Review: FINAL DESTINATION 5 (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 22 August 2011

Review: FINAL DESTINATION 5 (2011)

RATING: 2.5/5

New Line Cinema had once announced that the 2009's THE FINAL DESTINATION was the last movie in the horror series. But like how the characters have cheated deaths in the movie, they lied. But who could blame them anyway? Despite negative reviews, THE FINAL DESTINATION went on becoming the highest-grossing movie in the series with $66.4 million at the box-office, largely thanks to its 3D presentation. And here it is. Two years has passed, and along came another installment of a FINAL DESTINATION movie. I'm sure (most) of us will be asking: when is it going to end? If you (just like me) worry that this fifth installment is more of the same lazy approach that have plagued the previous two movies (2006's FINAL DESTINATION 3 and 2009's THE FINAL DESTINATION), I'm surprised that FINAL DESTINATION 5 does deliver its gruesome goods.

In this fifth installment, we learn that Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto of TV's Heroes) has an eerie premonition that something bad is going to happen en route via bus ride for a weekend team-building retreat. Fortunately for him, he manages to save himself and seven others -- including his estranged girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell), best friend Peter (Miles Fisher), womanizer Isaac (P.J. Byrne), Peter's girlfriend Candice (Ellen Wroe), Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta), flirty Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), and boss Dennis (David Koechner) -- from the grisly collapse of the under-construction North Bay Bridge.

Enter Special Agent Block (Courtney B. Vance), who begins to suspect that there are something fishy going on among the eight survivors, and he's particularly skeptical how Sam could have known ahead of time about the bridge disaster. As time goes by, Sam and his fellow surviving employees are gradually meet their inevitable doom in various gruesome fashions.

While the premise remains formulaic, a little kudos should goes to screenwriter Eric Heisserer for at least attempting something new to the dying series. You see, this time around, Death has apparently willing to bargain. If a survivor is able to kill another human being, Death may be pacified and grant the killer to live out the lifespan of the individual he killed. Then there's an unexpected twist, particularly when the movie is leading towards its climactic finale. Okay, the ending may have been subdued but it also neatly tied up to one of the previous installments in the series (I wouldn't want to spoil it for you here. You just have to see it for yourself).

First-time director Steven Quale, who previously cut his teeth working for James Cameron as second-unit director in 1997's TITANIC and 2009's AVATAR, knows well how to stage exceptionally suspenseful moments (the one involving the gruesome gymnastic scene is particularly a must-see) as well some of its creative gore-inducing carnage.

Unfortunately, the movie remains heavily flawed in term of its overall execution. All the actors are sadly lackluster, particularly from a boring lead performance by Nicholas D'Agosto. The story falters whenever it shifts focus to various subplots (e.g. Sam's troubled relationship with Molly).

Given its recent lackluster box-office performance during the opening weekend (debuted at No. 3 with a measly $18 million), it's obvious that many viewers have started to feel tired of the FINAL DESTINATION series. If the studio ever decide to pick this fifth installment as the last movie in the series, I guess it's best for them to do so.

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