More noise than signal

Final Destination 3

This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site,

Final Destination has long, and by ‘long’ I mean ‘six years’, been the acceptable face of rubbishy teen orientated horror. Absolute trash of course, but trash that knew it’s place in the grand scheme of things. Big set-piece accident, slowly kill off the survivors in increasingly ludicrous ‘accidents’, while throwing some nonsense about death having some grand design to stop it becoming too obviously a snuff flick. None of which is remotely frightening, naturally, but damned if it isn’t entertaining. Well, mostly. Fun fact – despite having suffered through far worse since, the original (and best) Final Destination marked the closest I’ve ever come to walking out of a film. It’s much-lauded plane crash having left me distinctly unimpressed, there’s a lengthy period where next to nothing happens. Yet, no sooner had my ample buttocks left the seat someone gets wiped out by a bus with shockingly impressive suddenness, and continues in that impressive vein. The follow-up affair started to push it’s luck, but was just about audacious enough in it’s killings to get away with it.

The predictably named third outing Final Destination 3 sees the franchise return to the loving hands of originator James Wong, and he chooses to throw all of the second flick’s crap about death having a design that’s running backwards in concentric circles, or whatever the Bernard Cribbins it was, and for the most part throw out every reference to death having much of a design at all. This is welcome, as it’s really stupid. What did we pay the ticket price for? To see nubile teenagers getting mangled in interesting ways, same as every other horror film. High art it ain’t, but we can’t be having every film in the multiplex being about gay shepherds. It’d get dull.

This time round Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has a premonition of a horrible rollercoaster accident, freaking out and causing her carriage of the ride to be ejected. Good thing too, as the rollercoaster then decides to eject everyone unfortunate enough to still be on said ride, including Wendy’s boyfriend and her best friend. After a mercifully brief trip into survivor guilt territory, which her sister Julie (Amanda Crew) and friend Kevin Fischer (Ryan Merriman) help her through, we return to the main event; the Heath Robinson-esque offing of those survivors with Kevin and Wendy trying to stop them. With little success, you’ll be glad to hear.

Boy, are there some convoluted accidents going on here. The series outdoes itself on the ridiculous front, but that’s always been the charm of the franchise. It lives in a strange subset of the world where failsafes do not fail safe and the usual laws of the physical world are overruled by Murphy’s Law. While there’s an oddly gruesome, disturbing death early doors which doesn’t fit the tone of this film, or any of the others for that matter, it’s not long before it falls back into a comfortable groove of overcooked, over the top dispatches which aren’t even remotely likely to scare anyone but will raise some hearty laughter indeed.

Surprisingly, given that as usual the cast list includes no-one you’ve ever heard of and most likely will never hear of again, the acting isn’t unbearable, and in the few moments where we have to watch the characters emoting the two leads come out of it quite well. No egg on their faces then, but again this sort of thing is thankfully limited in comparison to the time spent worrying about getting blood on their faces.

There’s not much of note to say about FD3, as I’m sure all the cool kids are calling it. It’s pretty much more of the same, so I’m sure you know what to expect by now. Sure, the set-piece accident is the least impressive and certainly the least visceral of the series, but the real meat and bones of the flick’s appeal was always what came after that. In this sense FD3 doesn’t disappoint, which must surely put it as front runner for next year’s prestigious theOneliner ‘Horror Film Least Likely To Induce Homicidal Rage’ award.