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 3-D 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 humor 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 meager 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.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Watch the trailer
|Release date:||Friday August 12 2011|