The latest in the long-running horror franchise promises fans a return to the darker tone of the original movie. Here, survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn the hard way that there's no way to cheat death. Opens nationwide on Thursday, click for movie times and more info.
It's easier to enjoy a Final Destination sequel than a film from the similarly resilient and death-obsessed Saw franchise, as a sense of creative mischief undercuts all the violence here, while a sense of bland sadism drives the Saw films.
That said, the producers stated after the previous FD movie that they wanted to take the franchise back to its more serious roots for the next film on the reasoning that it had become too jokey. Thankfully, while this fifth entry features one of the series most squirm-inducing set pieces, it's just as light in tone as the previous three films and the most enjoyable since part two, unquestionably the series’ highpoint.
The set piece mentioned above involves laser eye surgery and had me holding my hands over my eyes for the first time since Natalie Portman did horrible things to her cuticles in Black Swan. The suspension bridge disaster is the best opening gambit since part two's motorway pile-up and a gymnastics routine features a notably awesome death scene.
An attempt to add a narrative flourish via the notion that you can suspend your own inevitable death by killing someone else doesn't go anywhere interesting but there's more attention paid to character and plot here than in the paper-thin part four. Leads Nicholas D'Agosto (Election) and Emma Bell (TV’s The Walking Dead) do their jobs without flair, while Tom Cruise-lookalike Miles Fisher is amusing as a cocksure alpha male losing his composure.
There's enough shallow fun in Final Destination 5 to justify yet another entry and it manages to tie into the first film in a moderately amusing way.