FINAL DESTINATION 5. Starring Emma Bell, Nicholas D'Agosto and Miles Fisher. Directed by Steven Quayle. 92 minutes. Rated MA 15+ (Strong violence, blood and gore).
Yes, the formula is the same: someone has a premonition/dream where disaster strikes and friends die one after the other; after he wakes up, the real disaster strikes and, though they all survive this one, they are later picked off one by one in the freakiest of accidents. And should one survive out of order, it really doesn’t matter. Death has you on the list. A variant this time - if an expectant victim kills someone, they then get the time that their target would still have had they survived.
Preposterous? Of course, but with this kind of horror thriller, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
The eight potential victims are ciphers rather than characters, though they are given some details of a back story. They are played reasonably enough, soap opera style. Nicholas D’Agosto is the sympathetic Sam who has the premonition.
It’s the special effects that are the main attraction. It can be said that the bridge destruction which opens the film is quite spectacular, even more than spectacular. The makers must have decided that it was so effective that they repeat quite a lot of it for the real collapse after the premonition. In a ghoulishly fatalistic way, the other deaths have their special effects and shock moments: a gymnast steps on a tack with awful consequence; a sleazy type’s massage goes awry as does a laser eye treatment.
There are a few dramatic variations with some murders, though the film ends with an ironic twist on gaining the extra time for life from a victim. As the film moves to its conclusion, we realise (if we are familiar with the series) that we are back in 2000 with the opening of the very first film.
A horror concoction, with macabre touches, in a series that has proved more durable than might have been thought a decade ago.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out September 1, 2011