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
Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema offer this 3D Blu-ray edition of 'Final Destination 5' as a three-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy. The first is a BD50 with the movie in 3D, compatible only with 3D Blu-ray players and presumably Region Free. The second is a Region Free, BD25 disc with supplements, while the third is a DVD. Both high-def disc commence with a trailer for different movies and different promos for 3D Blu-ray products. Afterwards, they both show the same static main menu with music.
Shot natively in HD with the new Arri Alexa digital cameras (the one steadily growing as the camera of choice lately), 'Final Destination 5' arrives with a great-looking 1080p/MVC MPEG-4 encode. The transfer, itself, was presumably struck from a new digital intermediate codec which was then converted into a 3D workflow.
The results, for the most part, are excellent with sharp, crisp contrast levels, keeping the 2.40:1 aspect ratio bright and vivid. Brightness, too, shows superb balance in daylight sequences as well as various good to poorly lit interiors. Blacks are quite exceptional with noticeable gradations in the grayscale and strong shadow delineation throughout. The picture is sharply detailed and distinct from beginning to end, revealing every brick on the exterior of buildings or every spot of rust and age on machines inside the paper factory. Facial complexions appear natural, and close-ups reveal many trivial blemishes on actors. Despite the dark-tinted glasses, the color palette is nicely saturated with deep, dramatic primaries nearly everywhere.
When entering the third dimension, judgment leans slightly more toward a mixed bag, though overall the transfer manages to entertain with several fun moments. These come mostly from gimmick shots during high points in the action. The opening credit sequence is probably the best part of the entire movie, as random objects fly towards the screen as projectiles and shatter the glass. The many gruesome deaths — and the buildup towards them — also display outstanding depth and distance with very minor, negligible crosstalk. The rest of the 3D presentation is not as impressive with several scenes looking flat and ordinary while others simply muster a popup-book effect.
All things considered, the 3D Blu-ray looks great with several fun three-dimensional gimmicks, but it's nothing greatly memorable.
The fifth installment in the 'Final Destination' series arrives with a better and more impressive DTS-HD MA soundtrack which makes great use of the surround speakers. Discrete effects pan and fly around in the rears effortlessly, creating a highly-amusing soundscape during the many gory bloodbaths. Quieter scenes don't display much activity, but a few atmospherics in the distance can be lightly heard to expand the soundfield from time to time. Certainly, action sequences are the real highlight however.
The lossless mix also displays an excellent and very wide front soundstage with great, fluid movement between the channels. Dynamic range is expansive with sharply-rendered upper and mid frequencies which keep the roaring, death-defying scenes engaging and crystal clear. Low bass delivers powerful depth and punch to explosions, sudden action and the musical score. Dialogue is well-prioritized and intelligible amid all the chaos and commotion, making this an enjoyable high-rez track.
This 3D Blu-ray edition of 'Final Destination 5' comes with the same set of bonus features found on the 2D release, minus the third disc carrying only a 3D version of the horror movie, a preview for 'Green Lantern 3D' and a promo for other 3D titles from Warner Bros.
The fifth installment of the 'Final Destination' horror franchise proves to be a surprisingly better movie than it rightly should. Long-time followers will likely be pleased the filmmakers have taken the death sequences back to generating a suspenseful buildup rather than just providing random displays of gruesome bloodbaths. This 3D Blu-ray edition of the movie arrives with a great-looking 3D presentation and even better audio. Supplements remain the same as its 2D counterpart, but the overall package makes a decent purchase for those needing some 3D material.