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‘Final Destination 5’ in Theaters Today; Thrilling 3-D Sequel Does Franchise Proud

The Final Destination franchise has been a thriller mainstay over the last several years.  Known for its overtly gory portrayal of what happens when death feels cheated, fans of the movie have come to expect — literally —  eye-popping, gut-busting scenarios of bizarre ways to die.

Now, Final Destination 5 in 3-D is set to hit theaters today, Aug. 12.

“You never expect to make another movie in any franchise and you have to earn it,” said the movie’s director and 3-D expert, Steven Quale (Avatar).  “We worked extremely hard to make the fourth one and it was successful enough to for us to make this one. We have done better than the fourth and you want to have something that is a complete and satisfying experience and this one is with the twists we have at the end.”

FD5 introduces a new set of unsuspecting characters (Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell,  Miles Fisher, Arlen Escaparta, David Koechner P. J. Byrne, Ellen Wroe, and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), all coworkers headed for a corporate retreat, whom inadvertently start the clock ticking toward their gruesome expiration dates. But their dates with death in this installment aren’t as straightforward as it sounds; they’re presented with a way out … and it’s not an easy choice.

“It’s the first time that a character himself becomes an agent of death, it’s always been this supernatural spirit … it’s totally a new dynamic,” said Fisher (“Mad Men,” “Gossip Girl”)

The film’s team did a superb job of giving you just enough gore to maintain the theme of the franchise this go ’round without causing you to bolt from your seat in horror.  In fact — with all the edge-of-seat misdirects FD5 threw at you, the reactions were more like “bring it on!” and evoked tension-releasing laughter.

“How these people meet their demise allows a valid humor to make it that not-so-overwhelming brutal. I wanted it not be campy humor,” said producer Craig Perry when asked if laughter was the response he expected.

“It’s not prolonged torture.  It’s one moment of it, and you react to it as its one short period of torture,” added writer Eric Heisserer.

The film’s cast, also including Courtney B. Vance (“Flash Forward,” “ER”) as the befuddled investigating detective and returning actor, Tony Todd (“Candyman,” “Hatchet II”) death’s bone-chiling ambassador, blended well to provide perfectly intertwined vessels for death to exact its revenge on anyone who dare make an attempt at “cheating it.”

“We had a week of rehearsal and during that week all the cast were able to get to know each other…but what was really great, risky, but really great was that we really didn’t have a chemistry [prior to that], we didn’t know if we’d like each other, but we did and it worked out really well, said Bell (“Frozen,” The Walking Dead).

“Every time I do one, I feel that that’s it, time to move on to other projects, but then all of a sudden I get another call,” said Todd, when asked why he thinks FD is so popular.  “I think people know what they’re gonna get, but they want to see it in a different way.”

If you’ve followed the Final Destination franchise up to this point, you’ll likely be thrilled by FD5’s chilling innovations and if it’s your first exposure, you’ll likely board the FD bandwagon and eagerly look forward to future installments.

“We’re all gonna die … it’s the pink elephant in the room,” said Byrne (“Dinner for Schmucks”).

And while that’s true, with FD5, you can expect an unexpected, refreshing sequence to how those deaths occur. You’ll know exactly what I’m referencing once you check it out.