Who knew the Final Destination series would be going strong eleven years after the release of the first film? Final Destination 5 may have finally tipped the franchise from horror to black comedy, but its death-is-coming-for-your-ass shenanigans have never been more fun. This round, a young professional has a premonition that a giant suspension bridge will collapse and kill his coworkers on a company retreat. When he speaks up and saves them...well, you know the drill.
The man in on death's plan in Final Destination 5 is Sam Lawton (Nicholas D'Agosto), and, after the suspension bridge does collapse, he and his coworkers must fight to survive the vengeful reaper. I would list the rest of the characters, but they are not that important. There are some girlfriends, a boss and a best bud, but Final Destination 5 does not wait around for too many specifics. As previous entries in the series have taught us, death does not appreciate being delayed.
The first film, with its terrific airplane crash opener, was more straightforward horror, but subsequent films have moved toward darkly comedic shocks, with gruesome deaths and self-aware humor. Final Destination 5 may be the bloodiest of them all, and includes some downright nasty demises. I was surprised the filmmakers found any routine activities to make deadly after four films, but they tackle everything from acupuncture to laser eye surgery to gymnastics.
Director's Steven Quale's (co-director with James Cameron on Aliens of the Deep) eye for camera placement and focus makes Final Destination 5 the most visually accomplished entry in the series. The director manages to build a fair amount of suspense, too, although the question is never whether something bad will happen but when it will happen. The crew of young actors, including Emma Bell and David Koechner, is admirably average, but let's face it, perfect line readings are not why you see these flicks.
Even with a modest $40 million budget, Final Destination 5 looks quite impressive. The effects, especially the terrific bridge collapse, are believably horrific, and the dismemberments are gleefully bloody. Thumbs up for all the nods to the previous films embedded throughout, too, and I'm adding half a star for the unexpected ending. Final Destination 5 is one of the best in the series, and is wholesome, bloody fun.
The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer for Final Destination 5 is slick and impressive. Sharpness is excellent, as is texture and depth, and only occasionally does the transfer exhibit minor softness. Skin tones are accurate and blacks solid, though a bit of crush does pop up. Every gouged eyeball and severed arm is visible in the crisp, detailed image, and many shots exhibit that sought-after HD "pop." Other than some minor compression artifacts and ringing, this transfer has few problems.
Your neighbors may think a bridge is collapsing in your living room thanks to the disc's aggressive 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Cables snap in the rear speakers, joints break up front, and the LFE rumbles to life as cars splash into the water below. The track remains aggressive throughout the movie without overpowering the dialogue. Action and ambient effects make full use of the surround speakers, and the score is rich and weighty. Also included are Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks and English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
Final Destination 5 arrives "combo pack" style from Warner Brothers. The Blu-ray, a DVD copy and an insert with a code to redeem an UltraViolet digital copy of the film are housed in a standard Blu-ray case. A shiny slipcover wraps the Blu-ray case. Extras include Final Destination 5: Circle of Death (5:39/HD), which explores the entire series and should only be watched after you see the film. Also included are some Alternate Death Scenes (15:48/HD) and the Visual Effects of Death (12:18/HD), which spotlight the creation of the film's big opener and conclusion. Warner Brothers also includes its standard BD-Live Portal.
Death is baaaaack in Final Destination 5! After a young professional saves his coworkers from a deadly suspension bridge collapse, the survivors starting dying in other gruesome ways. Five films in, this splatter series is not yet out of gas, as the bloody fun continues in Final Destination 5. With some clever nods to its predecessors and a fair amount of suspense, Final Destination 5 is Recommended.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.