The 'Final Destination' movies have become a guilty pleasure for me. Each film comes up with creatively disgusting ways of killing its characters. While the deaths are always gory and gross, they're brief and comical – unlike the prolonged, cruel, and disturbing deaths of the "torture porn" sub-genre. The deeper you get into any given franchise, the worse the movies typically get, but 'Final Destination 5' has some new tricks up its sleeves and lot of fantastic effects.
All along, the series has featured groups of young people going through similar experiences. One kid has a premonition of the certain deaths of many people through freak-of-nature accidents. After seeing a vision of how everyone will die, he/she acts on it and saves a bunch of lives – temporarily, at least. After "cheating death," death comes back and picks them of off one-by-one in the same order that they wold have died in the first place. 'Final Destination 5' takes that same scenario and gives it a new twist. If the survivors take another person's life, the scales of life and death are balanced and the remaining time that the murdered person had left in his or her life transfers over to the killer.
Each of the movies begins with an awesome tragedy. This round, our central characters are taking a charter bus to a company retreat. While crossing a major suspension bridge, the mix of construction and high winds cause cables to snap and portions of the bridge to collapse. As fun as these deaths are, the ways in which they're individually killed afterward is even better. Because that's where most of the fun comes from, I'll refrain from spoiling it for you.
As always, 'Final Destination 5' stars a cast of mostly no-name actors. The only recognizable face is that of David Koechner, better known as Champ Kind in 'Anchorman.' He plays the company head taking his sales team on the retreat. The rest of the survivors include a couple supervisors, sales associates, and an intern – all played by unrecognizable actors worthy of becoming horror movie cannon fodder.
The special effects of 'Final Destination 5' are hands-down the best of the franchise. The major effects required to realize the bridge collapse sequence are top-notch – not only seeing the bridge itself fall, but the unique ways in which are characters bite it. As the film progresses, the effects never lessen. From the beginning disaster to the secret twist ending, it always looks great.
If you like horror movies but hate the direction the genre has been moving, then 'Final Destination 5' is one you need to consider. Unlike the 'Saw' movies, this franchise has kept its integrity (as low as it may be) five films deeps.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'New Line' has given 'Final Destination 5' a combo pack that includes the film on a BD-25, a DVD, and a lame Ultraviolet Digital Copy (which must be unlocked with an included code). The two discs are housed in a standard blue keepcase that slides into a shiny and reflective cardboard slipcase. Upon inserting the disc, you're forced to watch an FBI warning, a Warner Bros. vanity reel and a promo reel for Warner Bros. 3D Blu-ray titles. There's also a WB Insider Rewards promo and a trailer for the 'Clockwork Orange' Blu-ray, both of which you can skip through to get to the menu faster.
'Final Destination 5' hits Blu-ray with a fantastic 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
Set to black, the opening credits kick off the sharp images with a montage of killing devices from previous 'Final Destination' movies shattering through plates of glass. Although this is not the 3D version of the Blu-ray, the images still carry a naturally third dimensional feel that carries on throughout the entire film.
The details and textures are phenomenal. As shards of glass, spatters of blood, and speck of chalk dust soar through the air, individual particles of each are clearly visible throughout this 100 percent clean transfer. Facial features – pores, follicle, wrinkles – are ever present. One shot shows the pits and dents in a wet asphalt parking lot. This transfer is heavy in detail.
With rich black levels, shadows are perfectly delineated. No detail whatsoever is lost within them. The overall palette of the film features muted colors, deep reds of blood being the only color that carries any weight. Fleshtones are slightly on the pale side, but that's most likely due to a directorial decision to suck the life out of the characters.
There isn't a single trace of elements such as noise, edge enhancement, DNR, banding or artifacts, although there is some occasional aliasing within finely combed styled hair and objects like car grills, fishnet stockings and air ducts.
The gem of the 'Final Destination 5' audio selections is an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Now you can hear the disgusting sounds of bones breaking, skulls crushing, spines snapping, flesh burning and blood spattering in perfect lossless surround sound.
A lot more was put into this audio track than I had expected. It's rich in small environment-establishing details that emit from all channels. Excluding the sub-woofer, each channel is lit up with sound throughout the whole film. The sub is used with perfection whenever necessary, including plenty of LFE.
The imaging from one channel to another is seamless. The sound travels with fluid movement. You'll notice this even more so during chaotic accidents. As the bridge begins to give, you'll hear cables snapping and soaring past your head. The sound of debris flying past you with each explosion is clear and evident.
The audio mix is well-balanced, the vocal track never being stepped on by the effects or music. Everything is blended with perfection. Nothing is lost. You can hear the wind rush in and swing the groaning bridge while screams of panic and terror ring out in the background. Amidst all this other noise, clear as day, you can hear the voice of our lead character instructing his friends and coworkers to safety.
Both the film-only and DVD combo pack version of the 'Final Destination 5' Blu-ray include an Ultraviolet Digital Copy. Not too special, I know, but still worth mentioning for those who like it.
If you've ever been a fan of the 'Final Destination' movies or like playful horror movies with gross and creative deaths, then 'Final Destination 5' is a worthy purchase. It's definitely the best the series has been since the original 2000 film. The deaths are awesome, the effects are top-notch, and a nice twist takes the franchise in a fresh direction. Aside from occasional aliasing, the near-perfect picture quality compliments the astounding effects. With an also brilliant flawless audio track, surprising, 'Final Destination 5' reaches demo-worthy levels. If only New Line had included some worthy special features. Still, this one comes recommended.