Here’s the trailer for Final Destination 5, the sequel everyone’s been waiting for. Take that, Dark Knight Rises!
(Note that it won’t embed. There were some issues with earlier copies of the trailer being leaked yesterday, so they were pulled. Because if any intellectual property needs protection, it’s a free, 2-minute ad for a movie you’re trying to promote. Good not to let that out into the wild where everyone can see.)
OK, first things first: they’re stepping onto sensitive territory here with the opening scene. Now, I know that some bullshit five-quel horror flick isn’t going to be too strict with its research, but that is not how LASIK works. You don’t just walk into the doctor’s office and get laid down under the laser. LASIK is known for its relative ease and speed compared to other medical procedures, but it’s still surgery. There’s staff involved, and eye preparation, and such. A doctor isn’t just going to slap on an eye speculum and start up the laser. If you find a doctor that does this, report him.
Now, onto the “deathtrap” portion: I’ve worked with two different brands of surgical laser before, and various versions therein. None has had a voltage meter that rises to gigawatt levels, and even if they did, they wouldn’t be adjustable to “kill” mode. This isn’t Goldfinger.
“You expect me to talk?”
“No, Mr Bond; I expect you to see clearly!”
Now, I’m not under the delusion that I think people believe that this could actually happen in surgery. But I am concerned about people who, while acknowledging the ridiculousness, will ask if something slightly less ridiculous could happen. Like, maybe their head wouldn’t melt, but could their eye explode?
ANSWER: No. Nothing like that has happened, could happen, or will happen. It’s a small laser; there’s no nuclear reactor hidden inside. If you have any hangups about LASIK surgery that are anywhere close to what cruel fate befalls the woman in this trailer, let me allay your fears. THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN TO YOU.
But let’s speak to a larger issue: the Final Destination series is dumb, and furthermore, cynical and cruel. Dumb because of these damn deathtraps. There was some novelty in the first one, since it was the first one, and the idea of a horror film without a physical antagonist was (for better or worse) a noble experiment. But there are only so many ways you can kill a person via “fate” before it starts getting real dumb. We’re way past this point now: the last film had a woman being eaten alive by an escalator. Oh, sure, it was malfunctioning, but EATEN ALIVE BY AN ESCALATOR. And now? LASIK? A pommelhorse? Acupuncture? Could acupuncture possibly kill you? The well ran dry years ago; now they’re just squeezing the mud for water.
But these movies are also cynical and cruel. At the end of the last one (and I’m not bothering with a spoiler alert, because if you’re pissed off that I spoiled FINAL DESTINATION 4, you need to get out and get some sun), the heroes convene in a coffee shop to recover from dodging Death. They have a happy, hopeful conversation. Then, the lead actor, Brock Youngactorman, notices that Death might not be done with them. Right then, a trailer truck veers off the road and crashes into the shop, brutally killing all the heroes. It’s all lovingly depicted in graphic detail via some CG, “x-ray style” effects that show what happens to skulls when they get run over by a ten-ton truck.
So, let’s break this down: you follow the heroes through a horrifying journey where most of their friends are killed in increasingly outlandish ways, and they come out of it alive and hopeful. What next? Mow them down. Fuck caring about a lead character; we’re just here to see them get mashed into paste by a truck. And I can’t deal with a movie like that. It’s like Hostel, and even there, someone got out alive and lessons (of sorts) were learned. Final Destination, though? It’s just violent death for the sheer fuck of it. It’s Faces of Death, but fake, so there isn’t even that lurid quality.
I’m not attacking this from a moral standpoint. I’m all for films showing bad behavior and graphic events. But to take a story with little sympathy to start with, then set that sympathy on fire and piss on the ashes is ice cold and appeals to the basest emotions of teenagers who prove to Hollywood that it doesn’t matter what’s on the screen; just make sure it explodes or gets cut in half or gets shot in the eye with a laser. The answer is two-fold. Hollywood, stop making this shit. Teenagers, stop patronizing it.
Alright, I’m done.