Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Kris Lemche, Harris Allan
Running time: 115 mins
High school senior Wendy Christenson (Winstead) has a premonition about the roller-coaster that she and her friends are about to go on, in which they all die when the ride malfunctions. Put off the ride, she and some others steer clear of it but the rest, including her boyfriend, get on and suffer the predicted fate. When those that escaped also start to suffer apparently random horrific deaths it’s up to Wendy and her late boyfriend’s best mate Kevin to warn the survivors and try to beat Death.
The third instalment differs in the concept from the first two films where the heroine had premonitions as to how each of the group would be killed off – here she does have signs before deaths occur (flickering lights aplenty), but she is also aided by the magical camera whose pictures give (more often than not useless) clues about how the next victim will meet his or her end. This stands out as the main difference from the previous two films, although it really doesn’t seem a large enough difference to justify making a new instalment.
Since the film revisits the identical idea of an angry fate chasing those who dare to evade it, again thanks to the heroine’s pesky premonition, screenwriters Wong and Glen Morgan have decided that this time, there’s no need for the characters to go to the trouble of piecing together the puzzle of why the deaths are occurring. Instead, the mystery is removed within twenty minutes because Kevin learns about the incidents depicted in the first film by looking on the internet. This doesn’t really give a storyline anywhere to go and so the film doesn’t bother having one – the final hour consists of Kevin and Wendy running around trying to warn the stubborn victims-to-be of their grisly fates and the grisly fates being realised. Occasionally there’s the odd attempt to throw in some explanation, such as a tasteless reference to 9/11. Characterisation doesn’t get a look-in either – everyone is just fodder to be disposed of.
That said, the appeal of Final Destination films isn’t really the plot, characterisation or structure (even though the first two did much better in those areas than the current instalment), but the sadistic pleasure of watching thoughtless stock stereotypes of jocks, Goths and blonde bimbos die inventive and gruesome deaths. In that respect, Final Destination serves its purpose reasonably well. Gyms, firework displays and tanning parlours are among the places in which the predicted (and predictable) demises occur, each of the set pieces well-executed with Wong building up the tension successfully.
Final Destination 3 is only worth watching for the guilty ‘pleasure’ of seeing well-conceived deaths of two-dimensional characters. By now it’s clear that the series has run out of new ideas, and hopefully its makers will take its title literally at last.
Your next clue can be found in an interview with Corrie's Michelle