Publicity Stills of "Final Destination 3"
(Courtesy from Warner Bros)

Genre: Drama/Thriller/Horror
Director: James Wong
Starring: Ryan Merriman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Texas Battle, Jamie Isaac Conde, Gina Holden, Alexander Kalugin, Dustin Milligan
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: NC-16 (Some Gory Scenes)

Opening Day: 23 February 2006


Six years after the events of Final Destination (2000), Wendy (Winstead), a high school senior, has a premonition of a fatal roller-coaster accident involving herself and all her friends. When the premonition proves true, those who survive the accident are forced to deal with the repercussions of escaping their fate. But fate is not so easily thwarted, and as Wendy and Kevin (Merriman) desperately try to interpret the clues that might save lives, one-by-one their friends meet fantastically gruesome ends.

Movie Review:

Let's say you buy a ticket for a movie. Unfortunately, one of the employees left a mess in the auditorium after mopping a major spillage of coke and sprite all over the counter. Some water seeps over into an electrical plug that starts a fire, which in turn burns up to the ventilation system and starts melting some wires, sending the whole cinema wailing by the alarm. You escape by heading through the exit. Relieved by being the first to escape, you pushed open the heavy emergency door, only to knock down a scaffold outside and seeing a sledge hammer heading straight down on you.

Welcome to the world of Final Destination.

You have to possess a rather morbid sense of humor to enjoy the Final Destination films; a club I am proud to admit myself a member of. The first was a clever twist on the slasher genre, placing fortunate teenagers who created death into a neither run-nor-hide scenario. The great appeal about the Final Destination series is its creativity. Back when the original film came out, the state of horror films was rather grim. The success of Scream unleashed a stream of self-referential clones that completely left out the satirical spark responsible for Scream being so good in the first place. Final Destination was different, featuring not a masked slasher as the antagonist but rather Death itself, represented as an invisible force that could turn any elements of one's life into a potential deathtrap. While raising some interesting questions about fate and whether death could be cheated, the movie still managed to scare the bejeebers out of people. As with other great horror films, the sequels aren't as good as the original, but they're entertaining nonetheless.

This third chapter, which brings back on board its original creators (director James Wong & co-writer Glen Morgan), does justice to the formula established by its predecessors, blending together the delicate arts of thrilling an audience and devising a series of death scenes that aren't the same old thing people have seen a dozen times before in a dozen similar flicks.

Sure, this being the third round of high schoolers cheating Death only to feel its wrath, Final Destination 3 does show a little wear and tear within the story. The discussions of fate and the nature of death seem more than ever like filler designed to tide the audience over until the next kill scene. The death setups begin to reveal their familiar structure, as if a musician were performing the same piece over and over, well enough to be appreciated but still a bit on the tiring side. Things that make the third installment more easily digested than its predecessors: the best high tension build up to the disaster opening sequence of the series which introduce the characters with economy and generated suspense before and during the doomed roller coaster ride, actors for whom acting school is not uniformly recommended, dialogue that is sometimes not laughable, and an ending that (finally) doesn't cheat. Then, of course, there are the deaths, which are a delicious mixture of red herrings and deviousness. The fun with these isn't figuring out who is going to get it, but how they're going to get it. James Wong approaches the moment of maximum bloodletting with a macabre sense of humor. Final Destination 3 replaces the unintentional chortles of its predecessors with intentional humor, and that's to its benefit.

Still, I was not let down by Final Destination 3. On the contrary, the return of James Wong and Glen Morgan, the guys who helped craft the first film was a pleasant comeback. They took to their duties as horror maestros with only a few hiccups. And the deaths are as grimly inventive and outrageously gory as ever (note: you might not want to go through a fast food drive-thru after seeing this movie); the pacing is kept at a tight level; and the characters are actually sympathetic.

The recommendation for this film is as easy as they come. If you're a Final Destination fan, it's unlikely that #3 will disappoint. If you like horror/thrillers with plenty of cartoonish blood and gore, this will hit the spot. Unless Death takes an extended vacation, we're likely to get another one of these in a couple of years. Though imperfect and at times a bit restrained in comparison to the other titles in its series (the epic car pileup in FD2 is a hard act to follow), Final Destination 3 emerges as a slick, tense horror film that proves not all sequels stink. I believe it's sure to please most genre fans. Based on the box office tallies of the first two pictures and the expected gross of this one, it's unlikely that this series will be heading its final destination.

So now will you excuse me, there’s a thunder storm approaching and I smell something burning in the kitchen.

Movie Rating:

(Reinventing a new breed of horror series, FD3 has yet again injected paranoia into everyone where death could be waiting anywhere and anytime. What fun!)

Review by Lokman B S

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