Olivia Castle (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) is aware of impending doom. Olivia shivers despite her doctor's courteous assurances that her laser eye surgery is regular and risk-free and despite the cuddly bear she is holding. Olivia just agitates more when being restrained to a table, having her head kept steady, and having her eyes pushed open. In contrast, the doctor patiently guides her through the setup procedure while speaking in a patient monotone. He is so sure of himself that the doctor doesn't even hesitate to leave Olivia alone for a little period of time.
He obviously is unaware of what we are aware of. Olivia and her fellow survivors have been pursued by Death since coworker Sam Lawton (Nicholas D'Agosto), who saved her life by persuading her and others to get off of a bus minutes before it was engaged in a terrible accident, spared their lives. Even the seemingly benign objects at the office might be used to cause death. Her death may be brought on by even a cup of water, positioned perilously over a boiling water cooler.
However, Final Destination 5 director Steven Quale is mindful that his audience will be franchise veterans who are familiar with "the rules," so he utilizes his camera to emphasize the means of Olivia's destruction. He carefully moves toward the laser, giving the impression that Olivia is in its range. While her head is restrained to the bed, he observes her eye flicker furiously in close-up. He moves aloofly up the water cooler, tracing the water's path from the spill to the sparking outlet and then up the wires that would ultimately cause the laser to activate and bore into Olivia's eye. The camera does nothing but watch as Olivia reaches out to press the emergency shut-off button, which is cruelly out of her grasp.
We already know what will happen by the time the turmoil really happens. Olivia rips herself free, the laser searing her eye, face, and hands. She eventually gets out of bed as her friends and the anxious doctor enter the room. However, she trips over some misplaced equipment and falls out of the window, landing on a vehicle and falling many storeys. Although Olivia's particular method of death was a surprise, the outcome was always certain. Nobody can avoid dying.
Final Destination 5 is the finest in the franchise because of this tension between surprise and anticipation. Final Destination 3 slipped into a level of mean-spiritedness that undercut the inherently playful concept, unlike the first movie, which introduced the clever premise of a serial killer movie without a serial killer, and the second movie, which improved on the model with kill sequences that still make people think twice about following a logging truck or trying to get out of an elevator. By the time The Final Destination, the series' ostensible final installment, was released in 2009, it seemed routine and hollow, a mechanical march toward death devoid of any life or fun.
One must keep in mind that the franchise is by its very nature formulaic in order to comprehend Final Destination 5's accomplishment. Every movie starts out with an extraordinary scene when a mundane occurrence results in complete carnage—a aircraft crashes or a Nascar accident spews debris onto the audience. One of the potential victims then reveals that sequence to be a premonition and, along with their pals, avoids the tragedy. Then Death returns one by one to collect those who had escaped his or her wrath, picking off the victims in amusing Rube Goldberg fashion.
Final Destination 5 might not appear to be a glaring franchise standout using this methodology. The most ridiculous death scene isn't in it. That distinction belongs to Hunt Wynorski (Nick Zano, portraying the polar opposite of his endearing Legends of Tomorrow character Steel), who in The Final Destination had a pool pump suck his intestines out of his butt. Additionally, the film doesn't feature any of the series' top actors. The likable but uninspired cast of Final Destination 5 doesn't quite match the charismatic performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Final Destination 3 or the depth Mykelti Williamson gives his character in The Final Destination, despite the fact that it does see the return of series staple Tony Todd as coroner William Bludworth and gives Courntey B. Vance a supporting role as an investigator.
Final Destination 5 surpasses all of its predecessors with its undiluted feeling of impending dread, although marginally falling short in key areas. Consider the gymnast Candice Hooper dying scene, which is the greatest in the film (Ellen Wroe).
An establishing image of the practice floor shows Candice and her other athletes going through their exercises as the action opens. Quale is aware that by asking us to search for difficulty, he is doing more than simply providing information to his audience. Our eyes dart around the practice area as the camera follows Candice as she prepares, scanning for anything that can suddenly turn lethal. We can see the torn power cable, the exposed wires on the loose bolt in the parallel bars, and the upturned screw on the balancing beam thanks to Quale's camera.
Quale spends over three minutes putting these dangers in place and allowing Candice to go close to them. She unintentionally wanders up to a puddle of water close to the exposed wire or dances over the upside-down screw while he toys with the crowd. After playing with us, he brings everything together by pushing the camera on the bolt as Candice spins and cutting to another performer who is getting close to the screw on the balancing beam.
After all that preparation, anything may go wrong in only twenty seconds. After walking on the balancing beam competitor's screw, the beam falls, spewing a bucket of dust into the fan, which then blasts into Candice's face, forcing her to botch her dismount and break her neck.
The end result of the incidents is undoubtedly awful. With her head looking over her back and a bone sticking out of a cut in her leg, Candice is now nothing more than a quivering ball of flesh. The gross-out ending, however, is not the current source of actual dread. It is the tension that the sequence's development has produced. Additionally, it's the knowing that numerous other characters will experience the same thing as Candice's death is only the first in the film.
Undoubtedly, the theme of the Final Destination films is Death's unbreakable hold. They all center on the heroes discovering Death's strategy and then attempting to evade or thwart it. Each film features a peaceful moment at the end where the heroes believe they have escaped their doom only to find that Death still has them in his or her grasp. The seeming survivors exhale in relief, but then a grill explodes or a sign falls to the ground, reminding us all that Death always prevails.
However, Final Destination 5 pushes that structural component to its most pessimistic conclusion. Sam and his fiancée Molly (Emma Bell), who are certain they have made it through the trauma, board a plane for Paris after seeing a bunch of teenagers being taken away from an altercation. Although Sam and Molly are unconcerned by the commotion, we viewers know them as the protagonists of Final Destination, indicating that this film is a prequel. The plane explosion will take Sam and Molly's lives.
Such moments elevate the fifth installment to the top of the Final Destination series. Instead of challenging expectations, the movie incorporates them into its narrative, making the familiarity a source of dread in and of itself. There is never any question that the characters on screen will pass away, even though the film allows us to speculate about how they will do so.
In horror films, sequels are frequently just as inevitable, especially after such a powerful first film. And yet, it has been more than ten years since the last new Final Destination movie. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's central theme of inescapable death is very much in line with high-concept slasher revivals like Scream, Halloween, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, despite the fact that the slasher roots of the original have fallen out of favor in an age of "elevated horror" (complain all you want, we all know what the term means). Whatever Jeffery Reddick and his co-creators have in store for the impending sixth installment, it will be difficult to beat the dread of Final Destination 5. Perhaps that is what he has in mind when he promises a "new take on the concept.”