Final Destination 3 (2006)

11 Apr


Smith’s Verdict: **1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

It’s a neat premise, really—once you discover that Death has a design, you can cheat it. It fits right into the type of movie that Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert called the Dead Teenager Movie. You know the type—teenagers are alive in the beginning and at the end, they’re all dead (except for one, who is kept alive to return in the obligatory sequels).

The premise was used in the 2000 DTM (Dead Teenager Movie) “Final Destination,” which had fun with the theory that Death’s design can be messed with by teenagers. Its sequel, awkwardly titled “Final Destination 2,” didn’t thrill me because of its monotonous tone. Now we have “Final Destination 3,” which has the same spirit and amount of thrills and fun as the first film. The premise is about the same—the main teenager (out of many introduced along with) has a premonition of disaster that will kill many teenagers, the main teenager and a few others are stopped from doing what would have been done, the premonition comes true, but Death isn’t finished yet. It will set up many accidents (yes, I’m calling them “accidents”) that will kill off the ones who were supposed to die—not later, but sooner. About the same premise as the previous films.

Here, the heroine is named Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). With her boyfriend and his friends, she is about to board a roller coaster called “The Devil’s Flight.” But in a very convincing, frightening, and well-executed scene (better than the opening sequence in the first film, in my opinion), she has a vision that the roller coaster will go out of control and she and her friends will die. She freaks out and is let off the roller coaster, many of her classmates follow, but the roller coaster takes off and the worst occurs. But of course, it’s not over for those “lucky survivors.”

As sick as this may sound, Death is getting better at forming these accidents (shut up). But It also has a sick sense of humor. There’s one sequence in particular that will most likely frighten the audience the most—I won’t describe it but it involves two dumb blondes and tanning booths. Death shows no mercy (nor should It) and obviously neither does director James Wong. It becomes apparent that the pictures Wendy took of the surviving teenagers before the roller coaster disaster show clues revealing how they will die. To prove that, Wendy shows a friend a picture of the Twin Towers, one of which features the shadow of an airplane…

As a whole, the film isn’t quite up there with the first film, though I was frightened of the tanning booth scene and many of the other deaths that occur and I liked the characters. Mary Elizabeth Winstead shows a lot of pluck as the heroine Wendy and Ryan Merriman is equally good as her friend Kevin—their appearances and performances make up for the fact that no one from the previous two films makes an appearance. I can’t quite recommend this movie. The other characters are all high school caricatures (dumb blondes, jock, skeptic, etc.). They don’t make much of an impression—they’re just the targets of one of Death’s clever traps. And also, why is it that nobody mourns the dead teenagers? Isn’t it sad that these teenagers who have a lot to live for don’t even make it to college? I could ask where the parents are, but that’d be silly. This is a Dead Teenager Movie—it features teenagers; the parents aren’t supposed to be there.

“Final Destination 3” will please fans of the series, but I was searching for more in the premise. I might as well just watch the first movie again.

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