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5 Reasons ‘Final Destination 5’ is the Franchise’s Best Sequel

FINAL DESTINATION 5 via New Line

In a world where most franchises are dead by part 5, Final Destination is the exception.

Much like he did in 1984, Wes Craven reinvented the slasher sub-genre with Scream in 1996, which has to be considered one of horror’s biggest game-changers. The meta masterpiece undoubtedly paved the way for a whole new crop of teen slasher flicks, but the reality is that most of the films that came in the wake of Scream didn’t exactly bring anything new to the table. For the most part, they were Scream copycats; but not all slashers of the time were created equal.

Released in 2000, Final Destination doesn’t ever really get enough credit for being, at the time, the most inventive slasher film since Scream. Created by Jeffrey Reddick, the film’s killer wasn’t a masked maniac but rather the unseen force of the Grim Reaper himself, coldly restoring death’s natural design like an invisible Jason Voorhees. It’s that core idea of quite literally turning death into a horror icon that separated James Wong’s directorial debut from the pack, feeling fresh despite having all the familiar tropes and hallmarks of all the other slashers hitting theaters.

Eleven years after the franchise began, it ended with Steven Quale’s Final Destination 5. And if you’re asking me, it was the franchise’s finest hour. Here are five reasons why.


final-destination-5-bridge

1) THE OPENING SEQUENCE

The Final Destination franchise is of course known for its opening premonition sequences, which brilliantly allow us to watch all the characters get brutally killed… before the characters actually get brutally killed; because why wait, am I right?! While Final Destination 2‘s highway disaster may be the most iconic of those opening sequences (and certainly the one that made us all a bit more careful in our daily lives), Final Destination 5‘s may be even better.

En route to a company retreat, one of the employees has a premonition of the North Bay Bridge collapsing and causing the brutal deaths of his co-workers, and it’s one of the brilliantly conceived, over-the-top gruesome, and batshit crazy sequences in the history of horror. It’s clear that the intent of the sequence was to one-up anything previously seen in the franchise, and oh boy does it ever; at nearly 5-minutes long, it’s also the longest disaster sequence in the entire series. Thanks to some incredible visual effects and one of the best uses of 3D you’ll ever find in the horror genre, it’s a mind-blowing sequence you’d expect to find in a movie with a much bigger budget than Final Destination 5 actually had. And that’s a serious compliment.


final-destination-5-gymnast

2) INVENTIVE DEATH SCENES

Perhaps more than any other horror franchise, Final Destination is one entirely built around crazy death scenes, and Final Destination 5 has some of the series’ best; the death of the gymnast, seen above, is one of the cruelest and hardest-to-watch kills you’ll find in any franchise horror movie. But it’s not just that the fifth installment’s death sequences are satisfying in the gore department; what really makes them so effective is how they build to that brutality.

Using the standout gymnast death as an example, several minutes are spent building up suspense and making you wonder how she’s going to meet her end, and you can tell that the filmmakers had a lot of fun setting those stages, subverting expectations, and making us wait for the payoffs. You know something really bad is about to happen but you don’t know what or when, and though that’s true of the Rube Goldberg-esque death scenes throughout the franchise, Final Destination 5 really took the edge-of-your-seat, almost agonizing suspense to a whole new level.

As for the laser eye surgery scene, let’s just say I’ll be sticking with contacts.


gore

3) SO. MUCH. GORE.

I suppose #2 pretty much covered this one, but I do want to mention how much better the gore effects are in Final Destination 5 than a lot of the stuff on display in the previous installment. Final Destination 4 was a low point in the franchise in terms of gore, as CGI was used as a crutch rather than an aide. In Final Destination 5, however, a blend of practical effects and mostly impressive visual effects make all that carnage fun again. Even the late Roger Ebert, never a big fan of horror movies, couldn’t help but praise the film’s gore, writing in his review that “the special effects do an excellent job of beheading, incinerating, vivisecting, squishing and so on.”

Indeed they do, Mr. Ebert. Indeed they do.


tony-todd-final-destination-5

4) NEW MYTHOLOGY FOR THE WIN

For at least the first few installments, the Final Destination films established and added rules to the overall mythology of Death’s design and how to defeat it. The first film, for example, suggested that you can skip death by intervening in the demise of the next victim on the chopping block, while the second one played with the idea of a new life being the cure for death. But as the series got longer in the tooth, it mostly ceased the mythology expansion; the fourth installment was essentially a rehash of what we’d already seen before. But Final Destination 5 once again proved itself to be superior to the previous sequels, adding a really interesting new layer to the concept.

