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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Final Destination 5

This is the only film I've seen this week but the only other offerings are Afrikaans film, Saak van Geloof (no clue) and Australian thriller, Wasted On The Young, neither of which were press screened. Is there some massive sports event happening that I don't know about or something because it looks for all the world like the major film distributors have decided to do a class bunk this week? Weird.
Also posted at Channel24 

What it's about:

After experiencing a vision of the cataclysmic collapse of the bridge on which he and a bus full of fellow employees are travelling, Sam Lawton (Nicholas D'Agosto) manages to save a number of his fellow passengers from impending doom with mere seconds to spare – but did he truly circumvent death or did he simply prolong the inevitable?

What we thought:

If you have seen any of the four previous Final Destinations, you really should know what to expect this time around. This is not a series that is afraid to bow to formula, nor is it a series that is really about acting, storytelling or human emotion. It's not, for that matter, really all that much about horror either.

What the Final Destination franchise is really about is dependability. The basic plot is always exactly the same – a half dozen or so regular schmoes narrowly escape a huge disaster at the beginning of the film and death hunts them down for the next hour or so until there are at most a couple of survivors by the end – and even then, it's only really there to serve the grizzly and hilariously over the top deaths on which these films have made their name.       

This is repetitive, redundant filmmaking at its least inspired. And yet, I can't help but have a bit of a soft spot for the series. While I have always hated the similarly repetitive Saw franchise for being sadistic, moronic and vile, I liked the Final Destination series simply because it is, at its best, really, really funny while also being sadistic, moronic and vile. This isn't horror – this is pitch black comedy that is equally at home making you squirm as it is at making you laugh.

How does Final Destination 5 stack up, then? Rather well, in fact. It is easily one of the best of the series. For a start, it sticks firmly to the tried and true formula but actually freshens it up somewhat by adding a couple of twists to the action – most notably the moral conundrum that the characters face when they learn that the one way they could escape their fates by substituting someone else's life for their own. Best of all, what could have been a franchise-killing nod towards respectability actually lands up being as gruesomely ridiculous as anything else in the series. 

Otherwise, it's business as usual as we get the usual selection of incredibly convoluted, intricately plotted death scenes that, more often than not, use their blood and gore as punchlines to some truly sick and twisted jokes. I laughed out loud throughout the film but, it has to be said, because of my squeamishness towards needles and/ or crazy eye injuries, this Final Destination got quite a few more squirms from me than usual – thanks in no small part to the very impressive blood and gore effects, which are clearly a very effective mixture of CGI and more traditional physical trickery.

And that's really all there is to it. I could go on about the variable but generally unremarkable acting or the non-existent characterisation but, really, it's all about the deaths. As long as they keep the deaths as inventive, as shockingly funny and as generally well pulled off as this, it's hard to complain too much about how little we really need yet another bloody Final Destination film.

And I certainly won't complain about the 3D because, really, what else was 3D made for, if not for splatters of blood, guts and offal and for large pointy objects going straight through the characters and right out of the screen?

Or, as AC/DC so perfectly sums it up over the film's final credits... If you want blood, you got it!

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