Director – James Wong
Cast – Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Kris Lemche, Alexz Johnson, Sam Easton, Jesse Moss, Gina Holden, Texas Battle, Chelan Simmons, Crystal Lowe, Amanda Crew
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Final Destination 2 was a financial success, so why not another? I went into Final Destination 3 with fairly low expectations for several reasons: 1. director James Wong returned, 2. I did not believe that they could pull off another solid effort, 3. the storyline is the same template, how creative could they be? Despite all of these reasons however I did find myself mostly-enjoying this piece, and while the story contained much of the brainless cheese that I faulted in Final Destination, this was an improvement over the initial film that despite failing in comparison to Final Destination 2 still gives us a cool horror effort with plenty of horror to go around.
When Wendy Christensen(The Thing remake, Death Proof, Black Christmas, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) experiences a harrowing premonition that the roller coaster she is on will result in the deaths of her and her friends, she frantically tries tries to get everyone off the coaster, but for some it is too late. Still recovering from the shocking deaths of their high school classmates, Wendy and those who skipped death with her find themselves dying one by one in mysterious fashion – proving that death may take a while, but eventually it will come.
If you have seen the first two installments then you should have no reason to not go into this one expecting more of the same, which is exactly what we get. Once again we follow a group of young protagonists who manage to cheat death and then find themselves desperately trying to avoid its vengeful grasp, and with numerous awesome and creative kill sequences. I applaud Wong and the rest of the writing crew (who also wrote Final Destination) for once again giving me some very enjoyable kills, and plenty of drawn-out scenes fairly high in tension. I did have some issues with this storyline and its silliness at times, which came during the numerous scenes involving Wendy looking at pictures she took of the survivors in search of clues that will help present their impending death. The idea itself is not necessarily a bad one, but came poorly written with way too many scenes that were just downright cheesy and ridiculously improbable, bringing back the dumb cheese that I did not like in Final Destination – it seems such cheese tends to follow Wong wherever he goes.
Wong’s direction was mostly-positive, giving us innovative camerawork and swell cinematography that made this a visual treat to watch. As usual, the execution of the opening scene was amazing and had me hooked from then on out, and his kill sequences were brutally fun to watch and came with plenty of live-action gore as well. His execution of these sequences was great, taking his time in delivering them and raising the tension to good levels in doing so. We get positive performances from our main actors, who came off cheesy at times but thankfully it was an enjoyable cheese unrelated to the dumb cheese written into the film at times. While this was definitely an improvement over Wong’s previous Final Destination, it sadly did not fare a better rating due to the storyline’s cheese holding it back.
Overall, Final Destination 3 is a mostly-positive installment to the now-famed series that once again gives us more of the same, which thankfully includes the awesome kill sequences we know and love. The story does get cheesy at times and was the film’s biggest detractor, but in the end I was entertained and never once found myself uninterested in what was going on.