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FrightFest 2011: ‘Final Destination 5’


Final Destination 5

Directed by Steven Quale

USA 2011

First things first, I was 20 when Final Destination hit cinemas back in 2000. Having been one of the few who revelled through the Dawson’s Creek slasher era of the 90’s with the Scream trilogy, I Know What You Did Last Summer and it’s sequel, Urban Legend, Valentine, Cherry Falls, etc, etc – even I found the spin Final Destination gave to the genre to be a breathe of fresh air. But that initial film had no idea what it had started or how the ridiculous set-ups would become all that the sequels would hinge upon.

Part 2 did the job perfectly – faster, nastier, stupider and with a killer sense of humour. Part 3 was fun but disposable and then came Part 4, so cleverly named The Final Destination (presumably a spin on The Fast & Furious 4 being renamed Fast & Furious at the time). It was a complete disaster and was by far one of the worst mainstream horror films I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen them all. Surprising since it was directed by David R. Ellis who helmed Part 2 with such style (and just did Shark Night 3D). So I was hardly excited when the second opening film of Frightfest turned out to be yet another sequel, albeit this time from an unknown director.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be so jaded because despite Final Destination 5 not managing to shake off the appalling screenplay and acting trend of it’s predecessor, it ended up being one of the most fun films of the festival. Seemingly realising that all they have to do is deliver a series of deviously clever and hilariously stupid (and let’s not forget wince-inducing) ‘natural’ death gags – the cast and crew went to town and offer up a pulpy, snappy, squirm-worthy barrage of nonsensical teen murders in the most enjoyable way possible. Bolstered by some truly affecting 3D (for once) and framed with some of the hammiest acting and truly b-rate cast I’ve ever encountered, it all makes for a hugely entertaining schlocky horror that was only magnified by the tremendous atmosphere of the FRIGHTFEST audience.

Sure, it would be nice if they had actually spent some time developing a plot I could care about or characters that were remotely believable. Yes, I lament how far the series has fled it’s fairly mature and affecting roots for the disposable climes of the pointless sequel. And it’s true that the film-making of any of the sequences outside of the deaths was as drably handled, lit and designed as Part 4. But for someone who had finally come to the point where I lamented the idea of any future instalments – this movie turned me round and I must admit to now tentatively looking forward to Part 6, which is surely only a doomed train ride / hot air balloon / collapsing building away.

Plus, there’s a killer twist that is worth the price of admission for alone.

– Al White


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