Director: Steve Quale Starring: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Time Out rating:
Since 2000, this underrated horror franchise has turned viewers into building inspectors, eyeing wobbly ceiling fans and peering into every corner for impending doom. That’s actually high praise: It’s hard to think of another modern series so attuned to the thrills of editing and craft – even with dull-as-dirt actors, the gimmick works, and a transition to 3D with the fourth chapter actually made visual sense. Meanwhile, who was Death, exactly, if not (dare to hint it) Karl Marx, chortling at our overweening love of shiny things: toasters, fast food and roller coasters?
Of course, some kills were more fun than others: If you’re already onboard this morbid train, you’ll know that humour goes a long way in releasing the tension, and Final Destination 5 scores only halfway. Kudos to the brutal dispatching of a swinish character via acupuncture spa. A gorgeous gal’s mishap at the LASIK center is less inspired; even the expensive-looking setup disaster, a bridge collapse that puts the movie’s meagre you-can’t-cheat-death plot in motion, is a bit on the witless side. Also, someone has apparently told the writers that they’d like more scenes of hand-wringing and crying; among this cast of unluckies, there is no future Jamie Lee Curtis. But you do take the film home with you – to all your own toys – and that’s what decent horror is supposed to do.