As explained by Tony Todd’s ever-present coroner, the film introduced the idea that killing another person can get Death off your back, so to speak, giving you the opportunity to inherit the life of the person you killed. It was a new tweak to the formula that again made Final Destination 5 feel fresher than the other installments, allowing for a decidedly dark final act that was way different than anything we had previously seen in the franchise. For the fifth installment of any horror franchise to feel even a little bit fresh is, needless to say, a pretty impressive achievement.


Final Destination, courtesy of New Line

5) WHAT A TWIST!

The most brilliant aspect of Final Destination 5 is the finale, where it’s revealed that the events of the film we just watched, contrary to what we believed the whole way through, took place in the year 2000… making it a prequel to the original Final Destination. Going back and re-watching the movie, there are little hints here and there that it’s not taking place in the present day, but the first time I saw it, I was completely blown away by the big reveal and how cleverly hidden the whole prequel aspect was. The film ends with the two survivors getting on a plane, which turns out to be the very same plane that exploded in mid-air in the beginning of Final Destination; clever editing even puts the characters from that film into the same scene with the new characters.

And it was damn good to see Devon Sawa back on the big screen, if only for a second.

Final Destination 5‘s finale is one of my favorite twist endings of all time, and it so perfectly wraps up the entire franchise and puts a nice bow on it. As much as I’d love to see the franchise someday re-animate and continue onward, it’s impossible to think of a more perfect end-cap than what Final Destination 5 delivered. It just feels so right. And it’s so very satisfying.

As far as I’m concerned, Final Destination 5 is THE Final Destination sequel.

Final Destination 5 3D - poster



COMMENTS

48 Comments
  • Satanzilla

    Never really got these movies. They aren’t very scary or suspenseful — seems more sadistic than anything else.

  • I agree. The first and fifth are my favorites. And the twist? Awesome.

  • Justin Demers

    Excellent read!

    I completely agree with you, but for me, Final Destination 3 was my favourite, followed by 5, then 2,1 and the worst is 4.

    I’ve never was able to see 3D at all in my life, I mean at all, my eyes just couldn’t see 3D what so ever, but boy when hubby & I went out of town and watched Final Destination 5 in 3D (only option was 3D), it was the first time ever I seen anything pop out of a screen while wearing glasses, and what a f**king treat it was to see body parts and blood pop out at me. I was so impressed! Experience of a life time for me. 🙂

    and since then, haven’t been able to see 3D at all since then. lol

    • John Connor

      I don’t understand if you can’t see 3D then how could you have seen the movie in 3D?

      • John Wolf

        If you read, AND comprehend, he answers your question here, “I went out of town and watched Final Destination 5 in 3D (only option was 3D), it was the first time ever I seen anything pop out of a screen while wearing glasses,”

        This indicates he was ONLY ever able to visually experience 3D on the silver screen in that one moment. He was clear enough, albeit grammatically wrong, but it’s the internet, who cares LOL.

        His conclusion, “…and since then, haven’t been able to see 3D at all since then ”

        You must not read often and likely read news headlines being duped by the sensationalism.

        • John Connor

          “I’ve never was able to see 3D at all in my life, I mean at all, my eyes just couldn’t see 3D what so ever”

  • billbixby219

    I love, love, love the FD franchise, especially 3/4/5. I thought the roller coaster scene, the Nascar scene and the bridge scenes (and follow up deaths) were all glorious on the big screen and through multiple viewings at home. I, for one, can’t wait for a 6th.

  • EvilHead1981

    No arguments with FD5 being the best sequel. Hell, I enjoyed it more than the first one. I’ve never been shy in saying that I was never a fan of the “MTV/CW Horror” of the late 90s-majority of the 00s, and a lot of the FD movies were like that. I found the first one tolerable. FD2 had annoying characters, FD3 a step up (yet still below the first one), and TFD was pure and utter bullshit. How they were able to rebound from THAT to make FD5 (which again, i liked the MOST) totally wowed me. Way to end (or begin, hehehe) on a high note!

