A student's premonition of a deadly rollercoaster ride saves her life and a lucky few, but not from death itself – which seeks out those who escaped their fate.
Roller Toaster. Final Destination the series moves into its third instalment without really changing the formula that was working for it. Here the opening disaster involves a Roller Coaster crash that is brought via a premonition to Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). As in the previous two films, the visionary and some friends get spooked and get off the coaster to find it actually does crash and a bunch of horrific deaths befall all those on board. Sure enough the survivors start being killed off in equally gruesome ways, it becomes apparent that the old grim reaper is out to claim the deaths that were denied him. The opening section of FD3 is superb, the credits roll to a back drop of various carnival/fairground attractions that offer up foreboding terror, all backed by an eerie rumbling musical score. Then the crash itself is excellently stage, so much so that anyone frightened of Roller Coasters can point to this as a reason why! Then we revert to type, the youthful cast get bumped off in more ingenious ways, with more gore and lashings of dark humour pumped up this time (the use of Love Roller Coaster by The Ohio Players is genius). The narrative drive this time involves photographs, which is a nice touch and overcomes the triteness of some dialogue exchanges. It's a safe entry in the series, and it boasts in Winstead the best young lead actress of the whole franchise. As with all horror films - franchises, some will love it and some will hate it, but ultimately it really does exactly what the previous two films did. So if a fan of those then this does a good job as well. The 2 disc DVD comes with a delightful choose their fate option, which with a bit of playing around gives you a slightly different version of the film. While it is recommended you turn up your home cinema systems for the Roller Coaster segments. 7/10
In short, not a very exciting movie. It was not at all as good as the previous ones. Not that this was very surprising of course since the general consensus on the web seems to be that 1 & 2 are quite good, 3 & 4 not so much while the 5th is supposed to be back in shape. Unfortunately, in this 3rd installment it seems that the producer took some shortcuts and produced the all to common teenage splatter movie. That is, do not bother about spending time on a decent script nor any acting capabilities to talk about. Replace all that with some wiggling boobs and behinds to appeal to the not too intelligent part of the teenage movie going audience, kill of a few of the bearers of said boobs and behinds at regular intervals in an increasingly goory and spectacular way and you’re done. I kind of like the goory and violent bit, it’s supposed to be a horror movie after all, but I would prefer that it was strung together in something that at least can be said to be semi-intelligent way. Well, you cannot have a film collection if you do not have all the films in a series can you? So I cannot say that I regret buying the set but I do not think this one will go up on the films to re-watch list any time soon.
***Decent, but now formulaic entry in this 'Dead Teenager' series*** The first "Final Destination" movie in 2000 was a rather innovative 'Dead Teenager Movie' in that the killer was Death itself, as an invisible spirit. A group of people, mostly teens, escape a great tragedy due to a premonition of one of them and the rest of the movie involves the Grim Reaper systematically slaying the kids who cheated Death in various creative ways, usually an unlikely chain of events. The opening tragedy in the first film was a plane crash, in the second it's a horrible highway pile-up while in this third entry it's a rollercoaster mishap. All of the movies in the five-film franchise tell the same basic story with different characters and minor nuances; all of them are of the same high quality of technical filmmaking. Whether you prefer one or another depends on your preference for cast members and the death sequences (and the locations). Other than these factors they're all basically the same. Released in 2006, "Final Destination 3" has a quality doe-eyed heroine or 'final girl' in Mary Elizabeth Winstead. There are some other worthy female cast members, like Alexz Johnson, Chelan Simmons, Crystal Lowe and Amanda Crew. These five ladies represent perhaps the best assortment of women in the series yet. While it’s true that you know exactly how this film plays out if you've seen the first two installments, or any of them, there are some highlights beyond the female cast. For instance, the rollercoaster accident is thrilling and rings true in light of real-life mishaps at amusement parks. There’s also a horrifying tanning booth death sequence, which was done better in “Urban Legends: Bloody Mary” from the previous year (2005). Another death scene occurs at a warehouse where two of the protagonists work. I also liked how an extended sequence outside the teens’ school takes place in the rain, which shows attention to detail (or making the best of a rainy day during shooting, whatever). For me, what makes these movies kinda dull is the fact that it's impossible to cheat Death. Sure, you can escape it here or there, but Death's been in business for millennia and expertly knows what he's doing. As such, everyone's gonna die except maybe the 'final girl,' who will most probably die in the sequel. In case you’re interested, there's an interesting 20-minute documentary about "Dead Teenager Movies" on the 'extras' disk with Roger Ebert being a highlight. The film runs 93 minutes and was shot in the Vancouver area, as were all the Final Destination flicks, except the fourth one. GRADE: C+/B-