Let’s be honest here—is there really anything new to be said about a Final Destination movie? I could go back to any previous review, change the names (not that anyone is likely to notice), update the opening disaster that sets the events (it’s hardly a plot) in motion and no one would be any the wiser. There’s just nothing new here—even the 3D angle was exploited in the last one. I suppose the business about sacrificing someone else to get you off the hook (shades of Fritz Lang’s 1921 Destiny) qualifies, but it’s purely for decorative effect—like putting parsley on fish—as concerns the movie overall.
So here are the specifics this round: A group of corporate types are on a bus bound for some kind of retreat when one of their number (Nicholas D’Agosto) has a vision that the suspension bridge they’re crossing is going to collapse and they’re all going to hand in their SAG cards. Of course, he panics and flees with his girlfriend (Emma Bell). Others pursue them, meaning that a total of eight beat the Reaper. Their joy is short-lived when old Mr. Death starts settling the score in various creative ways that only need Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” on the soundtrack to turn into a Warner Bros. cartoon with added viscera.
The fact is Final Destination is perfectly adequate at what it attempts to be. It’s the usual list of TV actors and no-names—including some fellow named Miles Fisher who looks the love child of Tom Cruise and Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows—being systematically offed because they cheated death. Series regular Tony Todd (Candyman himself) skulks around, whistles “Leaning on the Everlasting Arm,” issues cryptic warnings, feeds the five remaining survivors (after the third death) a plot device and generally proves himself a better actor with more screen presence than anyone else in the film.
The effects work is fine—the CGI bridge collapse is admittedly spectacular—and the deaths are typically juicy. I’d even concede that the final twists are clever. But overall, so what? I didn’t in the least mind sitting through it and neither, I suspect, will anyone who liked the previous films in the series. Still, this is a concept that has frankly worn itself out. The claim, of course, is that Final Destination 5 is the last of the series, and that would be for the best. Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, and some language.