  • IfYouSeeKaye

    truth is,only 1/2/5 are good,I pretend that 3/4 never existed.

    • I agree. 4 was the worst hot garbage and 3 was such a disappointment with Wong back in the director’s chair.

      • Khy

        My main issue with 3 was that you could tell they said “Story? Characters? Fuck that shit”. Which was disappointing considering Wong and Morgan were back in charge. FD3 was literally a gorier and flashier remake of FD1 yet lacking the intense atmosphere and character development it had. I expected more from those guys.

        Though I still watch FD3 simply because it’s dumb fun and the deaths are pretty cool at least. It’s good for a quick fix.

  • G.A. McGillivray

    I just re-watched all 5 of these two weeks ago. I hadn’t seen them since part 5 came out on DVD a long time ago. Overall, the series is pretty consistent. When in one movie though – people start having the premonitions of every death, seeing clues to how it will happen – at first I was a little disappointed, but it actually wasn’t too bad as it added another layer at the death scene to try and figure out what was going to happen.

    And some of the red herrings throughout the series were pretty smart. Won’t ruin anything but when the mom goes to get her haircut and takes her kids, that was a fun 10 minutes.

    Ok, the best death scene of all 5 movies IMO: With all of them fresh in my mind, it is the Sun Tan booths. At least the gymnast didn’t have to suffer very long 🙂

    Regardless, great series, happy to have them.

  • Khy

    Final Destination 5, Final Destination, and Final Destination 2 is a solid trilogy. I still need to do a triple feature of all three.
    Final Destination 3 and The Final Destination are more like wacky spin-offs.

    • DBZEROGRAVITY

      nailed it

    • oh_riginal

      Totally agree except I still keep it as one, two, and five to maintain the twist (yeah, I know, if I’ve seen it already, it’s not a twist technically.)

      I do have a soft spot for three, but only for Mary Elizabeth Winstead. That girl can do no wrong in my eyes.

  • jackstark211

    I just watched the opening to the 5th one. What a treat. I was laughing my ass off.

  • marklola12 .

    for me 2 and 5 are the best ones….1 was ok but a bit crappy tbh rewatching it, hate hate hate part 3

    • Saturn

      3 is definitely the weakest of the series – but I still enjoy it enough (probably due to a certain Goddess among women called Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

  • Elizabeth

    The opening to the second film literally did change the way I drive on highways. I *refuse* to stay behind trailers loaded with pipes or anything impale-y. I’ll risk a ticket just to get around them. I don’t care.

  • ivan

    FD5 is horrible, only slightly better than TFD, idk what movie everyone watched.
    FD3 is easily the best in every aspect.

    • TheDarkShape

      Um, I really like FD3, but you’re crazy on the other point.

  • One of the funnest movies ever.

  • DBZEROGRAVITY

    this one is my favorite in the series, it’s just all around fun

  • Rohan Sorensen

    Anyone else think that the gymnast stepping on the screw was worse than the actual death?

    • Sukochi_tokyo

      i have the exact feeling everytime i watch it! standing on the stabby screw!!! always gets me going ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!’

  • ChasingTheGhost

    2 and 5 remain my favorites of the series. Reading this article makes me wanna breakout the dvd.

  • disqus_uPh3WDxbQy

    I’d rate the series upon first viewings as:
    Part 1 (The whole movie had me at the edge of my seat and begging for more.)
    Part 3 (Tanning bed. Enough said)
    Part 5 (The twist ending was perfect.)
    Part 2 (Overall a fun movie but was hard to live up to the first in my opinion.)
    Part 4 (Just ok. Special effects were terrible and instead of being scary was turned into more of a horror comedy. Came off as corny.)

    • John Connor

      Part 3 was the first I saw and I really loved it.

      Then I watched the whole series in order.
      1st was the best for me, followed by 2.
      But the rules they establish made no sense and they always all die anyway, so it all felt pointless and any trying to escape death felt useless.
      So it soured part 3 for me because that did the exact same thing.
      Part 4 is just weak as shit.
      Part 5 is pretty fun though.

      I’d really like to see part 3 in the same way I saw it upon first viewing.
      I think its a strong stand-alone film if you’ve never seen the previous 2 which just sours the experience (for all sequels to follow).

