I’m sad to see this franchise end (or at least my reviewing of it). There’s reports of a 6th film coming soon, but for now just strap in and prepare for our look at Final Destination 5.
This one opens on a sinister tone. The opening credits are stylised and painfully drawn out. My impatience and short attention span can only be blamed on modern cinema…
Final Destination 5 features a group of staff en-route to a business retreat with their boss David Koechner/Champ Kind/Tod Packer (who also works for a paper company). Along with friend Peter (deep fake Tom Cruise – Miles Fisher), the protagonist Sam experiences a premonition of a bridge collapse and is able to escape along with some of his co-workers, thus cheating Death (or at least ruining his plans).
The incident in this entry is visually stunning but altogether too fantastical, even for this franchise. The bridge collapse represents the longest “incident” (“accident” implies no-one is to blame, right?) in the franchises history. It’s a massive CGI affair and for the most part it looks good, it just doesn’t play out with the usual punch that the franchise is known for.
Bludworth shows up at the funeral to stick his cryptic oar in. In other FD entries the gang had to go find him or he just didn’t show up, so it’s nice to see him proactively being mysterious. Even after this film (and appearances in FD1 and FD2) we’re still no clearer as to why Candyman keeps showing up. The creators have went on record to state that he is not Death or the Devil (despite being listed as so – due to voicing the devil in the roller coaster), but according to Wikipedia he is referred to as a type of Grim Reaper character.
This entry moves at an initially slower pace, leaning into the on-screen environments rather than solely building the tension. It’s refreshing to see this but not what we came to the franchise for.
I’ve noticed that Paris is referenced in each film, in some form or another and usually by the protagonist – specifically Paris. Are we led to believe that Paris is implicated somehow? Is Death French?? Are they referring to Paris Hilton? How is she involved in all of this??
Death continues it’s old tricks – loosening screws, dimming lights, flickering some candles and actively being a nuisance. The design is so elaborate that we continue to ask which actions actually contribute to the end result. This represents my favourite element of this franchise (which we’ve seen evolve over time) – the bait and switch. When death sets up a design so elaborate that the most minute details play out in a chain with fantastical accuracy.
A prime example of this is the A/C unit which malfunctions, knocking the screw on to the gymnastic bar, so that the correct gymnast will stand on it and fall into the powder, which knocks into the electric fan and blows in the face of the other gymnast who falls and breaks her neck. The key to good killing is . . . . . Timing.
With this entry they hint at some much needed comprehension of Deaths designs, but unfortunately this doesn’t go deep enough. Why does Death work this way? How are survivors able to skip the order?
Once again I’m confused as to the limitations of Deaths design. When other people in their cars on the bridge saw the characters leave the bus and run past (in a blind panic i might add), those people got out of their cars. This action ultimately saved them from Deaths design but somehow they were not included in Deaths design. (It’s my job to question this stuff! And yes – i AM fun at parties!)
There’s subtle clues to the ending throughout the film and it’s delivered in the most beautifully nonchalant style. This is what i like to call a “stealth prequel”! The joy here is that, as a prequel, the entire franchise is foreshadowed at various times throughout this and previous films, lending even more weight to the intricate designs of Death, spanning years.
The foreshadowing runs deep – The log truck passes their bus on the way to the bridge. There’s a photo of warehouse-bully Roy standing next to the #6 race car. Sam works in a restaurant which shares its name with the cafe in Paris (Le Cafe Miro 81) from the final scene of FD1. In the “office beers” scene we see a model airplane, truck, and race car referencing FD1, FD2 and FD4. This same scene features a photo from the Devils Flight Rollercoaster.
The ending of this film is absolutely spectacularly graphic. The circular narrative is executed wonderfully and almost makes up for the weaker franchise entries. Even reducing the franchise to FD1, FD4 and FD5 would still make a strong collection.
We’re also treated to an end credit death monatge in 3D – like a cherry on a delicious horror cake.
This franchise has been a journey filled with highs and lows. I look forward to watching a 6th film if it is released but this ending will be hard to top.
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