The Final Destination series of films came out at a time when originality had seemingly found its own death. The teen slasher had seen a resurgence from Wes Craven with Scream and every film that followed was essentially a remake of that staple of horror. That is until 2000 when Final Destination was released. Taking many of the same tropes that all of the copycats were using, Final Destination took them and put them on their ear. First-time director James Wan (SAW) took a simple concept like what happens when you cheat death and explored it by giving it an unseen personality, and this personality was pissed.
Being as it was a success, there were sequels to further pad the mythos and the wallets of producers. None of them, however, had the same panache as the first. That is, until the fifth installment. Many overlook sequels when they get into the high numbers, figuring that they said all they needed to say with the first one but with this franchise, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are 5 reasons that Final Destination 5 is your last stop in terror.
It expands on the core concepts
Like all horror movies, Final Destination started with one idea and then kept adding to it or simply do a variation of it until the concept was run into the ground. The first suggested that if you cheat death, death will come for you. the only way to stave off death was to save the life of the person next in line and throw a monkey wrench into Death’s whole timeline. The second suggested that bring new life would halt the grim reaper’s cold hand from claiming you. By the time 4 came around, they had lazily just rehashed the previous films.
But when 5 rolled around, Tony Todd injected new life into the franchise. By taking another life, you take on the rest of the newly deceased years. by this logic, one could live forever, presuming that you kept on killing people. This would not only recharge the franchise but also provide spinoff opportunities to a serial killer who simply wants to keep on living. Quite impressive for a 5 film franchise to inject any kind of new idea.
An opening that really grabs you
Of course, The Final Destination series is known for its opening sequences. Audiences are always treated to the entire cast’s grizzly death before it actually happens. The opening sequence of the second installment is the one most people think of featuring a massive pile up on the high way. The scene in 5, however, may soon replace that horrific first act in people’s minds.
On a business retreat, someone has a premonition (Natch) and sees everyone meet their untimely death. From it brilliant conception to the over the top special effects, one would swear that the budget of this film was a huge summer blockbuster, not a humble horror flick, known for their smaller budgets.
It can never be overstated that gore is the lynchpin to the success of the Final Destination franchise. Certainly there is suspense and the occasional jump scare but by and large, a gruesome death is certainly a reason to keep going to see a Final Destination flick. Being as the series sunk to the depth of all CGI in the 4th film, the fifth of the franchise upped its game by incorporating practical effects with CGI enhancements. The result was so impressive, the late, great Roger Ebert, a famous non-lover of horror, even praised the graphic demise of onscreen teenagers.
Keeping it fresh
Not only do the Final Destination films deliver on the gore but the elaborate Rube Goldberg death trap set ups in the films have become expected among horror fans. This is not truer that in the fifth installment when the gymnast meets her end. It’s not only the horrific death but the set up that gets audience hearts pumping and craving more. the slow build up constantly raises the tension like that gymnast featured above. Undoubtedly, one of the most graphic deaths of the series but still just one in a long line of well paid off death scenes.
What a twist!
Warning: This entry contains spoilers for Final Destination 5 as well as the first film.
Horror movies and known for their shocking twist endings thanks to M. Night Shyamalan and Final Destination 5 is no exception. Once you get to the end of the film, you realize that the entire story takes place in 2000. This sequel is actually a prequel to the movie that started it all. Upon secondary viewings, the clues allude to it taking place in the past but it’s not until we see them get on the infamous plane from the first film that we know how it all connects. Side note: It’s good to see Devon Sawa on screen for any length of time.
The Final Destination films are just cheesy popcorn flicks at their heart. No one expects a riling debate on whether there is an entity of death and if he actually has a vendetta against the living. Especially ones that have eluded his grasp. There are theories about Franchise mainstay Tony Todd being death or at least works for him and that is pretty much where the existential theories end.
The films are made to entertain audiences and the fifth film does that in spades. If you haven’t seen it, or if you haven’t seen it in a while, pop it into the old Blu ray or streaming service and sit down for a fun time of gore and screams. Just remember to stay safe on the roads and be weary of air travel.