Miles Fisher as Peter

Miles Fisher as Peter

Aisle Seat: Franchise cheats death even in 3-D

Final Destination 5: Three stars out of 5

  • Aug. 21, 2011 6:00 p.m.

The element of surprise is all but gone in the Final Destination franchise –– not that it overly stuck out anyway.

But in Final Destination 5 (which does start to beg the question, do the minds behind this thing even know the definition of the word final?), director Steven Quale figures, why wait?

He hurls a whole bunch of 3-dimensional objects at his audience during the opening credits: big slabs of lumber, broken glass, knives, and…wait, was that a ceiling fan? Doesn’t matter. The whole trick is a creepy, albeit fun preview of the grisly stuff that awaits the vanilla characters inhabiting this sequel.

And while I do feel a slight pang of guilt terming any film that skewers an individual on a sailboat mast like some kind of kabob, or does a little skull frying (prediction: this film will make the laser eye surgery business very, very angry) as fun, I can’t help it. Final Destination is a franchise that is unmistakably gruesome in execution (pun intended), but inescapably cheesy  in its approach.

In short, this is pretty irresistible if you like your horror unrealistic and relentless.

And even after a handful of sequels, I’ll be darned if they don’t keep coming up with creative ways to do this B-movie roller coaster justice.

Pretty much a carbon copy of its predecessors, Final Destination 5 starts with a premonition, this time a horrible bridge accident (a Vancouver bridge, at that; happy travels, everyone) and, par for the course, a group of survivors who are able to flee the tragedy before it goes down.

Then along comes coroner Tony Todd (The Candyman) who informs them that, because they somehow escaped fate, death will be coming for them.  And boy, does it ever.

From there, it’s all poking, crunching, burning, slicing… there’s really no end to how the poor young unknown actors (well, save for comedy vet David Koechner, who plays the idiot boss) get eliminated.

Final Destination 5 is a little more over-the-top in its gore, which is either good news or bad news, depending on your tolerance and/or stomach.

It’s probably the best entry in the series, but then, is that really a huge compliment?

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is The Morning Star’s movie reviewer. His column, Aisle Seat, appears every Friday and Sunday.