"You can't cheat death" is the underlying theme of the ongoing Final Destination movies. If you do escape a disaster in which you were supposed to die, Death comes looking for you and you will probably die in a horrific, ridiculous "accident." This is the sum of what we've learned after four ironically titled Final Destination movies that always render us paranoid about dying in a freak mishap for a few days after seeing one.
Just in time to give you the jitters again is the outrageous Final Destination 5, which opens today in theaters in 3D. This time the Grand Guignol opening sequence takes place on a collapsing bridge with another guy having a premonition (Will the filmmakers ever explain this spontaneous psychic power?) about the disaster and saving a few people meant to die. We all know what happens next, except this time the young adults have learned that if they kill someone else, they can steal that person's life and have Death pass over them. There is also another clever twist that makes Final Destination 5 one of the best in the long-running series.
In 2000's Final Destination—a movie that will never be used as in-flight entertainment—teenager Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has a vision of his plane exploding that is to take him and his classmates to Paris for a field trip. In the uproar, several students and a teacher get off Flight 180, which does indeed explode after takeoff. Messing with Death's design makes them fear the Reaper, especially after talking to local mortician and series plot device Bludworth (Tony Todd). Some things to fear in this entry: planes, showers, trains, crosswalks, dripping vodka, fallen electrical wires and the John Denver song "Rocky Mountain High." Final Destination is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
First film survivor Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) has wisely booked herself a padded cell at the local mental hospital in Final Destination 2 as newbie clairvoyant Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) has a vision of impending doom and blocks an onramp to a freeway just before a massive pileup. Some things to fear in this entry: freeways, prosthetic limbs, dentists, elevators, pigeons, microwaves, hospitals, panfrying, BBQs and AC/DC's "Highway to Hell." Final Destination 2 is available on DVD only.
Final Destination 3 gets rolling with Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) saving her friends from a fatal roller-coaster ride from hell at an amusement park. Wendy notices that her digital camera has distorted the pictures of the people who have gotten off the ride in a way that will predict their death. Some things to fear in this entry: amusement parks, Home Depot, fast food drive-throughs, tanning salons, the Fourth of July, working out and subways. One feature to die for in the Thrill-Ride Edition DVD is the "Choose Their Fate!" version of the movie, which allows you at key points to make a plot decision and actually change the story. In at least one instance, you can even save an annoying character from the Reaper, although you might regret it.
The Final Destination was supposed to be the final Final Destination back in 2009 until it earned more money than any of the previous ones, prompting Final Destination 5. The Final Destination was the first movie in the series to be in 3D, which is used terrifically in the opening sequence at a NASCAR race. Some things to fear in this entry: racetracks, hair salons, swimming pool drains, escalators, tow trucks, car washes and, amusingly, 3D movie theaters. The Final Destination is available on both DVD and Blu-ray with those red-and-blue anaglyph glasses included as well as a true Blu-ray 3D version, which just came out this month.