The laugh-out-loud funniest comedy of the year (if you happen to be the Grim Reaper).
Four friends decide to watch a stock car race instead of going to the movies. When Psychic Guy tells his girlfriend that he’s just had a premonition that everyone is going to die, no one believes him (not even his friend, Womanizer Guy) until he causes a big enough commotion to practically get thrown out. Racist Guy, Tampon Woman, and Security Man all live because of Psychic Guy, but Death (in the guise of Rube Goldberg) is pretty pissed off after the last three movies, and this time, revenge will be in 3D (in select theaters.)
From the lack of names and actors portraying them, it should come as no surprise that the only star is “the Ghost of Rube Goldberg.” With a gentle breeze, he sets off leaning broomsticks into open cans of flammable liquids to pour onto heat sources, which sounds a lot like following OSHA guidelines would thwart Death more often than not. Whether it’s loose bolts, shaky ceiling fans, forgotten screwdrivers, or leaning scaffolding, nothing escapes Death’s watchful eye in creating a cringe-worthy kill. Set up, execution, repeat… except for those scenes where it’s really just a premonition. Did you expect something more from a twenty-first century snuff film?
Only the original Final Destination manged to work something akin to a clever plot into the mix. In fact, the original script of that film had a pretty good way figured out to beat Death, but the result wouldn’t exactly have been the kind of message that a conservative studio would want to push on their target teen audience. The plot to the second also picked up on the first with an actual survivor of the original (and the best opening scene of the entire series), but by the time that film had ended, the only thing that was certain was that previous survivors would die the instant they stopped worrying about how it was going to happen. Still missed Tony Todd as the visage/voice of Death in this installment, though.
But what’s wrong with a little creative chaos? If the film isn’t trying to live up to be anything more than a build-a-better-mousetrap snuff film, then why not? It’s the very definition of set ’em up and knock ’em down with an occasional “Oh! She’s very pretty… this should be gruesome!” thrown in. It isn’t Shakespeare and it certainly isn’t Oscar-worthy, but it IS imaginative, well-edited, and a foregone conclusion how it all ends. It’s a slasher-level disaster film with Fate pulling the strings before cutting the threads, and I’ll take that for my Saturday afternoon matinee over a bunch of girls with a magical pair of jeans any day.
(a two and a half skull recommendation out of four)