For ten years, characters have been succumbing to death in inventive and visceral ways, but the characters in some of the franchise instalments have sucked. In my opinion, it's only the third and fifth film that have freshened things up. Final Destination 5 is hands down the best in the franchise, the use of 3D is alarmingly terrifying and jarringly realistic, the effects are spectacular and the thrills are non-stop!
Nicholas D'Agosto plays Sam, a hopeful chef who has a vision of a bridge collapse whilst on a business retreat. After realising his premonition is a hint of things to come, he flees the bridge along with seven of his co-workers who narrowly escape death. However, they have cheated death, and now it's coming for them.
The biggest bit of praise I will give this fifth entry to the series is the cool premise: "If you take someone else's life, death will skip you". Essentially the characters think if they kill somebody else death will leave them alone and they'll break the pattern, it's a great premise to keep the franchise fresh, especially after the abysmal entry Final Destination 4.
Although Mary Elizabeth Winstead remains my favourite lead in the franchise, D'Agosto is excellent, he plays the part very well. His character Sam tries to go about life as normal as possible after the disaster, focusing on work and his flailing relationship. The supporting cast in this one are the best, I really liked Jacqueline McInnes Wood, her performance is witty and sexy and at times quite funny, her character says some insensitive things at the most inappropriate of times! Emma Bell ups her game yet again which I didn't think was possible as she was incredible in 2010 survival chiller Frozen. Miles Fisher is superb as a survivor who begins to lose his mind, and becomes a danger to himself and others, Fisher channels the madness very well, plus David Koechner and P.J. Byrne are dependable comedy relief! What works in this fifth entry is that there are no obnoxious, annoying characters, they feel natural and not over the top.
Every single entry to this franchise, even the shoddy fourth entry, feature wonderfully gory death scenes that crank the inventiveness level up each time. Number five boasts the most suspenseful deaths, director Steven Quale keeps you affixiated to the screen gritting your teeth as he builds up to the terror before the characters bite the dust.
The first death is horribly violent and painful to watch, as Ellen Wroe's Candice dies after a nasty gymnastics accident where her whole body snaps, but it's the consistent shots of a damned sharp screw in view that will keep you on edge. P.J Byrne's Oscar gets what he deserves after thieving a dead co-workers massage therapy appointment, involving acupuncture needles and a bloody big Buddha statue, I needn't say no more. Best of all, though, is Jacqueline MacInnes Wood's character Olivia, who undergoes laser eye surgery. It's visceral and unbearable, feeling sick is how I would describe this fine horror moment. All this in absolutely glorious and effective 3D only heightens the twisted nature, those acupuncture needles poke out the screen, the laser eye breaches the barriers of the TV screen plus many loose objects pop out at you.
It has to be said though that the highlight of this thrill ride is the frightening bridge collapse, it is undoubtedly one of the finest visual set pieces ever and the best premonition in the Final Destination series. All the CG is spot on, each frame filled with a point of interest and carnage! Sam foresees the collapse, each of the key characters is either sliced up, flattened beneath falling debris or splatted, and the 3D depth effects sprawl into the screen spectacularly, I was in awe at the whole sequence, 3D has never felt more alive. Blood splatters onto your glasses, and even simple shots of the characters talking you can tell how convincing the depth is.
For fans of the series this is a big step up and a great addition, and for other audiences looking for a thrill and some testing viewing, this fifth entry is ideal for a tense movie experience.