As movie critics, it is our responsibility to dissect the production, direction, writing, acting and execution of a film and then determine its overall worth. Those rules went completely out the window while watching “Final Destination 3.” Quite simply, the 17-year-old version of me would have loved this movie, and as a result, the considerably older version of me wound up doing the same. The entire movie is preposterous, of course; the series of events that triggers each death sequence requires belief in both Rube Goldbergian precision and the outer limits of chaos theory. And that is what makes them so entertaining. Everyone’s going to bite it in the end, so why not embrace fate and see exactly how death becomes them?
The events around this installment are set into motion when Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a control freak of the highest order, has a horrible premonition seconds before getting on a rollercoaster. She panics just before the ride starts, and everyone else in her “car” (which consists of five two-seat rows) is ordered to exit by the ride operators. Everyone else, including Wendy’s boyfriend and best friend, rides on, and sure enough, the coaster wrecks in the precise manner that she envisioned it, sparing none. Wendy obviously has a lot weighing on her mind – like a true teen horror movie, there are no parental figures to be found – and she finds an unlikely ally in her reluctant ride mate Kevin (Ryan Merriman), who was dating Wendy’s friend. Kevin finds a story on the internet about a group of people who stepped off of a plane before it went down in flames (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, say no more), and how each of them died in gruesomely ironic fashion. Wendy and Kevin analyze the photos Wendy shot of each survivor before the accident, in order to decipher how each will ultimately meet his maker, in the hope that they can help everyone cheat death a second time.
To the movie’s credit, for each misstep they take with the dialogue (the word “kill” is crammed into the first handful of lines with a shoehorn), it also contains a keen sense of humor. The two bimbos Ashley and Ashlyn, whose deaths are easily the most horrific of all, are hilarious in their vacuousness. When they invite Wendy, whom they would never deign to speak to otherwise, to join them at an appointment they have booked, one says to the other, “We are so nice for doing that.” Goth kid Ian (Kris Lemche) lets loose with a good come-on-you-were-all-thinking-it rant at one of the many funerals, and then tries to talk one of the supposed heroes into taking their own life in order to disrupt Death’s desire for an orderly slaughter.
James Wong, director of the first “Final Destination” and frequent “X-Files” helmer, returns for an encore, and gets his gore swerve on big time, with each death as graphic as the one before it and nary a disappointment in the bunch. The acting is what you’d expect from a bunch of lame ducks, but all you really hope for in movies like this is that none of them pull a Matthew Lillard and overdo it to the point of distraction. Thankfully, no one does, though Sam Easton’s Frankie comes dangerously close.
Between the death sequences and the gratuitous nude scene (I’ll give you one guess which characters bare all), “FD3” has everything a teenage boy could possibly want from a movie. Sure, it ain’t Oscar-winning drama, but at least this fills a need of some kind, as opposed to dreck like “Annapolis” or “When a Stranger Calls,” which was requested by no one, made for no one, and will contribute to nothing but our country’s growing landfill problem. Its charms are specific, but there is no denying that its charms exist. It’s a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?(3.5 / 5)