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Final Destination 5 3D

8/10

Stars: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, P.J. Byrne, Arlen Escarpeta, David Koechner, Courtney B. Vance, Tony Todd, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

Director: Steven Quale

Profit-driven moviemakers have enough sense (if not creativity) never to abandon a surefire box-office formula.

So, surely to nobody’s surprise, we have New Line’s fifth excursion into the weird world of deadly premonitions with yet another group of young people meeting the Grim Reaper in a variety of scary, scarifying and satisfyingly sadistic ways. And, encouraged by the commercial success of 2009’s The Final Destination, this splendid blood-spattered collection of ingenious deaths is presented in 3D, giving cinemagoers the additional excitement of having blood spurted into their faces, along with spikes and other lethal weapons punching their gory ways into the cinema. It probably doesn’t count as ‘Art’ but it sure as hell adds up to extra earnings for exhibitors.

Eric Heisserer’s screenplay sensibly sticks to the tried-and-true format of omens, surprise, suspense and innovative deaths. These include a man’s head bisected by a flying spanner, someone having an eye fried in a laser operation that goes horrifyingly wrong, then falling out of a high window and being run over as an unfortunate encore. If that doesn’t appeal, how about someone who is punctured by a nest of acupuncture needles after they needle a stern Chinese masseuse? And that’s just for starters in a slickly conceived and executed shocker guaranteed to satisfy buffs with a taste for terror.

The special effects that create a horrifyingly credible collapsing suspension bridge not just once (premonition) but twice, this time from other viewpoints (execution) as well are first rate and cleverly used by director Quale who also extracts adequate performances from his large and mostly doomed young players.

Tony Todd dressed in a sober black suit and best remembered as ‘Candyman’ turns up to tell the luckless lads and lasses that “Death doesn’t like to be cheated” and adding, rather redundantly, given this is the fifth time around for this particular filmic formula, “I’ve seen this before”.

So have we. That said, ‘5’ struck me as an easily entertaining horror show with just enough gallows humour (“I see dead people” says a future victim in homage to The Sixth Sense) to be able rightly to claim that it successfully puts the ‘laughter’ into ‘slaughter’.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by deluxe.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 21 Aug 2011