My History With the Film:
I was a big fan of the first two Final Destinations, but by the time the third one was released I was a little burned out. I remember renting the DVD and within the first few minutes I knew I wasn’t in the mood to watch it. I made it up until the first death scene (post the premonition scene) and I turned the film off and went on to do something else.
In February of 2018, I decided that I wanted to finish my rewatch of the series and this time watch every film completely. I started up Final Destination 3, this time with a much better attitude and found myself enjoying the film quite a bit. I like the pacing and the consistency of this franchise and Final Destination 3 is a decent entry.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A young woman has a premonition of a rollercoaster causing the death of her classmates. When she flips out, she is removed from the ride along with several others who Death now must track down and finish the job.
What I Liked About It:
-What’s not to love about the crazy death scenes? Even if you dislike the Final Destination series, you gotta love the death scenes. They are realistic in a Darwin Awards type of way, and it makes watching these movies a lot of fun.
-I love that this film used a rollercoaster as the big event that affects the rest of the plot. I personally do not like rollercoasters, and like they said in the movie, it’s all because of control. I do not like not being in control. Put a steering wheel and some breaks on a rollercoaster, and I’ll ride it all day, but strap me into something and make me hold for the ride, no thank you.
-There is a scene where death attempts to catch up with a couple of our survivors while sitting in a drive thru at a fast food joint. In terms of a Final Destination death scene, this is quite tame, but there is something about it that has bothered me long after my viewing. While sitting in a drive thru, I'm usually relax and not totally observant to my surroundings. I think this scene tapped into that and then showed you how easy it would be to be rendered defenseless and at the mercy of the other objects around you.
What I Didn't Like About It:
-Overall, I feel like the death scenes were weaker in this entry than the previous two. ::SPOILERS:: The tanning bed is something I’m sure everyone has thought of, and it helps fulfill this morbid fantasy/fear that we all have. I don’t ride rollercoasters nor do I tan, so I couldn’t relate to these two deaths nearly as much as some of the other ones featured in this franchise. ::END SPOILERS::
-The cast does a serviceable job, but it really does feel like we were stuck with the B team. I’m a huge fan of Amanda Crew, and I thought she did well, but no one really had a break out performance. All of the characters felt like random teenager fodder and the script didn’t really offer the characters much to do or say.
-Tony Todd (the mortician in the first two films) provided the voice for the subway operator and the devil above the entrance of the rollercoaster. The roller-coaster used was “The Corkscrew” at Playland in Vancouver, Canada. The ride is actually slower and tamer, but CGI was used to add loops and multiple corkscrew sections.
-The cast had to ride the roller coaster twenty-six times in one night to get the footage for the opening scene.
-Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Wendy) and Crystal Lowe (Ashlyn) starred in the remake of Black Christmas, along with Kristen Cloke who played Valerie Lewton in the original Final Destination.
-The truck that pins Wendy and Kevin in at the drive-thru is the same truck from Final Destination 2. In Final Destination 2, the truck says “Drink Responsibly” but then the driver is drinking from a bottle and Kimberly and her friends point out how ironic that is.
Notable Horror Connections:
- Chelan Simmons: See No Evil 2, Carrie (2002), Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, and IT (1990).
- Jesse Moss: Ginger Snaps, The Uninvited, and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Thing (2011), The Ring Two, and Black Christmas.
- Ryan Merriman: The Ring Two and Halloween Resurrection.
- Amanda Crew: The Haunting in Connecticut
- Kris Lemche: Ginger Snaps
I stand by the fact that the Final Destination series may be the scariest horror series. The villain is Death, who is unbeatable, and always gets his man/woman. It’s the one villain that we will all face in life, one way or another, and that makes these films troubling. With that being said, the execution of these films is fun. The death scenes are over-the-top and the tension can be wonderful. I feel like this particular film is the laziest of the first three movies, and doesn’t really try too hard. It sticks to the formula that works, channels the same story we’re used to, and then ends. That’s not to say its not an enjoyable ride, but the film feels like a cheap cash in.
Of the first three Final Destinations that I’ve reviewed, part three is very skippable. It’s not a bad film, it just doesn’t live up to the expectations of the first two films. I’d say Final Destination 3 is healthy two and a half out of five, and is a worthy watch to complete the entire series, but as a standalone film it should be skipped.