We’re in the home stretch of EW’s Summer Movie Body Count, our brave attempt to provide a coherent catalogue of every onscreen death in a major release during Hollywood’s blockbuster season. Fortunately for us overworked, underpaid obituarists at PopWatch HQ, Week 15 was dominated by a film that could practically be titled Body Count: The Movie: Part 5. Did the latest entry in the Final Destination series fall victim to the Curse of the Fivequels? Read on… (Warning: Spoilers for 5inal De5tination, 30 Minutes or L5ss, and The H5lp follow…)
Final Destination 5 (henceforth 5inal) provides us with a difficult statistical anomaly: How do you count people who die twice onscreen, when both deaths are extraordinarily vivid, gory, and hilarious?
Our general policy has been to discount any deaths that result in resurrections, since the net result is neutral — and, as we learn in 5inal, the Grim Reaper doesn’t really care who dies, so long as he meets his monthly quotas. But the deaths in 5inal are so gloriously over-the-top that it seems positively criminal not to include all of them. So, in the spirit of Mandi Bierly’s “Horcrux Harry Exception,” we’ll only count same-person deaths in 5inal if the two deaths are different. Which means that even though we saw 16 bystanders fall to their death twice in the bridge collapse that begins the movie, we’ll only count them once, since they didn’t benefit from any premonitions (like the main cast) and escape to die another day. (A news report actually indicates that 86 people died, but I can only tell you what I saw; perhaps due to the budgetary restraints, there were only a little over a dozen digital people on the otherwise surprisingly-well-animated collapsing bridge.)
However, we saw everyone in the main cast die twice. Their first deaths came on the collapsing bridge. The lovely Candice, the douchey Isaac, and the punky Olivia all fell to their deaths, while gasbag boss Dennis was burnt alive (after which he also fell to his death). David had a metal pipe jammed straight through his face, and since actor Miles Fisher bears an uncanny resemblance to young Tom Cruise, it was kind of like seeing the directors’ cut alternate ending for Risky Business. The film’s prognosticator protagonist wasn’t safe, either; Sam was somehow sliced in two by falling metal pipes.
They all escaped the collapsing bridge, but they couldn’t escape the Grim Reaper. Although, in this film, Death didn’t really need much help. I happened to see 5inal with my colleague Keith Staskiewicz, and we noticed something kind of funny about the fatalities in the movie: Almost all of them are actually caused by criminal negligence and a basic breakdown in infrastructure, to the extent that Final Destination 5 feels less like the teen horror movie that started the franchise and more like an unsubtle portrait of a nation in the process of decay. Exposed wires, technology that doesn’t meet safety standards, windows that break entirely too easy. Actually, do you know what causes the bridge collapse at the start of the movie? A gust of wind. Wind! The bridge was actually undergoing “construction” at the time, but no doubt the contractors got a sweetheart deal from some government fat cat at City Hall if they hired non-union laborers and cut down on building costs. We used to make s— in this country, build s—. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket. Re-elect Frank Sobotka!
Anyways, here’s how the deaths panned out:
—Candice died doing a gymnastics routine, thanks to a combination of a faulty air conditioning system, some primordial gym equipment that was old when Dominique Moceanu was born, exposed wiring, and her own terribleness at gymnastics. She somehow broke her spine backwards, in an accidental imitation of a scene from John Carpenter’s The Thing. This is a tangent, but is anyone else excited for the 2012 Olympics?
—Isaac died during an acupuncture session, although the little blades didn’t kill him, and the fire caused by body oil and a candle didn’t kill him. No, Isaac died after his head was crushed by a statue of the Buddha, clearly a reactionary metaphor portraying America’s concern over the economic rise of the emerging economies.
–Olivia died during laser-eye surgery, although again, the surgery wasn’t really the problem. Sure, the doctors’ office didn’t follow basic safety protocols and left a water cooler right next to a faulty electric conduit; sure, the doctor didn’t closely monitor a procedure that could have resulted in brain implosion. But the problem was actually that Olivia tripped over a teddy bear eye and fell out of a window. Darned cheap imitation safety glass!
–Union leader Roy died on the job with a hook through his head. His boss, a college kid who never worked a day in his life, was then allowed to live out the rest of Roy’s life. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, am I right, comrades?
–But in modern-day America, life’s no picnic for middle management. Ray was killed in the same factory, immediately after announcing that his office was closing and he lost his job. It was just like Death of a Salesman, except totally stupid.
—Agent Block was killed by Peter. I may be wrong, but I think Block is the first policeman in the Final Destination franchise to actually try to investigate the murders. He lived a sad life.
—Peter was stabbed by Sam with a big kitchen implement.
—In a great twist that made the movie seem much funnier in hindsight than it actually was, it turned out that the plane that Sam and Molly were flying to Paris was actually the plan that blew up back in Final Destination 1. This makes 5inal a period piece for the year 2000. We saw Molly get split asunder by the plane’s wing, Sam burn alive (along with two other people — again, we’re just counting onscreen deaths here, so not the whole plane).
–In an ending that seemed like a vague reference to Donnie Darko, Nathan got crushed by the plane engine.
So there you have it gang — a total of 34 deaths in the film. Combined with one actual death in 30 Minutes or Less — people who seemed to be dead were actually shown to be alive in a post-credits scene — and no actual onscreen deaths in The Help (despite a nasty tornado), that brings our new total to an incredible 745 deaths for the summer. Between this weekend’s Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night and next week’s Colombiana, will we be able to make it to four digits? Cross your fingers, and in the meantime, tell us: What’s your favorite death from the summer so far?
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