Death kicks ass and takes names in the latest installment in the Final Destination franchise, Final Destination 5.
Whether at the theater, on TV, at the movies, or even on the web, watching people – both fictional and non-fictional – die has been a form of cathartic entertainment for many. Granted, not everyone is into the idea of death as entertainment, but many people are. And it’s a concept that has some of its earliest roots on the stage.
No, I’m not talking about the Greeks, Romans, or even Shakespeare who all had staged deaths in their plays. I’m talking about macabre, gruesome, and violent performance art that was the cornerstone of Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in France beginning in 1897 through 1962. This particular theater became infamous for displaying staged acts of torture, rape, and murder all for the enjoyment of a paying audience.
The idea of watching people die for the enjoyment of others was capitalized upon with the infamous Faces of Death series, as well as many other death-related films throughout the world. These include the Japanese film series, Guinea Pig, and films that are considered Gridhouse fare like Cannibal Holocaust.
And, of course, I can’t forget to mention the death film with the most infamy: the snuff film. Are they merely urban legends, or are there really people who pay money to see a person really killed on film for their viewing pleasure? I sure hope not.
With slasher films that feature Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Ghostface, and a multitude of other killers who love to slice and dice teens for the masses. For some reason we like to watch others get killed, and usually in the most violent, crazy, and bloody ways possible.
Today, audiences flock to movie theaters to watch Jigsaw torture his victims in elaborate traps; see wealthy men and women pay big bucks to torture attractive college students in hostels; and witness death pick off the survivors of a catastrophic accident after being saved by one man or woman’s premonition.
Unlike Saw, Hostel, and the myriad serial killers mentioned above, the Final Destination series throws in a unique twist: the men and women who fall prey to death’s twisted plan all seem to die in “accidents.” But we know this isn’t the case; it’s merely death getting what it feels rightfully belongs to him.
After four Final Destination flicks, I was surprised that there was a fifth installment on the way; number four was The Final Destination, right? But the fifth installment works due to several clever twists and some very shocking death sequences. Oh, and the 3D is awesome and much better than in #4!
Now, if you’ve seen any of the Final Destination movies you know that the template is pretty much the same for each one. What continues to drive audiences to the theater and to rent the films is to see in what manner these characters are killed. Will it be quick? Will they suffer? And how shocking will the final death-blow actually be?
If you’re like me, you don’t watch these movies for the snappy dialogue, the Oscar-caliber acting, or a thoroughly engaging storyline. That’s not what these movies are designed for. The nice thing about FD5 is that it takes the plot in a new direction that will definitely catch you off-guard and may even require a second viewing.
This movie in particular did an excellent job flipping things around at the last minute so what you think is going to happen turns out to be something you never expected. There were several moments where this took place, which was a refreshing twist on an aging franchise.
I feel that FD5 brought a new sense of energy and life to the series, however. I had a lot more fun and was held in much more suspense this time out than I was with the third or fourth installments of the series. I felt as if the filmmakers took a step back and tried to do what made the first and second films work so well. And the result is something fans of the genre and series will enjoy.
As I mentioned before, this is not a film where the acting is top-notch, but the cast does seem to be having a good time with what they’re doing. The stand-out performance in the film comes from actor Miles Fisher who looks so much like Tom Cruise it’s almost scary. In fact, Fisher has spoofed Mr. Cruise in Superhero Movie, and it’s one the best impersonations of the famous actor I have seen.
Also, look for familiar adult faces like Tony Todd (Candyman, Hatchet), David Koechner (Anchorman, The Office), and Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: CI, Flashforward, and ER) among the younger cast.
The audience at the premiere was energized and raring to go as the opening credits appeared. It was probably one of the most entertaining audiences I have seen a movie with in a long time. The cheered the actors, the laughed at the corny dialogue, and they applauded thunderously after each death. It appears that Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol is alive and well in cinemas all over the world thanks to films like Final Destination 5.
According to actor Tony Todd, there are already plans to shoot FD6 and FD7 simultaneously if this one does well. And there could possibly be an eighth entry in the franchise if the box office keeps rolling in. Whether you love them, like them, hate them, or are indifferent to them, the Final Destination series of films look as if they have no signs of slowing down.
With three more planned, the question now is: What will the opening catastrophes be? It’s fun to speculate what elaborate and crazy opening sequences the twisted writers may come up with. It’s even more fun to guess how these characters will die. Yes, I know, it sounds dark and disturbing to enjoy the thought of people dying; but that’s what these flicks were made for, isn’t it?
Final Destination 5 is definitely a fun time at the movies. It’s not for the weak stomached, but if you’re a fan of gore, guts, and guys who look like Tom Cruise, this is your movie!
If you had to die in an elaborate Final Destination way, what would it be? What did you think of the movie? Leave a comment and let us know!