The mid-point is often the most perilous place on the tight rope, most of the good and shocking ideas are behind you, yet the audiences want more. In 2006, death taunts another pseudo-lucky group of survivors’ while offering more of the same managed to include so much more In Final Destination 3.
When the graduating class of McKinley high school get to go to a local amusement park, it seems to be the perfect chance for heartthrobs Wendy Christensen and Jason along with fellow couple Carrie and Kevin to celebrate. However, as Wendy foresees a lethal omen about a freak carnival roller-coaster accident that she and her classmates are about to ride, she panics causing some of the class to depart, dooming the rest including Jason and Carrie. Kevin realises a connection between the events of the previous films. While Wendy realises there might be a link between the photos she took, and the ways Death has planned to balance the scales, the two must team up to thwart Death.
Out of all the prophet-protagonists that have come before, I feel that Wendy is best so far played with conviction by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She spends much of the time with survivor Kevin played by Ryan Merriman, the two make a good duo, and I would like a spin-off paranormal mystery-solving show with the two. The rest of the survivors are well-known slasher archetypes like jock Lewis, goth couple Ian and Erin and stereotypical airheaded bimbos Ashley and Ashlyn.
Personally, I like the new conceit of the photos offering clues to help our heroes, building on Final Destination 2’s signs of death, into something that feels more actionable, not only is Death giving our heroes a fairer fight, but he’s planned this well in advance too. It gives the audience another chance to solve these abstract puzzles and revel in how the clues spell out a character’s doom. The deaths themselves are also brutal often with a groundswell of blood and offal being splattered on our poor protagonists. They manage to capture a perfect compromise between digital effects and practical splatter. An unfortunate incident involving a nail gun is one that springs to mind (no pun intended.)
The third Final Destination feels the most tragic, after the lighter outing of two. The film feels like a metaphor for the haunting capabilities of grief and borrowing from the best of slashers to build a unique atmosphere. It’s not entirely morose, with classic stock characters and irony-heavy deaths, it strikes the right balance of emotion and cathartic satisfaction. Combined with a spectacular performance by Winstead & co. and an ending that will haunt you, Final Destination 3 might be the best so far, and we’re barely half-way through.
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