There’s no beginning this review without setting the scene from a personal standpoint; I am a diehard Final Destination fan. I’ve seen them all countless times and love them all to death (no pun intended), that is until The Final Destination tainted my beloved franchise. Sure, it’s tough to keep a plot fresh four times over, but drowning it in 3D technology is no way to spice it up and Final Destination 5 proves it. No, it doesn’t solidify the third dimension as anything more than a gimmick, but the film has more than enough in terms of the performances, visuals and smart writing to make this an incredibly valiant and successful effort and an installment that I welcome into the franchise with open arms.
The employees of Presage Paper are going on a company retreat. Dennis (David Koechner) is the man in charge, but his second in command, Peter (Miles Fisher), does the honors of rounding everyone up and ushering them onto the bus. He pops a squat next to his intern girlfriend, Candice (Ellen Wroe), while Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta) gets comfortable a few seats away, happily away from the factory underlings who don’t appreciate having a youngster as a boss. Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) spends the beginning of the ride sulking as the love of his life, Molly (Emma Bell), opted to end things just before hitting the road. There’s also Isaac, who, well, would rather talk to his many ladies on the phone than socialize with his co-workers and Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) who doesn’t appreciate how her glasses ruin her rock star style.
However, once the bus creeps onto a suspension bridge that’s under construction, none of those petty issues matter, as the structure begins to crumble and everyone just has to do whatever they can to survive. But this is the Final Destination franchise we’re talking about; none of them do, that is until Nick wakes up from his premonition realizing no blood has been spilled just yet and he’s got one shot at getting his friends, particularly Molly, off the bus. If only he knew the consequences of his actions, Sam might have opted to ride the bus to the netherworld. Instead, he makes it out alive along with Molly, Peter, Candice, Nathan, Olivia, Isaac and Dennis, putting them all on Death’s list, sending them straight towards even more gruesome demises.
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The parking lot of Petco Park was abuzz yet again tonight, this time courtesy of Warner Bros. in honor of the August 12th release of Final Destination 5. While I did catch the film’s stars Nicholas D’Agosto, P.J. Byrne, Tony Todd, Miles Fisher and Arlen Escarpeta floating around, the spotlight belonged to a portable theater screening the film’s opening disaster.
Before the Final Destination 5 footage began, the audience of about 30 or so relived the past four films in a montage of the most gruesome kills. After enjoying Rory (Jonathan Cherry) getting sliced and diced, Evan Lewis (David Paetkau) taking a ladder to the face and poor Ms. Lewton (Kristen Cloke) a knife to the chest in 3D, Tony Todd wrapped up the sequence with the especially ominous line, “You all just be careful now.”
From there the Final Destination 5 footage began and we met the sorry souls about to get entangled in Death’s games. D’Agosto leads the bunch as Sam Lawton. His coach bus is crossing a suspension bridge when, uh-oh, pavement starts to crack, ropes snap and the blood begins to flow. He seems super cozy with Emma Bell’s Molly as he keeps a close eye on her as they attempt to dodge the disaster. The scene features Byrne’s Isaac in a particularly amusing moment as well as Fisher’s Peter making a desperate attempt at survival. Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is the victim of death-by-no glasses while Escarpeta’s Peter suffers a rather harsh lashing.
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As a devoted fan of both the ‘Scream’ and ‘Final Destination’ franchises, the latest installments are two of the most highly anticipated releases of 2011. But, as much as I’m looking forward to ‘Scream 4’ on April 15th and to ‘Final Destination 5’ on August 26th, there’s no denying the fact that ‘Scream 3’ and ‘The Final Destination’ just weren’t very good. This is going to be a battle of redemption for each series and while our fingers are crossed both will exceed expectations, the horror film sequel odds are not in their favor.
Battle 1: Directors & Writers
From the moment ‘Scream 4’ was announced, that seemed to be a likely winner. Why would Wes Craven return to a beloved franchise ten years later if he didn’t have a viable reason to do so? Originally, the answer was that he did have the reason to do so and it was likely because someone came up with a good story that made rebooting the franchise a worthy investment. After following the production process from beginning to end, hopes were still high, but then ‘My Soul to Take’ arrived and … yeah.
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