Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fieval Destination!

Final Destination 5  (New Line, 2011)

Before the Camera:

Nicholas D'Agosto  (Psycho Beach Party)
Emma Bell  (Frozen)
Miles Fisher  (Superhero Movie)
Ellen Wroe  (3 TV guest spots and 1 short film - first feature!)
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood  (TV's The Bold and the Beautiful)
P.J. Byrne  (Horrible Bosses)
Arlen Escarpeta  (Friday the 13th '09)
David Koechner  (Piranha 3DD)      <-----I invaded the set of that one!
Courtney B. Vance  (Ambushed)
Tony Todd  (Final Destination)
as Bludworth

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Steven Quale

Produced by Craig Perry & Warren Zide and 6 other assorted executive, line, associate and co-producers

Written by Eric Heisserer

Based on characters created by Jeffrey Riddick

    I cannot deny it. I like sequels. Or perhaps I should say I like the idea of sequels. I certainly don't like all the sequels out there, and there are movies that I don't want to see any -quels for, like oh, say 1982's The Thing (I'm looking at YOU, 2011 prequel/requel The Thing!) And oh yeah - requel? That's my term for a supposed continuation of a movie that really just tells the exact same story again. You know, a rehash. So a rehash sequel is a requel. I have more of those "other kinds of sequel" things...someday I'll break them all down for you, but I wouldn't want to digress.
    And yet, I did.
    So, when I hear there's a third, or fourth, or even fifth or sixth movie in a series on the way - most of the time I'm perfectly happy with the idea. I lower my expectations a bit and wander in to the theater (or pick up the DVD - more likely in these direct-to-video days).
    All that said, I have not missed a Final Destination movie in the theaters, because the first one remains one of my very favorite horror movies of all time. It was a very clever flick, not a standard issue slasher or monster movie; it was well written, directed, and acted, and it featured some wonderfully scary and gory moments. I have found each succeeding sequel a step down from the previous, and after #4 - which tried to hide its position in the lineup by calling itself The Final Destination - turned out to be a very slight continuation which just barely made it past the entertainment finish line thanks to being in 3-D - still a newly returned thing when it was released in 2009 - I felt if there was a part 5 that took another commensurate step down the Quality Stairway, I might finally be finished with the series.
    Then I went and saw Final Destination 5.
    First off, it calls itself Final Destination FIVE - loudly and proudly! Point one for the movie! It has an opening disaster setpiece that barely comes in second to the series winner  - Final Destination 2's - and only because it doesn't have quite as much chain of cause and effect, but goes for more of a series of setpieces that are horrific but which stand apart from each other. I'm not even going to say what the theme of the disaster is, because if you can manage to go see this completely spoiler free you will be doing yourself a favor.
    Suffice to say, just as in the other movies from the series, there are survivors from the terrible accident that opens the film and which claimed the lives of several dozen people, and before they can even begin to put their lives back together, Death - which has been cheated by their survival - comes a'calling, with gleefully graphic and nasty "accidents" that are positively Rube Goldberg-ian in their intricate complexity. Can anyone defeat the specter of Death when it returns to draw you into its lethal tapestry with whatever happens to be laying around at any given moment?

Does death even come in human form for this fifth go-round?

     If you haven't guessed it yet, I thoroughly enjoyed FD5 - it was a very cleverly written series entry, well directed and shot in native 3-D, with the third dimension utilized for a lot more terrifically gratuitous in-your-face grue than the previous entry managed. The actors are a mixed bag, as often happens in movies like this, but I'd say everyone is at least adequate for their roles, with old pros Koechner and Vance helping a lot. Thanks to second lead Miles Fisher, I spent a few minutes thinking about the studio contract player days, when the studios would hire not-quite-as-talented actors and actresses who were lookalikes for their big box office draws, then threaten their stars with replacement if they got out of line. If that system was in place now, Miles Fisher would be serving double duty as the B movie Tom Cruise and the B movie Christian Bale! 
Miles Fisher, Bale-ing on the left
and Cruise-ing on the right.

     Of course series regular Todd, who sat out part 4 and only did a vocal cameo in 3, returns here to give his third dose of menacing exposition as the ever-mysterious Bludworth, though his scenes did feature him saying two things I had minor quibbles with - one less so after seeing the rest of the movie and one more so after seeing the rest of the movie. But that's all I can say about that. If you've seen the movie and want to compare notes about these two things comment with an email address and we'll discuss it "off camera," so to speak. To wrap this one up - the death sequences are positively squirm inducing, and I'm going to say three words to give you an idea what I mean - we won't call this a spoiler, since it features prominently in the trailer.

Laser Eye Surgery.

If you've enjoyed any of the previous Final Destination movies, even only the first one, and you're in the mood for some wicked suspense, thrills, and some graphic mayhem, shot in 3-D and not added as an afterthought in post production, you should definitely go to the theater to see this one. You won't be sorry that you did.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

Seems like I might have heard it on the bridge...stand by for updates...

Eye Candy ?

Yes, for her nerd glasses and for wrapping her willowy body in a succession of short skirts and fetching hosiery, welcome Jacqueline MacInnes Wood to the list!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Final Destination 5 happily won't be the
disaster escaped in Final Destination 6!"

Very meta, Buddha Man! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. I just may have to see it.
    So, according to you, then, the upcoming Fright Night is really a requel?
    I can't wait for your review of that one!

  2. RavenElaine! Good to see you! Let me know if you do go see this one. I'm afraid Fright Night '11 doesn't qualify as a requel because it isn't supposedly a continuation of the original, like Fright Night 2, but a total out and out remake. Are you looking forward to it? I can't say that I am, really. I like the original just fine. And what the heck were they thinking turning ham actor/TV horror host Peter Vincent into a Las Vegas stage magician? What does that even have to do with vampires? Why would Charley go to a stage magician for help against a vampire? I like David Tennant, but he's miscast here, and I can't wrap my head around that. Tell you what - YOU go see it, and as a confirmed fan of the first one, you tell ME what's what about it! How's about that?

  3. I'm not looking forward to it. Facebook keeps sending me updates about it because I'm a fan of the original and I cringe at how much exposure this one seems to be getting. It feels disgraceful to the first one. I agree with what you said "I like the original just fine." I do too! (And yes, I could block the FB updates, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it).
    I'm not sure I'm gonnna see it, but if I do, I'll let you know what I think.
    I didn't know that about the stage magiciann change. You're right - it doesn't make much sense.

  4. RE - Well, for all the exposure - it appears the box office numbers indicate that Fright Night '11 has tanked. Weirdly, several of my old friends have seen it, and they've given it mostly positive reviews. Based on those reviews I might have given in and made a trip to the theater for it - saving myself the money for the 3-D - but it may not last in theaters long enough. So be it.