EVEN if you’ve only seen one of the previous four Final Destination films, you’ll already know one thing – you can’t cheat Death.
The fifth film in the spectacularly gory franchise doesn’t stray from that formula as we’re introduced to another all-new batch of characters.
First up is affable Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto), who dreams of becoming a chef while working in the office of a paper manufacturer.
He’s been tasked with organising a staff away day for his colleagues, who include on-off girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell), best friends Peter (Miles Fisher) and Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta), sleazy Isaac (P J Byrne) and Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), the obligatory sexy, bitchy one.
All is well until the bus they’re travelling on gets stuck in traffic on a suspension bridge.
As we’ve come to expect from Final Destination films, the hero of the piece has a premonition about his or her friends’ impending doom, and almost as soon as Sam ushers his nearest and dearest on the coach, the group and hundreds of other commuters are trapped in the middle of an unholy bridge collapse.
Sam does his best to get his friends to safety, but with little success. Only Emma makes it to solid ground.
In the space of a few minutes, he and his closest friends are wiped out in some of the most graphic - yet oddly hilarious - death scenes you’ll see this year. The acting may leave a lot to be desired, but the Final Destination writers are second to none when it comes to an imaginative demise.
As his daydream comes to an end, Sam realises what he saw in his mind’s eye and hurries his friends off the bus.
Sceptical at first, they soon start following when cracks appear in the road and all make it to safety. And there we have it, Death has been cheated once again, and Death doesn’t like that.
Very quickly Sam and his friends – with the exception of Emma, who by the gang’s reckoning is safe, – are under threat, and over the next hour or so the viewer is treated to some truly memorable gore.
It won’t be for everyone, granted, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the new ways in which the characters are offed.
What’s more, the identikit individuals are so anonymous and unlikeable, you won’t care that they’re meeting a grisly end, only how that end arises.
As with the other four Final Destination films, the real beauty is in the set up. Before their death, each of the characters is placed in an environment packed full of hazards and potentially lethal obstacles, leading the audience to imagine what gruesome event might happen, only for the actual incident to be something you’d never have thought of. It’s a clever trick.
The second of the five films to shot in 3D, the extra dimension is no mere afterthought and does add something to the horrific action scenes, and the final scene’s nod to the first film of the series is a clever twist.
Ultimately, Final Destination 5 is, barring Tony Todd’s performance as the camp coroner, a badly acted, terribly scripted film, inhabited by unlikeable, forgettable characters. To say that, however, is to miss the point, like saying Schindler’s List was a bit light on gags.
Approached for what it is – a series of over-the-top, laughter-inducing, gruesome death scenes pieced together by an implausible plot – and this might be the best Final Destination yet.