There are maybe only four modern films that I have ever really enjoyed watching in 3D. Three of them have been horror films – My Bloody Valentine, Piranha 3D and now Final Destination 5. The opening credits alone speak to why that is – a cavalcade of sharp objects, fire and broken glass flying right at the audience’s collective face. It’s a proof of concept statement, basically: Here is what you can expect from us over the next 90-and-change minutes. It delivers on its promise gleefully.
FD5 is a recovery for the series, a strong uptick from a lackluster fourth installment. Both darkly clever in its plotting and darkly comic in its execution, it is a horror film for fans that delight in watching the Rube Goldberg machinations of the fictional kills. The camera taunts you with, for instance, a rusty screw on a balance beam (as seen in the trailer). It places the gun on the table and you know with surety that it will fire by the end of the scene, but the scene keeps going on about its business. It is as blithely unaware that the screw is there as the audience is spring-loaded tense waiting for a wayward foot to land on it. When the trap does spring, it happens in a way you don’t expect – clever and bloody and oddly fun. This is how each scene unwinds alongside easter eggs for faithful series fans and gallows humor. And the film is commendable for managing to keep its characters from wandering too far into the realm of cheap stereotype.
Perhaps most exciting for fans of the series, Final Destination 5 adds some new toys to the films’ mythology toy box that aren’t revealed to be a red herring or some elaborate antagonistic scheme on Death’s part. Unlike the fourth film, Death is not a manipulative prick – like the other films in the series, it’s an unwavering natural force with a wicked sense of irony.
Horror fans shouldn’t sit this one out. It might even be worth it to shell out for 3D.