Death will not be denied. And if young, beautiful people happen to cheat the Grim Reaper, he’ll be back … with a vengeance.
Blah, blah blah.
The fifth and hopefully last chapter in the “Final Destination” series may technically be a prequel, but it hews closely to the formula right down to its annoying essence. The fact that “5” is superior to the unwatchable fourth installment shouldn’t inspire yet another sequel.
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Once more we meet a gaggle of pretty peeps who escape a monumentally intricate disaster. Here, it’s a suspension bridge crumbling away as cars, buses and people fall to their doom.
Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) has a vision of death and destruction while en route to a work retreat, and when he coaxes his pals off their bus in the middle of a bridge it spares them from the aforementioned fate. Death doesn’t take kindly to the interruption in the natural flow, and it starts picking off the survivors in ornate fashion.
Death by spa visit? A gymnastic move sure to get a 0.0 from the surly Russian judge? Anything goes in this cartoonish franchise.
The previous “Destination” leaned so heavily on CGI it removed even the guilty pleasure of seeing innocents shredded to bits, horror movie style. In the latest film, a dollop of old-school makeup – revealed during the tasty Blu-ray extras – adds just enough reality to ground the slayings.
The spectacular bus sequence lets us know this “Destination” won’t be as punishing to endure as its predecessor. It’s a bravura movie moment, so gleefully orchestrated you can envision director Steven Quale cackling during every second of the shoot.
It helps that comedian David Koechner and franchise veteran Tony Todd are on hand to show the kiddie co-stars how playing in genre fare is done. Todd flat out understands the horror genre, and you can feel it while watching him even if he’s on screen for less than five total minutes. The rest of the cast members hit their marks as needed, with Miles Fisher doing a fine Tom Cruise impersonation without even realizing it.
The Blu-ray extras include a standard “making of” featurette plus two neat segments letting viewers see sequences before – and after – the FX team does its thing. The crew worked around plenty of green tarp to make the movie magic happen, apparently.
If that weren’t enough, we also can see alternate death moments – just in case a sixth “Destination” doesn’t materialize.
Let’s hope that’s the case. The “Final Destination” films represent one of the weaker horror franchises in recent memory, and in a genre that welcomes sequels to “Saw,” “Hatchet” and “Child’s Play” that’s saying plenty.
The series will gain a modicum of respect by going out on a less than low note, especially given the nostalgic twist delivered in the film’s waning moments. It’s time for the Grim Reaper to take a well-earned break.