It’s the Rube Goldberg test of DEATH.
Final Destination, like many of it’s horror film brethren have a list of requirements for every entry: Death, destruction and enough loose screws to wonder if anyone even owns a screwdriver. FD has set itself apart by not having a tangible antagonist like Jason or Freddy, merely “Death” who haunts the kids and ultimately claims them in regular everyday places. While the set pieces are wildly outlandish and improbable, every one of them builds enough tension and suspense to make the gory pay off satisfying.
While I have never seen any of the other four entries, I must say that this film was surprisingly enjoyable. The premise is simple enough for newcomers like me to jump on board without having to think too much about it. I was on the edge of my seat for nearly every twist and turn of the overly theatrical deaths so you get what you pay for. The whole PURPOSE of a film like this is to have fun as you watch each elaborate and creative death scene. I can assure you that nearly every character in the film does not die the way you think they do from what is shown in the ads. Kudos to the marketing department for not spoiling the movie.
Heart and great storytelling have never been the pillars on which this franchise was built, but somewhere in there screenwriter Eric Heisserer was able to sneak in a just little bit of a conflict to make it interesting. In previous installments of Final Destination it was inevitable that all the kids die. So, how do you keep the audience interested at movie five? Simple: the kids can survive if they kill someone else. This moral conflict is central to the third act of the film and for once actually puts a face to something of a villain.
While the jury is still out on the ultimate fate of the cinematic novelty that is 3D, Director Steven Quale really makes great use of it in this film. As terrifying as the death scenes were, it made all the difference when someone got impaled and I felt like the pole was popping right off the screen. The addition of 3D and the use of 3D cameras truly pushes this film up to 11. The opening credits even set you up for what’s in store where different forms of death; knives/fire/water LITERALLY fly at you and break thru the “glass” of the screen. It’s a bit on the cheesy side of things, but the movie has a level of self awareness that just makes it fun.
Without spoiling the ending there is one final twist that will give fans of the series something to talk about. It also makes the audience wonder where Warner/New Line can take the franchise next as they have said that if this one is successful, even more are on the way. All I know is that this non-Horror fan was genuinely engaged in the events of the film and every single death was a painful one. While they may be following the same formula, they execute the required elements quite well and do their best to keep it dark and away from the cheese.