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Blu-ray Review: Final Destination 5
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Final Destination 5 Blu-ray

Final Destination 5
Blu-ray | DVD
DIRECTED BY: Steven Quale
WRITTEN BY: Eric Heisserer
STARRING: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, David Koechner, Tony Todd, Courtney B. Vance, P.J. Byrne, Ellen Wroe, Jacqueline MacInnes-Wood
Warner Brothers
RELEASE DATE: December 27, 2011

The last time we had a brush with death was in 2010’s The Final Destination. As it turned out, that installment in the horror movie franchise was by far the worst of them all with horrible acting, nonsensical situations, soap opera-level acting, and just an all-around unlikable final product. And that’s coming from someone who very much enjoyed the previous installments in the series for what they are: gruesomely fun guilty pleasures.

In my review of The Final Destination I said that if they ever made another movie in the series, they would really have to work hard to almost reinvent the franchise and give it a unique and entertaining spin because at that point, it felt like the well had run dry and the creative deaths alone weren’t enough to keep us interested. Fast forward a couple of years and Final Destination 5 is now here, but is it able to remedy the pain the last movie caused us?

Right away the movie redeems the franchise with the best opening sequence since Final Destination 2‘s horrific highway scene (and possibly the best in the series), this time taking place on a suspension bridge that collapses. It’s a massive sequence that will leave you speechless, worlds better than the confusing beautiful-college-kids-at-a-rundown-racetrack seen the last time around and a truly terrifying situation to place yourself in, which is what really determines whether these openings will work and be scary or if they’ll fail.

The deaths of Final Destination 5 hit at an all-time high, delivering numerous shocking and jaw-dropping moments—done with a mixture of makeup and prosthesis combined with CGI—fans of the series look for. And most importantly, they’re fun again; a series of unfortunate events leading to some brutally memorable horror movie demises. Some developments can be a little bit absurd, but they don’t feel nearly as forced as they’ve been in recent memory.

The story is still relatively generic: tragedy strikes, tragedy is actually “premonition,” tragedy averted by lucky few, death comes for said lucky few to balance things out. But, thankfully, screenwriter Eric Heisserer (The Thing [2011], A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010]) and director Steven Quale were able to integrate a couple of fresh elements to the movie that were just enough to shake things up a bit. In fact, one twist to the movie revealed at the end was something I was not aware of going in and it was a very cool way to finish things up. I won’t go into details as to avoid spoilers for anyone else who has yet to see the movie, but it was appreciated and deserves some praise.

Speaking of Quale, this is the director’s feature debut but he’s no rookie to filmmaking. He’s an understudy of a one James Cameron, and has worked on many of his films as everything from a production assistant and special projects coordinator on films like The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and True Lies, to second unit director on titles like Titanic and Avatar (which he was also a visual effects supervisor on). Quale’s prowess for visual effects is evident in Final Destination 5, and I imagine it helped greatly in creating the aforementioned nightmarishly realistic death scenes held within.

This is definitely a movie made for fans of the Final Destination franchise. It reclaims the ground lost by The Final Destination and delivers all the fun and shocks we look to it to deliver with each new installment, all accompanied by a pretty epic horror movie score to boot. Where they’ll go from here is uncertain—it’s assumed that more will be made—but if they decided to end it now this would certainly be a fitting conclusion.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There’s a few good special features to enjoy on the Final Destination 5 Blu-ray disc.

First up is a brief making of feature that looks at the franchise and the deaths of the movie and how they filmed them. This is one to avoid until after you’ve watched the movie…if you’re into watching bonus features before the movie for some strange reason, that is.

That’s followed by a couple of alternate death scenes. The first is one that goes more the way you expected it to go in the movie before they changed it up to something a little less expected. A good change, I think. The second isn’t all that much different from the scene used in the movie.

Lastly is two scenes from the movie you can watch side-by-side with the production dailies to see how it looked filming, where all the green screens and effects were place, and how different a final shot can look. It’s a cool peek into the making of an effects-heavy movie such as this, especially the tremendous opening bridge sequence.

Trailer

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