gave this film a negative review? It was stated out the gate in the review that it’s not a “good” movie – but it’s surprisingly enjoyable for fans of the franchise or anyone looking for an absurd trip to the theater. Critics who think the Final Destination movies are supposed to be “Horrors” are somewhat missing the point. The filmmakers, at least this round, know that it’s absurd and not scary – and aim for surprises and cathartic laughs, instead. It’s not like we gave this film a 5/5 – but, despite your distaste for the prior installments, it’s easy to recommend to anyone who is on-board with the basic premise.

      Otherwise, of course, moviegoers should go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes (again) instead.

      • Watched Rise of the Apes a few hours ago, MAN! What a good movie. Cesar is the boss! LOL

        Great movie, beautiful and realistic visual!

      • ben it being highest rated on RT sort of depends on how you look at it. From all critics yes it’s highest rated, but from RT Top Critics it’s actually the second lowest beating only the last film.

        I don’t think many critics think it’s suppose to be a horror movie. They simply see it and know it’s bad and review it based on that. IMO it doesn’t matter if a film is suppose to be Comedy, Drama, Action or horror a film should at least be well made and well written regardless of genre and these just are not. Not even well acted. They have the entire check list of what bad film are made of. If these films truly accepted what they are they would be direct DVD B movie releases, but they try and force their way in to being considered real films.

        Sadly it’s a bad movie time for me because there is no movie in theaters currently I have less interest in seeing than Rise of the Planet of Apes and I’ve seen pretty much all of the others. Not a fan of the planet of the apes thing didn’t like it with Heston almost no one liked it with Wahlberg so I wouldn’t want to see a new one. Doesn’t help that good acting is important to me and this has James Franco who is the most overrated actor in hollywood at this point. He’s slightly better than Keanu, but more over hyped at this point since Keanu hasn’t done a Matrix recently. His character in every film isn’t suppose to be a Stoner yet he manages to play them all that way. The guy looks so out of it 100% of the time.

        • In the frilm’s defense, the main character, and the best performance of Rise, is Ceaser, since that was the point of the movie, rooting fot him to overthrow humanity and whatnot. I kind of doubt we’re supposed to care about the humans anyway.

          • *hmmm, should be film

            • Here we go with all the negativity. -_-

              The lady’s death scene with the eye surgery was amazing.

          • Aside from not being a fan of the franchise or James Franco. I don’t think I’d be able to get in to a film that tries to make me want Humans to lose lol. Why on earth would anyone want to see the Humans lose ? It’s like watching Battlestar Galactica and cheering on the Cylons.

            • By the end of Galactica I was cheering on the Cylons.

              The 70s series might have been light-weight sci-fi, but by the final season New Galactica had devolved into a bunch of characters I just wanted to see die horribly.

              • Ugh I hated the 70s Galactica I didn’t even watch the new one until it had already ended because I was afraid it was just as bad as the original. I finally gave it a chance out of boredom and loved it.

                I thought the final season was fantastic. I still loved the characters I had before and didn’t wish for them to die at all. I thought the new one was great from start to finish and never dipped in quality or got annoying. Only character I hated was Ellen Tigh but she wasn’t around much luckily. Anders could sometimes get on my nerves but not much. Loved everyone else. My only complaints other than Ellen really were taking Lee away from piloting to work in the government and Tyrol was given a really bad hand in the final season as well.

                the last season of Galactica new was IMO just as good as 1-3 and certainly 30 times better than the best season of the 70′s show.

  8. i am surprised!!!

  9. I loved it :)

  10. This movie wasn’t even on my radar until Ben’s review. I had seen the first 2 and didn’t care about seeing anymore but I was a bit surprised at this one, it was pretty good. The young actors could use some work but overall, I agree with Ben’s 3/5.

    • I concur.

  11. http://popspoken.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/top-10-final-destination-deaths/

    So which installment was the best?
    And which Final Destination deaths were your faves? Check them out above!

  12. I really enjoyed this movie. Saw it with my son (FD virgin) and my sister (FD expert) and we all had a good time. It’s good as a stand-alone movie but funnier if you’ve seen a few of them.

  13. I think that the first one was the best by comparison because it was a somewhat new idea of horror movies. It seems that subsequent movies keep losing the charm of the first one

  14. When it’s said n done you find in each movie no matter what Candy Man says I think they tale too literal and totally get what ever their idea of what Candy man is saying. Which ends up not helping at all. Molly wasn’t meant to die so her being on that plan with her man was not a place she was meant to be. Rory from
    FD 2

  15. Rory fd2 was obviously already on deaths list, which tells us that this list has been in effect for awhile. The man who died and the guy got all his years left was already gonna die, that guy was on deaths list from the bridge so did he really take his days left because he just delayed his own death as in theories before. I think the butterfly effect goes far here and truly how close in time are these sequels? Each person meant to die interacted with soapy people, it’s a ripple of infection that death could never truly close and would always be working on, the one idea they had that may have stuck that could have been an ok idea to end at least some portion of the cycle was the idea of one of the survivors having a baby which is an alternate ending to FD1 however I assume that this would only work for the survivor who had the baby, who is to say that after the baby was born the parent wouldn’t be killed. It’s a cycle that can never really be ended because there is so many loop holes

  16. Rory fd2 was obviously already on deaths list, which tells us that this list has been in effect for awhile. The man who died and the guy got all his years left was already gonna die, that guy was on deaths list from the bridge so did he really take his days left because he just delayed his own death as in theories before. I think the butterfly effect goes far here and truly how close in time are these sequels? Each person meant to die interacted with soapy people, it’s a ripple of infection that death could never truly close and would always be working on, the one idea they had that may have stuck that could have been an ok idea to end at least some portion of the cycle was the idea of one of the survivors having a baby which is an alternate ending to FD1 however I assume that this would only work for the survivor who had the baby, who is to say that after the baby was born the parent wouldn’t be killed. It’s a cycle that can never really be ended because there is so many loop holes plus you have assume that with every accident others were also brought to the same place who were also on deaths list along with those who didn’t know but it was their time.

  17. I think that Final Destination 5 was a little bit of a waste of time. They are good movies but they are starting to get annoying at times. I love the ways that they come up with several new deaths which are creative but why not make another title for it like Sight of Death or Death watch or something different except keep the same concept and reasons and all of that good gory creative pleasure.