The Hippo


Dec 6, 2019








Final Destination 5 (R)

By Amy Diaz

More kids cheat death only to have death collect in freaky ways in Final Destination 5, which is shocking for how horrible the deaths are and how horrible the movie isn’t.

Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) works in some kind of corporate sales job, but what he really wants to do is be a chef. Be a chef and be with Molly (Emma Bell), the girlfriend he loves so much that he’s willing to give up a job at a restaurant in Paris to be with her. Peter (Miles Fisher) is Sam’s supervisor and is quietly dating intern Candice (Ellen Wroe), a college gymnast. Olivia (Jaqueline MacInnes Wood) is, er, trampily dressed. Isaac (P. J. Byrne) is a lady’s man jerk. Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta) is a hardworking guy who oversees difficult employees in the company’s plant. Dennis (David Koechner) is the boss of all of these kids and is taking them on a company retreat.

Everybody gets on a bus, the bus heads toward a bridge and quicker than you can say “explosion of intestines,” they all die gruesome, splatter-filled deaths as the bridge falls apart and the bus careens into the water.

Or at least, so Sam sees before snapping out of a daze. He’s suddenly back a few moments in time, before the disaster but right as the sequence of events (a cut finger, “Dust in the Wind” on the radio) begins that precedes bridge’s collapse. As in the five movies before  when someone gets an early glimpse at impending disaster, Sam freaks out and runs off the bus, pulling Molly with him and followed by the other people mentioned here for various reasons. Instead of being squished, splatted, impaled or vivisected, this group of would-be fish food watches from the sidelines as the rest of their office mates plunge into the water. Then the questions start: how did Sam know? Did he cause the collapse?

F.B.I. Agent Block (Courtney B. Vance) seems to think so. But a shadowy figure (Tony Todd) seems to suggest there is something else at work, particularly when Candice and then Isaac die in freak accidents.

Hilariously freak accidents. The shtick with the Final Destination movies isn’t just that death seeks out people who don’t die “when they’re supposed to” in big disasters but that death comes to them in the most ludicrous way possible. They don’t survive the bridge collapse (or the airplane crash or the race car accident) only to die the next day from an aneurism. They are killed because of a series of small events that, Rube Goldberg-style, unfold in a way that a person can be killed by, for example, a pumpkin-sized Buddha statue. And it isn’t the thing you think that gets them — at least not directly. The movie has fun messing with you — showing you the possible electrocution or the potentially deadly fryolator but then doing someone in with a loose screw.
The movie has a sense of humor, not just about the way it kills somebody but about the way that relates to someone’s personality or to whatever they were doing just before they died. And the deaths are gory — nobody is just stabbed, they are stabbed by the mast of a sail boat as they fall backward off a bridge so that their innards are thrust in the air, like ketchup-drenched party streamers. This is a movie that likes its ooze, its chunks, its viscera. And it likes them so much, displays this gore with such glee, that those squished eyes seem to all but wink at the camera.

Why is this different from the Saw movies, which are also gory and improbable but glum and not at all giddy, the way this movie is? I’m not quite sure. Perhaps it’s because these people are nobody’s victims — they are victims of fate or of their mistaken belief they can outrun death. There is no dank basement, no pleading with an all-powerful villain. It’s a very extreme version of the freak accidents we all consider when we’re balancing on a wheeled office chair to reach a high shelf or walking up an icy set of stairs in high heels.

Final Destination 5 has some fun with the franchise as well, creating some nice little smirky moments. B-

Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents and some language. Directed by Steven Quale and written by Eric Heisserer (from characters by Jeffrey Reddick), Final Destination 5 is an hour and 35 minutes long and distributed by Warner Bros.

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