  • Brian VonDerahe

    After the opening premonition, I found this movie quite boring. I had only seen one other in the series (the rollercoaster one) and couldn’t get into that one either. Maybe I need to start from the beginning and give them another go…

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    thw whole franchise is like an ridiculous comedy

  • wrestling fan 36

    Agree with everything he said but my favorite is part 2

    • Saturn

      I agree – the 2nd is my favourite of the franchise, but number 5 was pretty damn good.
      I’d be happy with more FD movies, but they’d have to put a new spin on it – with some new rules. But, if they don’t reboot the series, and we only have the 5 we have now – that’d be fine.

      • wrestling fan 36

        Yeah my top 3 is 2,5 and 1 and as aomeone else pointed out those 3 would be the perfect trilogy. As for a reboot, nah i am good with the 5 but would not complain if they made another sequel

  • Braker

    FD > FD 5 > FD2 > FD 3 > FD 4

  • Mr. Screamer

    Agreed.

  • I actually consider FINAL DESTINATION 2 to be the best of the five films,since it features several extremely sick demises,fluid and stronger characterizations,and a very different kind of finale from the rest of the other films.

  • I have to agree FD5 is the best of the series, followed by 2 and then the original. Also, the cast of FD5 made this hilarious Saved By The Bell spoof.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lNEQAXX43g

  • Sykes

    1, 2, 3, 5……………………………………………………………………………………4.

  • James Allard

    Total disclosure: I saw all 5 in the theater, dragging my youngest son along with me. Okay, not dragging, he was into it, too. I loved the car wreck (didn’t everyone?) but was ready for the “series” to stop, and when it was announced that Mr. Todd was going to be in 3, well, there we were. A little disappointed that he was just the voice of the ride (in a manner of speaking) but the roller coaster wreck was a roller coaster, and it ends with that killer (pun intended) cover of Love Train by Tommy Lee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ww3_d6iwtQ
    as well as the best use of Turn Around, Look At Me ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnkqACNnZcU EVER. Okay, the fourth film was… weak, at best, but the use of 3D was (when they weren’t throwing things at us in an effort to make us duck) pretty interesting. Like the much maligned remake of My Bloody Valentine, the film is full of moments in which we see a character in the foreground, another in the middle of the room, and a third at a distance, using the effect to, um, good effect.

    The 5th installment rocks. FUCKING ROCKS. The ending, as mentioned, is unbelievably good… so much so that when we finished watching it, my son and I ran home and watched the first four again, and the 4th (still weak) was a little better, only because we knew what was coming. Getting the 5th on disc caused a Lost Weekend, and it was worth it.

  • Walker Leonard

    I’m so glad somebody shares my love of this movie. I’ve seen it the most out of all the FD movies.

  • Sukochi_tokyo

    This franchise is a love/hate relationship for me. I will forever hate it for making me scared of flying (until then I was fine and actually enjoyed take-off), but I also love it cuz its just pure fun and gory and I love how the movies make you search for the ways they will end up getting killed. It could be an obvious death, or it could be completely obscure and random. I love these movies. 5 was an amazing sequel and that ending was WOW!

  • DarkBree

    Great article, I agree with everything you said. But I love FD3 so bad, it’s my favorite!! FD3 > FD5 > FD > FD2 > TFD

  • WhistleBleepBlip

    Such a under appreciated series in general.
    Part 1 was one of the better flicks that came out of the Scream teen horror resurgence.
    The opening sequence of Part 2 was absolutely fantastic and much like the opening sequence of Scream it could stand alone as a great short film.

    The only real dud for me was Part 4. The whole thing just felt forced and uninventive

    And yes, Part 5 was great. Keeping the prequel aspect a secret and the fact that it remained a secret was amazing. Going back and catching the subtle clues is a blast.

  • DannX68

    Completely agree. Now, I love part 1 and 2, but 3 and 4 are really lacking. Yeah yeah, SOME fun deaths, but they are not really rewatchable.

  • Halloween_Vic

    Definitely part 1&2 are my favorites, part 3&4 are not memorable so there’s that. Part 5 is good and I definitely was surprised with the finale as well and thought it was clever as hell how they pulled that off. I have to go back and re watch it since it’s been a couple of years.

  • Silhouetters

    Here’s a reason why it’s one of the worst: the acting is more atrocious than usual.
    Want another one? The narrative is all kinds of fucked.
    For a film to be good, these are the two things you need to watch out for.

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