Apr 23, 2012

[Movies] Final Destination 5 (2011)

And here's another movie that's part of the category of "Movies I've Watched on Long Bus Rides". This is not exactly the kind of movie one would want to watch while entrusting your safety to a bus driver taking you all the way from Batangas to Manila, but hey that's life for you.

The Final Destination series of movies has always been a sort of guilty pleasure. They're gorefests that are always hard to watch since the sequences, as campy as they are, are designed to trigger quite the reaction especially among the somewhat squeamish like me. Plus they seem to be based around the principle that Death (or whatever anthropomorphic representation of this force) probably came up with the principles behind Rube Goldberg machines given how he decides to go after his victims.

The elaborate death sequences are always filled with false cues and moments when you think you know how they're going to die but you'll be wrong. In the end as implausible as they are, they're still a heck of a lot of fun and we totally go for the whole campy experience.

Final Destination 5 is obviously the fifth movie in the franchise of horror movies (for lack of a better genre classification). The movie was directed by Steven Quale based on a screenplay by Eric Heisserer. The movie was primarily marketed around the fact that it was available in 3D format.

Sam Lawton (Nicholas D'Angelo) is this movie's clairvoyant of sorts, for those familiar with the pattern of these movies. During a bus ride out of town for a company retreat, he has a disturbing dream about the North Bay Bridge collapsing while they're on it. When he wakes up, he starts to go through the same sequence of events in his dream, thus convincing him that this was actually a vision meant to warn him. He tries to convinces as many of his friends to join him in leaving the bus and ultimately the bridge and manages to save 7 other friends and co-workers from the disaster, which played out just as it did in his dream.

American actor Tony Todd at the 2003 Motor Cit...
American actor Tony Todd at the 2003 Motor City Comic Con. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But in the days that follow, strange things begin to happen and they seem to be focused on the 8 survivors. It starts with Candace (Ellen Wroe) having a tragic accident during her gymnastics practice session followed by Isaac (P.J. Byrne) dying in a bizzare accident at a Chinese health spa. This leads Sam and the others to talk to William Bludworth (Tony Todd), who had told them at the memorial service for the victims of the bridge accident that they had cheated Death and should be wary. He then reveals that in order to cheat Death, they would need to trade someone else's life for their own from outside the circle of bridge survivors.

The movie pretty much follows the same template as the others with little to add to the franchise. It's the same wafer thin plot held together by very elaborate death sequences that build up slowly while the characters go through the old pattern of trying to figure out what's going on and what to do next. But you don't watch these sorts of movies for their intellectual value - you just watch them for the gore and the shock sequences.

The actors were not all that great nor all that terrible. But then what else can you expect from these sorts of movies. Despite the clean, crisp quality to the movie that makes it feel pretty high end. you have to recognize that the Final Destination movies are really B-movies with a lot of good window dressing and decorations to make them look better. So you can't expect A-grade acting talent either - the actors either look good or die well.

I guess the only interesting bit here is how they ended up connecting the movie to the rest of the franchise, primarily the first movie. I won't give too much away, but needless to say it was a fun little nod and an interesting way of trying to connect this movie to the others given the completely new set of characters involved who have little to no relation to the others. So yay to whoever came up with that particular idea.

Final Destination delivers more of the same fun of the other movies with little new to add to things. It does feature a lot of really campy 3D moments that are sure to get you either turning in your seat or just laughing at how ridiculous things are. Thus the movie rates 1.5 3D-enhanced death sequences out of a possible 5.

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