In what’s proved a wince-making decade for horrorheads, the Final Destination movies have come to represent a sneaky alternative, filled with the dark humor of exploding kitchen appliances and random death from above. The villain here is fate itself (plus, ahem, the anxiety of modern consumerism); the previous and best installment, Final Destination 3 (2006), even had the gall to write a semi-intelligent character for apple-cheeked heroine Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
The concept ought to thrive in 3-D—which makes this souped-up latest entry a bit of a bummer. After Nick (Campo) has a premonition of a racetrack disaster filled with multiple impalements (in your face), he spooks his pals and some strangers into fleeing the track. They all survive, but death, as ever, won’t be cheated. Frankly, these movies live and die by their kills, and though director Ellis is responsible for 2003’s witty second chapter, these sequences feel rushed and unimaginative. A salon, complete with whirring ceiling fan and sharp instruments, is his most excruciating setting, but we’ve been trained to notice omnipresent barrels of flammable material. Meanwhile, there’s nothing on the sexy level of 3’s death by tanning bed. Too many digital effects ruin the spell of a tactile world of evil objects scheming your demise. But even a mediocre FD is better than more Jigsaw.—