Sunday, 28 August 2011

Final Destination 5 ? review

This occult-horror franchise has been going for a decade now, and like the Scream movies is made by and for hardline connoisseurs of the genre. The form and content are as rigid and unchangeable as a Petrarchan sonnet or a Noh play, starting with a young person having a premonition of a catastrophic accident that saves the lives of a number of people, most of them from his own circle. But the Grim Reaper is not mocked, and all the seemingly lucky ones are doomed to die with maximum gore in the order in which they survived. Each death is the culmination of a concatenation of smaller accidents, the details observed in slow motion; the pleasure provided by the films resides in the ingenuity shown by the writers and directors, and the way punishment is delivered equally to the innocent and the deserving. The latest one (the second using 3D images aggressively aimed at the audience) begins with the horrendous collapse of a packed suspension bridge over a river in New York. The eight survivors, all employees of a company about to be closed down in the current crisis, are lined up like Christie's Ten Little Indians (to use the politically correct title imposed on Dame Agatha's classic thriller in the 1960s) and then disposed of gleefully in a manner that recalls Gloucester's remark in King Lear that "as flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport".

The most extravagant quietuses involve a gymnast ending up twisted beyond unravelling, a lecherous patron of a Chinese massage parlour experiencing death by acupuncture and a falling Buddha, and an ophthalmologist's laser surgery going horribly wrong. I have to admit it appealed to my wanton inner child, though if asked to name my favourite premonition movie it would be Ealing Studios' classic Dead of Night. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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