Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mini Movie Review: Final Destination 5

The Final Destination series is one of my favorite movie franchises, horror or not. The first one was one in a series of "teen stars in horror film" movies with a poster of four or five kids in a row with a logo. It was in there with Scream and Urban Legends and countless others. But FD had a special something. A sadistic glee, an inventiveness with which the victims were dispatched.

And then, the awesomeness was cemented with Final Destination 2. The plane crash disaster of part one was surpassed with an incredible freeway pileup! And the batch of nubile teens was offed! Right at the beginning! FD2 upped the ante by playing by part 1's rules, and making it better by linking all of part 2's characters with part 1's. Everything hooked together and made sense, and kablooey, a cool ending!

Then came part 3, which--unfortunately for me-involved amusement rides. I come from the industry, so I know that the roller coaster disaster in that installment couldn't happen that way. But undoubtedly, none of the disasters is 100% authentic, so, whatever. Part 3 didn't hook into the first two much, but is better to me than it first appeared. It is quite enjoyable for what it is.

Part four was entitled THE Final Destination, and by that moniker, you would think it was the last one. It was also in 3D, and heavily promoted as the final installment. It was fun--involving a NASCAR racetrack-type disaster. I'm a binocularly-challenged person, with the unfortunate inability to see 3D movies. But I liked FD4, just the same. It was better than 3, less than 2, about the same as 1. But who could know there would be a part 5?

should have known. I've been through, Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning. I've seen, Amityville II: The Beginning. I've seen Wes Craven's New Nightmare. I'm sure there'll even be Psycho: What You Really Didn't Know, is That It Started Like This! So, an unremarkably named Final Destination 5 wasn't surprising.
What was surprising, was that the fourth sequel would be as good as the rest of the series, or better. In fact, it's as good part two, perhaps as good as the original.

Horror movies tend to be derivative. And part five can't offer originality. But the special effects, the acting, the surprises? Part five has it in spades. The only flaw for me was the law of diminishing returns. The spectacular opening can't be matched in later set pieces. While I had a lot of fun, the thrills tend to get smaller by half with each dramatic demise. If they had only ended the picture with a dramatic finale on the scale (or 3/5 the scale) with the opening.

My rating: **** of ***** (with a nod to the genre, of course)

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