Review: ‘Final Destination 3’

Another satisfactory installment from the supernatural snuff film franchise.

After another high school senior event and another premonition, a little over a half dozen young adults find their lives spared when they heed a bizarre warning of a screaming girl at the last minute. But just because our so-called heroes have cheated Death out of his reap doesn’t mean he’s given up on them, and the longer you hold out, the more gruesome a fate he cooks up.

In a similar vein to long-running horror franchises, this is one concept which technically never gets old. “Death” is a force of nature, a necessary evil, and it’s got a sense of humor. Bored with taking people when it’s their time, Death terrorizes someone by letting them see it coming, then greedily and gleefully stalks the survivors one by one, giving filmmakers and script writers the chance to come up with clever acts of fate ending in twisted, bizarre deaths. Okay, this isn’t for everyone, but those in the know who like their horror served up R-rated and over-the-top, Final Destination 3 delivers (and yes, Tony Todd makes his usual presence known).

To compare this installment to the first two, the opening isn’t anywhere as entertaining as the now-infamous logging truck setup from the second film. In fact, the roller coaster sequence almost disappoints due to some rushed CGI and lack of practical effects; in the filmmakers defense, it was also the hardest scene to realize on screen but could have been done better. Fortunately, things pick up shortly after that, and as the truth slowly starts to sink into the heads of our underdeveloped and doomed characters, interesting concepts and a handful of hilarious quotes turn up (and a little gratuitous nudity for all you 80’s horror aficionados… you know who your are).

In the end, the concept remains untarnished: Rube Goldberg returns from the dead to once again invisibly implement whatever Death happily dreams up with anything at hand, from a hardware store full of deadly things on high shelves to a Revolutionary War festival complete with fireworks, artillery, and other fast-moving and pointy objects. While rotoscope CGI and full-body digital scans has almost replaced practical effects nowadays, it does make for some rather sticky scenes viewed after the kill to drive the point home. After all, you wouldn’t really want to kill off the actors and actresses, would you? On second thought, don’t answer that.

(a three skull recommendation out of four)

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