When you get five films into a horror franchise, it’s likely you’ll no longer be surprised by what it does unless it goes right out there. Final Destination 5, which was released on this day in 2011, may not be the best movie in its franchise, but its ending absolutely is.
Despite the fourth entry being titled The Final Destination, it unsurprisingly wasn’t the case as Final Destination 5 was released two years later and ironically ended up being the last one itself…for now.
Final Destination 5 shifts back towards the mean-spirited darker tone of the original after the goofier previous entry. The longest opening accident set piece in the series sees a bridge collapse and cause some horrifically grisly deaths. You know the setup by now. Show what should happen, then what does happen, then unleash a series of Rube Goldberg deaths that get increasingly absurd.
Death Eats Itself
A movie series that deals with strange coincidences and fate reaches its logical conclusion in Final Destination 5. The movie is littered with nods to everything that came before, from pictures of the Devil’s Flight rollercoaster and the race car that caused the major accidents of the previous two films to an ominous truck carrying logs on the highway that traumatized anyone who watched Final Destination 2 all over again. Then, of course, that end reveal ties into the original film and connects all the dots the movie had been feeding us.
The sting at the end isn’t the only worthwhile thing about Final Destination 5. The tension racked up in the gymnastics scene, and the payoff for it is among the highest of highs in the entire franchise. But let’s not forget laser eye surgery nightmares made flesh, extreme wrench to the face, death by Buddha, and the whole bridge scene. Even the worst Final Destination has fun deaths, and this is not the worst Final Destination.
It’s entirely fitting that Final Destination 5 ends by wrapping around to the start of the series because it seemed to break the run, and we’ve not had a new entry in 12 years since. They are letting the Grim Reaper come out of retirement once more for Final Destination 6, but the current strike action has done a better job of intervening in his design than Devon Sawa or Ali Larter ever could. Once that’s resolved, creator Jeffrey Reddick has assured fans the next entry will be getting made.
I wonder what the next film will make people nervous about. I know I still can’t go on a rollercoaster without picturing it going to hell. That’s the Final Destination series in a nutshell. Rubbernecking in movie form with none of the guilt and all of the worry.