Though ostensibly successful 2009’s The Final Destination represented to many a horror franchise on its last hackneyed legs. Rote uninspired and humorless it scored a (modest) hit only by virtue of the novelty -- and added ticket price -- of its 3D transfer. Two years later Final Destination 5 arrives with a slightly tweaked formula a beefed-up storyline actors you might actually recognize and genuine honest-to-goodness 3D. It’s still schlock mind you -- but artful schlock and a marked improvement over the preceding entry.
The story begins in familiar fashion with a cursory introduction to the characters followed by a grisly premonition that sees them perish wholesale. An assortment of cubicle-dwellers at a paper factory are being bused to a corporate retreat when one of them Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto perpetually bug-eyed) dreams of a massive bridge collapse in which he and his co-workers are impaled beheaded bisected crushed by cars singed by tar -- however many ways a suspension bridge can kill a person the film’s opening set-piece explores it gruesome detail. Sam awakens duly horrified and demands the bus be evacuated. Seconds later the employees watch in horror from the sidelines as Sam’s vision comes to fruition.
You know what happens next. One-by-one death stalks the survivors who meet their fate in a series of elaborately-staged incidents. Some are relatively straightforward; others involve fiendish head-fakes and red herrings. The range of victims is older and more colorful than in previous Final Destination films in which death preyed exclusively on attractive nubile teenagers but the end result is invariably the same. (Not to give anything away but those considering acupuncture or laser eye surgery would be wise to avoid the film entirely.) As death’s scheme becomes achingly evident Sam his lachrymose girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) and his increasingly unhinged buddy Peter (Miles Fisher) become increasingly desperate. Enter the ever-ominous Tony Todd returning to the franchise after (wisely) taking the previous film off offering a potential way out. But is it genuine or just another of death’s cruel tricks?
Director Steven Quale a James Cameron protege hired principally for his 3D expertise takes full advantage of the added dimension delivering some of the most vivid and immersive 3D sequences in recent memory. Unlike The Final Destination which seemed little more than a amalgam of crude one-liners Final Destination 5 feels like a real movie one with a discernible plot an element of suspense and a handful characters who are more than just punchlines. Most of the actors are surprisingly competent save for Fisher a credible doppelganger for Tom Cruise (he parodied him 2008’s Superhero Movie) who imbues every line with couch-jumping intensity.
Final Destination 5 ends with a twist that while genuinely unexpected feels like a Hail Mary for a franchise that can’t forestall its inexorable descent into stale irrelevance despite the best of efforts from Quale. Its trademark formula has simply lost its potency -- a problem no amount of cosmetic upgrades however welcome can fix. That the film is bracketed by two pointless and time-consuming montages -- the first an animated sequence that hurtles various hazardous objects at the audience the second a greatest hits compilation of memorable kills from previous Final Destination films -- is a telltale sign that the saga’s creativity is on life support. Perhaps it’s time to pull the plug.
The Final Destination horror franchise has endured for over a decade by relying on a simple, repeatable premise, in which a group of attractive young people attempt to outrun death’s reach … and fail, miserably. The actors hired to perish in gruesome, sometimes hilarious ways are usually unknowns, fresh faces eager to add a new credit to their relatively thin CVs. Death – Final Destination’s version of it, at least – doesn’t care if you’re famous.
The series’ latest chapter, Final Destination 5, tweaks the formula a bit by introducing a few more recognizable names into the mix, including two established comic actors, David Koechner and P.J. Byrne, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent veteran Courtney B. Vance. Emma Bell, who plays the female lead, recently did a memorable stint on the smash zombie series The Walking Dead; her co-star, Nicholas D’Agosto, had a major role in From Prada to Nada. (Okay, that last one was stretching it a bit.) Candyman star Tony Todd, the actor most associated with the FD franchise, returns to the fold after skipping the previous film, 2009’s The Final Destination – perhaps not his decision, but a serendipitous one nonetheless.
We recently sat down with Todd, Bell, and the rest of the stars of Final Destination 5 to find out what scares them, what it’s like to see yourself killed in 3D, and whose death was the most excruciating:
(Note: These interviews include a few spoilers, which aren’t really spoilers to anyone vaguely familiar with the FD films.)
Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood
P.J. Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, and Arlen Escarpeta
Tony Todd, Emma Bell, and Nicholas D'Agosto
Welp, time for some new faces to die in really, really kickass ways.
The cast for Final Destination 5, a.k.a. 5inal Destination, just added four new members: David Koechner, Nicholas D'Agosto, P.J. Byrne, and Ellen Wroe.
Koechner (The Office, Anchorman) is the biggest name on the list. He's playing a clueless executive (imagine that!), and will probably die from a stapler to the forehead while galloping around the office, screaming "yeehawww!"
D'Agosto (Heroes) plays a guy who doesn't make a fast decision on his own life -- which definitely doesn't sound like it ends well. Byrne (Dinner for Schmucks) will be an obnoxious kleptomaniac (who probably steals from death -- haha! get it?); and Wroe (Huge) plays a snobby gymnast and daughter of a company executive -- so yeah, she'll die pretty quick.
The four new members join Miles Fisher (that dude who looks like Christian Bale). 5inal Destination is penned by Eric Heisserer (A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), The Thing) and produced by Craig Perry. The film starts shooting on September 13 in Vancouver. Source: The Hollywood Reporter