Who's In It: Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, PJ Byrne, David Koechner, Courtney B. Vance, Tony Todd
The Basics: Why mess with success? This movie follows the same formula as its FD predecessors--Sam (D'Agosto) is the temporary clairvoyant, and he is on a bus filled with his coworkers when he foresees their deaths in grisly detail. He saves them from this fate, but as we've learned from the previous movies, Death is incredibly persistent and makes sure to knock the people on his list off anyway. This movie comes with some surprises, though…so will anyone make it through to the end?
What's the Deal: These movies are starting to cross over into pure genius territory with their ever-evolving sense of self awareness and addition of 3D. I have always liked the franchise because after a long work week of phone calls, meetings, traffic, and washing the dishes, I just want to watch people get killed in horrible, creative ways. That's all these movies deliver, along with some decent giggles and a little gooseflesh from Tony Todd's creepy stares. The effects and convoluted kills have gotten consistently better and crazier, and there are some real doozies here. NOTE: If you have a Lasik appointment scheduled anytime soon, or you were even considering getting it at any point in your life, skip this movie.
Why It Works For Me: Certainly in most cases I find it problematic for a movie to rely on one gimmick, but that's usually because the filmmakers try to disingenuously cram other junk in there that they think will get people invested. An example of this would be Rob Zombie's Halloween movies that try to turn Michael Myers into a character with a backstory. I don't care about his backstory--he's crazy, scary, and homicidal, and I just want to see chicks running from him. Anyway, the FD series has an honorable amount of clarity in what it's giving audiences, and it just keeps delivering. I am not sure how much more mileage they can get out of the idea, but I will keep watching them try.
But Is It The Best? I relish the opening scenes of these films. They are usually my worst fears realized, and I can never rip my gaze from them even though I know I should. The best opening scenes allow for the key players to die in varied ways. The first and third FD movies stick all of the damned in one space where there is a limited amount of things that can happen to them. The others have a creative, individualized way of raising the body count in the first ten minutes, which really gets my heart pumping. Even though the bridge scene in this movie gets an A for effort, it still doesn't hold a candle to the second movie's highway scene. Luckily, the later deaths in this film are more squirm-worthy than the previous films. It all averages out in the end. There. Aren't you relieved?