It’s fair to say that I’m one of the most squeamish people I know. I can barely watch a tomato being chopped in half. As a result, I normally give a wide berth to films that require a certain amount of people-chopping. I may have seen Film Destination I but I had no intention of giving one of its endless sequels a look until now. The reason for my change of heart and new found bravado is quite simple. If ever there was a film series that was made to grab hold of 3D by the horns and wring every bit of mirth and gore from its potential, it’s the Final Destination franchise.
It gave 3D a bit of a go in the badly received FD4 but here it gets full rein in the hands of new director Stephen Quale, who clearly knows his 3D stuff, working with James Cameron on Avatar, and earlier on Titanic. Plus a bigger budget that makes the initial attention grabbing sequence grab attention.
With moves reminiscent of one of my favourite 3D films, Piranha 3D, Final Destination 5 has a new, revitalised character aboard and its name is Bloody Death. It is all the more horrifying, disgusting and rib tickling because of its new added dimension, which stabs and punches and hacks its way through the screen and into the theatre.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the premise of these films because it’s likely you know more about them than me. However, the fifth film, just as the first, follows a group of people who escape death due to the vision of one of their number. Death, though, is not put off so lightly and he comes for each of them in turn. The only escape is to kill someone else in their place and steal from them their remaining years. Of course, this isn’t realised straight away. You need a few deaths first.
The Final Destination series is known for its opening sequences. I saw the first few minutes of Final Destination 5 at Empire Big Screen a couple of weeks ago. It’s fair to say that the audience was hooked – a freakish weather accident brings down a large road bridge, in the middle of which sits a coach with our victims aboard. Needlesstosay, people don’t just drop off the bridge here. What with disintegrating bodies, mutilations, multiple piercings and much, much more brought to us in a 3D explosion of blood and gore, the gasps and grimaces of horror amongst the audience were matched with unbelieving smiles and appreciative laughter. I saw this opening sequence and I knew I wanted to see the rest. I was not disappointed.
Every death is surrounded by a veritable treasure trove of clues and false herrings. When one of our victims goes in to a clinic for laser surgery to her eyes you know it’s time to pop out for a toilet break. Our leading man Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) works as a chef in a kitchen, another victim, Candice (Ellen Wroe) is a talented gymnast. You know that another, Molly (Emma Hopper), is in for trouble because we last saw her trapped on a ski lift, suspended above ferocious man-eating wolves while her face fell apart with frostbite in Frozen.
The deaths are ingenious and extraordinarily elaborate. Admittedly, I didn’t always look but that didn’t matter, such is the skill with which these devilish Final Destination writers build the menace. The 3D made it all that little bit more revolting and that little bit more funny. However, 3D does not make a bad movie good (as was seen with FD4). In this case, the 3D gave an edge to the clever material and made the audience sit up abruptly, except for those of us with our hands over our eyes.