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Film review: Final Destination 5
Everyone by now knows the number one rule of horror films is that no sequel is ever better than the original. The second rule is the larger the number at the end of the title, the poorer in quality the film will be. And the third, well, everyone knows that that particular rule can never be spoken out loud or written down, so that one will have to be left there.
It's fair to say that the Final Destination series has pretty much followed this dark rule of thumb to the letter. Until now.
In somehow breaking away from its own bland destiny, this fifth incarnation has decided to not only throw out the rule book, but have it fall from a very great height, only to land on the very person who wrote it in the first place, and have them fall to their death in front of a speeding train, which had only minutes before had its course diverted to avoid crashing into a bus full of unwanted babies that had got stuck on the crossing. As it turns out, all the babies had just been accidently sprayed by an untested chemical that will turn all of them into flesh-eating zombies, but that's another story.
There's probably only one thing worse than going to work, and that's having to attend a corporate retreat with your colleagues for some 'fun' team building. Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) isn't too bothered though, as at least he gets to go with his girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) and his friend Peter (Miles Fisher).
As the bus makes its way on its journey, it ends up being stuck on a bridge where an unfortunate set of events begin to happen, leading to nearly everyone on it dying. And then Sam snaps out of his day dream, and everything is OK. Until the bus approaches the bridge he just saw everyone die on, and begins to cross it. One by one, the events Sam had only just dreamt of start to come true. But thanks to his premonition, eight of them on the bus manage to survive, including Sam.
As you would expect, all of them are thankful for their lucky escape. The problem is, their luck is about to run out as Sam and his friends soon discover that you can't just cheat death. If it was fate for all eight of them to die on the bus, that means that eight people need to die, one way or another...
So then, so far, so formulaic. A group should have died, but didn't, so they really need to die so that balance can be restored. It's a tried and tested recipe that the franchise has stuck to rigidly over the years. But the great thing about recipes is that even with the same ingredients you can get varying results depending on who's cooking up the action. And on this evidence, director Steven Quale deserves a Michelin star or two.
What he does is simple enough; he sticks fast to what made the original such a blast. The choreography of the murders would make Michael Jackson proud, with each of his set pieces flowing like a gruesome version of the game of Mouse Trap.
What's even more remarkable is this is Quale's debut feature; previous to this he's done bits and pieces, like second unit work on the likes of Avatar and Titanic, but on this evidence he can be forgiven for that.
What he also utilises to good effect is the use of 3D. In fact it's safe to say that the opening credits are worth the extra expense of the glasses alone. Quale understands that in the horror genre it's more than OK to have things flying out of the screen at audiences. To this end he's possibly made the most satisfying and enjoyable 3D film to date. It's probably the only 3D title in recent years where one could be actively encouraged to see the 3D version over the 2D.
On top of all that, he gets just what he needs from his cast of unknowns. The film is littered with sharp things; if the metal objects flying out of the screen don't get you, some of the rapier dialogue will.
Having broke this rule so unequivocally, there's bound to be consequences for audiences; most likely taking the shape of some horrific sequels to this franchise to come. That might be a small price to pay however, for what is a thoroughly crowd-pleasing piece of event cinema. So type in 'horror' into your GPS and get set for a well and truly bumpy ride.
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