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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.28%
Worth A Look28.13%
Average: 27.34%
Pretty Bad: 17.97%
Total Crap: 13.28%

12 reviews, 56 user ratings

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Final Destination 3
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The third time isn't the charm."
2 stars

Harlan Ellison once wrote a semi-famous essay about wandering into a Saturday-night showing of 'The Omen.' He left with a bleak view of humanity: it seems the late-night audience hooted and laughed at David Warner's notorious decapitation-by-pane-glass. What Ellison didn't get, I think, is that his fellow filmgoers weren't applauding real death; they were responding to the elaborate clockwork contrivance of a fake demise. (It's the same sourly amused reaction we have when reading the Darwin Awards.) The entire raison d'etre of the 'Omen' films, and the 'Friday the 13th' films after them, is simply this: who's gonna get it next, and how?

Anyway, Ellison would've been doubly appalled at the audience's carrying-on at a late-Friday showing of Final Destination 3, which shares the same reason for being. I enjoyed the previous entries, especially the second one, which kicked off with a truly magnificent diorama of highway catastrophe as relentless and precise as a ticking clock. Nothing in FD3 is quite so inspired, though the bit in which two topless high-school girls are trapped inside malfunctioning tanning beds has a certain cruel vigor. These movies all share a premise: a teenager has a premonition of disaster -- a plane crash (part one), a car pile-up (part deux), and, here, a rollercoaster flying off the rails -- and manages to save a few people. Those people have cheated death, and so death follows them throughout the movie, apparently quite pissed off, as none of the victims dies peacefully in his or her sleep.

Here, poor Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has the vision of impending doom, which isn't enough to save her boyfriend, but does spare the lives of several obnoxious kids and another kid (Ryan Merriman) who understands what's going on. The familiar template clicks into place: Try to convince skeptical people that they should stay away from, say, the fireworks display in the park; they ignore you; they die. Sometimes the director, James Wong, and his co-writer Glen Morgan (they initiated the series but sat out the second film) catch us leaning the wrong way: a pair of gleaming swords hanging precariously on a wall do not, as we expect, fall down and cleave someone in two; they fall harmlessly, cutting something else, and then the guy gets it.

Whoo! Man, that had to hurt! And other similar things one says at movies like this. As a parade of intricate carnage, Final Destination 3 delivers, though by now the novelty -- for those with no sense of horror-film history, that is -- must have played itself out. Aside from Wendy, her concerned friend, and her snarky sister, we don't actually care whether any of the characters dies. Over-identification with the victims would only interfere with the gory schadenfreude, so the two tanning-bed victims are straight out of Mean Girls, the jock is a boastful knucklehead, the goth kid and his girlfriend are imperiously disdainful of Wendy and her mission, the horndog with the camcorder hits on everything female while referring to himself in the third person. Wendy's conscientious fight to keep them all alive seems a mere formality, a gesture towards morality. But nobody in the audience is there to watch people avoid death.

Final Destination 2 involved people of various ages; it wasn't only teens in peril, and each potential victim had careers, experiences, lives that were worth preserving. This one regresses the series to what Roger Ebert, back in the splatter-film '80s, dubbed the Dead Teenager genre. So the first and third movies play something like Heathers given a morbid supernatural spin. It could be that James Wong and Glen Morgan (who had a hand in The X-Files, and remade Willard to fantastic effect a few years ago) are working off some bitterness against teens; I couldn't say for sure. Their next collaboration, you might recall, was the remake of the '70s slasher flick Black Christmas.

I suspect one way to exact delayed revenge for getting shoved into your locker a lot in high school (I'm assuming Wong and Morgan, who've worked on several sci-fi series, were nerds back then) is to kill off your tormentors in movies. Better that than in real life, I guess. Would that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had waited a few years and gone to Hollywood.

