The Final Destination franchise has been around for over a decade, and its fifth edition - Final Destination 5 - debuts today. The original is a horror classic, a unique spin on the typical slasher flick with an invisible, unbeatable villain. The sequels just rehash the same story, albeit with worse actors and shoddier production values.
But after attending a preview screening on Wednesday, I realized that with the other sequels, I'd been missing something: the audience. I watched Final Destination 2, Final Destination 3 and the confusingly titled The Final Destination (so much for "final") on DVD, not wanting to waste my time or money on them in theaters. As I discovered, however, a rowdy, urban crowd is exactly what Final Destination 5 needed.
Final Destination 5 is one of the most comically graphic movies of all time, full of head splattering, spine-ripping, eyeball gouging goodness. The gore is all over the top but exactly what the audience wants and expects, judging by their reaction the other night.
Every time a screw came loose or director Steven Quale even hinted that something was about to happen, the audience would react loudly and verbally, sometimes shouting back at the screen in utter bliss and horror. It was one of the funniest things I've ever witnessed and made the entire Final Destination 5 experience well worth it.
The movie is stupid. The dialogue is cringe-inducing. The acting ranges from adequate (Nicholas D'Agosto and Emma Bell) to downright terrible (Miles Fisher). It has no right to be as fun as it is, but it is.
The audience made the movie a blast, but quasi-rookie director Steven Quale contributed to the effort - as well as what appears to be a bigger budget. The movie's special effects are noticeably better, the death sequences more gripping and gruesome. The bridge disaster sequence is legitimately exciting and massive in scope.
In other words, Final Destination 5 feels like the filmmakers tried, which is a step up from several of the piss-poor sequels.
I won't go so far as to recommend seeing Final Destination 5, but watching the movie with a wild, sold-out crowd really enhances the experience. On its own, the movie is surprisingly entertaining and does what it is meant to do. The 3D is bad, but it did force Quayle to amp up the gore to a new level of absurdity. I can't believe I'm saying this, but... recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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