From IMDb: Death returns to claim the lucky survivors of a deadly bridge collapse in this fifth frightening installment in the series.
It’s #VaxxGirlSummer and it feels like an appropriate time to give some love to some summer blockbuster (adjacent…) horror movies! Released in early August 2011 on the heels of the only truly terrible Final Destination film, this final series entry seemed sure to be the final death croak of a dying franchise.
Except…this is actually the best Final Destination movie. Especially if you’ve seen the others.
Here are five reasons I absolutely love Final Destination 5, and consider it my favorite in the series.
The Opening Titles
This is a small thing, but the opening title sequence is one of my favorites of any horror film. If the opening number to this film does not get you hyped I don’t know what will. They take iconic set pieces of previous deaths from the past films, and have them fly at the viewer, breaking the “fourth wall” by smashing through a glass wall meant to serve as the barrier between the deadly moments and the viewer.
The Characters Are Actually Well-Written & It Makes Sense Why They Are Interacting
Perhaps the biggest strength of this entry is the characters. Even the most obnoxious ones are meant to be somewhat likeable or relatable. It is one of the only “slasher” type horror films I’ve watched that makes this effort.
Even better, these character are coworkers. It sidesteps having some bizarre friend group dynamic that includes obvious antagonists that no friend group would tolerate, and instead gives us the most plausible explanation as to why people with disparate personalities would be in close contact. Even the “jerk” of the group Peter is initially pretty likeable, and only becomes unlikeable as his trauma tears away at him.
The coworker dynamic also allows for ridiculous moments like when colleagues Olivia and Candace encounter one another before their work retreat. The two start immediately exchanging passive aggressive barbs, culminating with Olivia informing Candace that she doesn’t have excess fat, and that “they’re called tits.” She inexplicably takes off her shirt to demonstrate this in the middle of her workplace boarding a bus for the retreat they will never actually attend.
Even minor secondary characters get to be part of the fun, from a sarcastic masseuse…
…to the exasperated detective dealing with Dennis calling him multiple times with “potential leads”:
Great References to Previous Final Destination Movies (and The Office!)
I’m sure you can find rundowns of all the tie ins to previous films in the franchise including the number 180 and the song “Dust in the Wind”. But one of my favorite catches on my latest watch is that the characters work for a paper company with a sales and factory department ala The Office – down to a hot-tempered factory worker named Roy and David Koechner (aka Todd Packer) playing the obnoxious boss. Even better, the company name is “Presage Paper”, presage meaning a sign of something bad to happen.
Impressive Death Sequences
Let’s be honest, the real attraction to any Final Destination is seeing the premonition play out and the Rube Goldberg machine lead up to each death. The premonition in this film is reminiscent of the infamous highway pileup in the second film, complete with the main character seeing a logging truck pass them in traffic before the bridge collapses. And it is shocking how memorable the deaths in this film are, from the delightful misleads of the gymnastics sequence to Isaac’s racist & sexist nonsense being shut down by a wayward stone statue to THAT eye surgery. One death involves someone’s blood spraying out and hitting the camera in an impressive effect. At a point where the deaths were sort of running together, this film breathed new life into its prized attraction. And it has one death sequence I have never been able to watch through in its entirety because I can barely stomach the buildup.
Final Destination movies don’t know how to resolve themselves. A character gets a life-saving premonition, but death always comes for the survivors again. In each of these films we see characters try a different tactic to save themselves. Despite being the fifth film, the tactic in this one yields one of the most satisfying endings after the first film by subverting expectations just enough to throw fans off while still blowing minds with an ingenious nod to previous films.
And if nothing else, the cast created this delightful music video that homages Final Destination by way of Saved by the Bell!
Check this film out with a group of friends, and prepared to be shocked by the well-balanced tone and delightfully disgusting death sequences. Even the rare moments of 3D cheese and intentional humor can’t taint the impressively sincere tone this film creates. I don’t know any other franchise that can claim its final film as its best film.