Final Destination 3

2006-07-13 10:31


A group of high school kids are enjoying a night out at an amusement park, when Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) freaks out just before they all take a roller coaster ride. She declines the ride, and a few friends join her, dooming the rest to a fatal accident. But Death isn't so easily beaten, as the surviving friends are picked off by a series of unlikely accidents.


There are three reasons to watch movies of the Final Destination 3 ilk. Most of these films succeed in at least two of the following criteria:

One: It's a great date movie. So if you've got a main squeeze it's a great excuse to get close as you grab hold of each other during the suspenseful scenes (if there are any).

Two: It's a great crowd movie. A full cinema is the best way to watch a shocker/slasher/ghoul pic. Few modern comedies elicit as much laughter as a film where the cast meet with a variety of gory ends.

Three: See who the next generation of seriously respected young actors will be. No, really. Jamie Lee Curtis is the number one teenage scream queen of all-time; Johnny Depp got gutted in Nightmare on Elm Street; Kevin Bacon sliced and diced in Friday the 13th; even Neve Campbell didn't really hit the upper B-list until Scream made a star of her.

For those who haven't yet been introduced to the franchise, Final Destination suggests that Death is a prankster, plaguing some unwitting soul with a vision just before a fatal disaster. Then it pursues all those who escaped the disaster in malicious, cruel and unnervingly entertaining ways. Believe it or not, that's the premise of every film in the series. Meaning that if you've seen one, you've seen them all - literally.

Yet FD3 is not as effective as its grandpa, the well-made and more appropriately titled Final Destination (2000), which cast a talented young Devon Sawa in the key role. In that movie, and in its sequel, the critical opening setups are fabulously crafted: In the first, a plane disaster; in the second a superbly staged road accident.

In this instalment, a roller-coaster ride goes horribly wrong, and frankly, it's not as well-staged, even if it is nasty enough to put you off the things for a while. And so the hapless Wendy ("premonition" candidate no. 3) is forced to deal with losing her boyfriend, causing a fight, and discovering that photographs she took reveal the future deaths of those who, like her, got off the ride.

Not surprisingly, Wendy cries a lot. In almost every scene in fact. You would too if you never saw your parents, or the police seemed too disinterested to even ask you why all your friends were being knocked off under such implausible circumstances. Meanwhile, Death is ever close, lurking in the shadows, occasionally switching on a wind machine, shaking some trees, or playing with electric wiring. Hell, in one scene it (he?) literally rattles some sabres. Never mind such accidental laughs - all things considered it's a weak execution. And despite its promise of freaky-factor chaos, FD3 feels more like Dawson's Creek meets Nancy Drew.

Throwing in a few buckets of blood and some bizarre CGI does not a cool thriller make, as director James Wong (Final Destination , The One) should know. The film screams along too quickly to actually colour in the character outlines, or give them parents, police, or significant adults to clog up their teenage lives.

Final Destination 3- really, that is an absurd title - is mildly entertaining, if only for its tremendously disposable value. It's the kind of thing you should gladly waste 90 minutes of your life on, because it reveals a world less real than Star Wars - a world where uncountable numbers of coincidences conspire to dispose of teenagers in the bloodiest fashion possible. So it's an ok date movie.

It's also very definitely a great crowd movie for laughs, and may have a young star in Mary Elizabeth Winstead. But you can't help thinking that they should consider renaming the franchise. Going Nowhere Slowly seems an appropriate suggestion.

- Anton Marshall

In Final Destination 3 yet another group of teenagers miraculously evades death, only to begin dying, mysteriously, one by one. But can this horror franchise sustain a third movie?

tamlyne 2006/03/12 10:39 AM
brokeback mountain brokeback mountain brokeback mountain
shahied 2006/03/29 9:24 PM
fd3 havent seen it don't really whant to ... i do not know if you noticed that recently when they do a part tree they seem to loose the the real movie like seed of chucky & urban legend, i know what you did last summer' and last but not least fredie vs jason i have never been more unhappy in my life some movies should just be left as it is that is what makes them great and let them leave a mark on the human mind but then you do a part two or mix it up with something els then you kill it rose red
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