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originally posted: 12/30/06 05:46:48
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User Comments

6/20/20 dupadoit best in the series 4 stars
12/19/13 Monday Morning Hideous, horribly painful deaths will never go out of style! 5 stars
7/29/12 cr a guilty pleasure of the series. still a fun movie. 3 stars
3/10/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Goofy fun 3 stars
1/11/09 Daniel Omer It has mediocre acting and gore, but the ending plain sucks. 2 stars
12/20/08 dominic thebestmovieeverandidontlie 5 stars
9/28/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
7/10/07 Total Crap Waste of my precious time. People who don't know wtf they're watching will like it. 1 stars
5/30/07 wouldntulyke2no its the best out of the 3 films but did have some plot holes 5 stars
5/12/07 Matt The best film in the t(h)rilogy. The 'choose thier fate' option on the DVD is ace. 5 stars
4/02/07 fools♫gold I guess it's good when you put it on mute. Doesn't even compare to the first two. 1/5 or 2/ 2 stars
2/11/07 AJ Muller Just a good fucking time, man. If you dug the first 2 well, here's more inventive deaths. 4 stars
2/04/07 x/x.W i l t e d.Rose.x/x The Best Final Destination. One Of My Fave Movies. Its Awesome Go See It__xx 5 stars
12/30/06 Sumixam all 3 are good, this is right up there 5 stars
12/18/06 Jeremy Movie sucked because it threw the second one out the window. 3 stars
11/02/06 Patsyc I loved the first one. The second one was good. This one was good but not quite as scary. 4 stars
10/30/06 Roger Wilks The deaths are ridiculous and sickening. The plot is senseless. SUCKS!!! 1 stars
10/25/06 Drew G Some pretty good deaths, but overall disappointing 2 stars
10/24/06 Sara It sucked because the ending was grap. 1 stars
10/06/06 Michael Coovert This plot has been played out; nothing compared to the first or second. 3 stars
10/01/06 Beau the most goriest one especially wen girls burn alive in tanning. great horror 4 stars
9/23/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 4 stars
9/19/06 Luckdeezy Pretty good...worth watching for sure 4 stars
9/14/06 Mara Frost not as good as the first 2, but still fun and original 4 stars
9/13/06 veronique ya need to like it 3 stars
9/13/06 Jorge Coronilla It wasn't that bad. 4 stars
9/13/06 Edward Connell Unforseen events make this movie interesting 5 stars
9/05/06 Indrid Cold The formula is wearing a little thin, but still more fun than most mainstream horror. 3 stars
8/25/06 Littlepurch Great gory deaths and although the middle sags, the fantastic start and end make up for it. 4 stars
8/13/06 Danny Respectable. Not as good as FD, but better than FD2. 4 stars
8/07/06 Tim The guy with the camera got off the ride the second time and he started the accident? 2 stars
8/05/06 Dan The DVD has a neat "choose their fate" option 4 stars
8/05/06 Stanley Thai Not as good as the first two. It's a decent movie wih decent kills and decent acting. 3 stars
8/02/06 Mark Louis Baumgart Decent and fun sequel. Unfortunately the ending violates the first rule of the series. 3 stars
7/29/06 action movie fan rehash of the first two--decent stpyr--overly gory though 4 stars
7/28/06 Alberto AGUIRRE My favorite film espesially the roller coaster scene. 5 stars
7/27/06 Lisa Death scenes worth a look and thena rewind!!! 3 stars
6/05/06 mary really scary 5 stars
4/28/06 BAH BAH 1 stars
4/10/06 alice Very amusing ! 4 stars
3/29/06 mick fantastic film would recommend 5 stars
3/17/06 Mason Token negro gets head crushed, what's not to like? 3 stars
3/14/06 James Bond Terrific 5 stars
3/09/06 Valerie It was alright, BUT i still think that the 1st and the 2nd ones were better 4 stars
3/01/06 Littlepurch Morgan & Wong clearly didn't want to be outdone by FD2, and make an hilarious comback here! 5 stars
2/27/06 Steven Lewis Go see it for the deaths! 4 stars
2/22/06 li' buddy really graphic good movie but same stuff as before i want mething new 4 stars
2/22/06 Jaime Moore A Great Flick much bearly better than the first two put togeather. 5 stars
2/19/06 Nic As good if not better than first 2 films... 4 stars
2/19/06 chris f totally awesome movie i loved it from start to finish 5 stars
2/14/06 Ole Man Bourbon The lead actress sucks something horrid. Typical movie for the franchise. 3 stars
2/14/06 jeff liked the scond one better but still good. 5 stars
2/12/06 Perry Mason I hate creative killing movies. This was just boring as hell. 2 stars
2/11/06 JC that movie was TOO Trill!..NEVER go Tanning again! 5 stars
2/11/06 rich Not bad for a new horror movie 4 stars
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  10-Feb-2006 (R)
  DVD: 25-Jul-2006



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