People who know me know that I know comedy. I like a good joke but, as anyone can tell you, a joke has a lifespan. There is a very limited number of times you can hear a joke and have it still be funny. This is true for other concepts too, and when you try to extend the lifetime of an idea or concept you need to work hard to keep it fresh, otherwise you end up as that guy who always tells the same tired old joke and wonders why no one laughs anymore.
Breaking away from the events in the first two movies (FD1 and FD2), Final Destination 3 (2006) introduces a whole new batch of teenage victims who are all out at an amusement park one night. Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is the one this time who freaks out after she has a terrifying vision of a roller coaster crash killing all her friends, several of her classmates, and herself. Her panicked screams get her and some of the gang removed from the coaster right before it crashes exactly as she saw in her vision.
The story then unfolds as predictably as you’d imagine with each of those who were supposed to be on the roller coaster getting killed off in the sequence they would have died had they remained on the ride in funny and convoluted ways. Wendy figures out quite quickly what’s happening to the survivors but has a hard time convincing them that they’re in any danger, with the exception of Kevin (Ryan Merriman) who learns of the crash of Flight 180 (as featured in the first film) and works with Wendy to save the others.
As they work through the list of people who weren’t killed in the crash they discover that the photographs Wendy was taking that night for the class yearbook indicate how death is going to get those who dodged their fate on the coaster. Each of the pictures contains a subtle hint as to how the kids are going to die so Wendy and Kevin try to use that information to protect their friends, but not everyone is convinced that Wendy is actually trying to help…
The first couple of films in the Final Destination series were fun little horror films that presented just the right amount of gory deaths of annoying teenagers in ways that were highly entertaining to watch, sadly though the third outing fails to live up to the standard set by it’s predecessors.
The best way to describe Final Destination 3 is to compare it to a joke that was hilarious the first time you heard it, was still pretty funny when you heard it again, and was then just flat out irritating every time you heard it after that, to the point where if you were down the pub and someone started telling that joke you’d be forced to punch them in the face in order to stop them uttering another fucking word. For a film where American teenagers are killed one after the other for ninety minutes, it’s actually really boring.
The main reason for this seems to be that the film-makers ran out of ideas for the methods of death. In the first two films the ways the victims were dispatched involved quite long and intricate set ups all of which could be spotted long before they hit, but were fun because they could go any which way and the victim was not always obvious. In Final Destination 3, the deaths are nothing special. A couple of people get crushed, a girl gets a nailgun to the head, there’s a car crash, all in all nothing highly original or particularly funny. There is an exception to this that comes early on in the film where a couple of bimbo types are killed in tanning booths that required the long lead in style that was present in the earlier films but it’s inclusion only serves to highlight how lacking the rest of the movie is.
The effects in Final Destination 3 are lacking too and seem to have been the victim of a reduced budget, which is nothing unusual for a second sequel. The performances aren’t great though Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Wendy did a good job and managed to carry a lot more of the film then she really had to.
Final Destination 3 was always going to struggle to be as good as parts one and two but it could have been saved if only it’s makers had bigged up the core element of the franchises premise, that of how the deaths work. After that, they could have upped the comedy or the frights, neither of which they did, making Final Destination 3 a poor addition to the series.
Two Thumbs Down for Final Destination 3.