(2011)3Tracie CooperWhen your number is up, just go with it. If there is anything to be learned from the Final Destination series, it's that piece of advice. Surviving a disaster of epic proportions (think plane crashes, mass freeway accidents, and rollercoaster derailment) puts Death in a bad mood. Make no mistake: a pissy Death is a mean Death. Luckily for audiences, the more cruelly Death snuffs out his victims, the better the film -- a fact that wasn't lost on director Steven Quale. Whether by impalement, a highly unlikely chain of electrical failures, or an acupuncture session gone horribly awry, Final Destination 5 delivers the gruesome goods.
The fifth movie in the Final Destination series begins on a slightly different note than its predecessors; rather than a new crop of hapless yet attractive teens, the unfortunately fated few are made up of a group of slightly less hapless, equally attractive young adults. While on their way to a work-related weekend retreat, Sam (Heroes' Nicholas D'Agosto) is able to save seven of his friends from a grisly end after having a startlingly realistic premonition, which would come to fruition only moments later. Among the mostly temporarily living are Sam's on-again, off-again girlfriend (Emma Bell), the office lothario (P.J. Byrne), and David Koechner (The Office) in the role of their less-than-likable boss. Of the cannon fodder, these actors deliver surprisingly effective performances given the material they had to work with. Tom Cruise look-alike Miles Fisher is passable, though little more, as Sam's morally challenged best friend.
The film also offers a new and unexpected twist: this time around, Death appears to be willing to bargain. If a survivor is able to kill another human being, Death may be appeased and allow the killer to live out the lifespan of the individual he killed (Tony Todd of Candyman fame is the deliverer of this particular blow). Though it hardly qualifies as thought-provoking (thank goodness for that; this isn't a think piece and doesn't pretend otherwise), Fisher, Bell, and D'Agosto usher in this new development with a tense discussion of how one determines who deserves to die or go on living.
Should Final Destination 5 prove to be the last film in the franchise, it will have gone out with a spectacular bang. The ending sequence is a delightfully self-conscious shout-out to the "lucky" survivors of yesteryear, showing, if nothing else, that no one knows how to punish a cheater quite like Death.