Plot: Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is not a risk taker, she’s a good student and stays out of trouble, traits her friends claim are due to her being a total control freak. So when she winds up in line for an intense roller coaster, her boyfriend jokes that the reason she is so nervous is because on the ride, she just has to go with the flow, which isn’t her strong suit. As her anxiety builds in line, she tries to stay calm, but once she is on the ride, she really panics and soon after, her worst fears are realized as the ride spirals out control and no one survives the horrific accident. But then she snaps back to reality, realizes it was just a vision and when she has an emotional breakdown, she and some of the other riders are removed. Then her vision comes true, which should be a relief, but Wendy is convinced this wasn’t just a coincidence. If death’s design has once been been defied, can Wendy and her friends figure out a path to survival, or is the grim reaper’s touch inevitable?
Entertainment Value: The Final Destination series had given us a plane crash and a car crash, so this third installment goes a little off the rails and centers on a roller coaster accident. I love this premise, as the potential for a horrific mishap likely crosses the mind of most coaster riders once they’ve been strapped in, so it makes for a fun, relatable start to once again evading death’s design. I thought Final Destination was a lot more fun than the original and that trend continues here, as this sequel sticks with the campier, more over the top approach. This leads to some of the franchise’s most creative and graphic death scenes, including the tanning booth sequence, which is a personal favorite. The tone is dark, but with a sharp sense of humor that runs with the b movie vibes and that was a wise choice. The cast is led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who turns in a serious performance, while most of her costars go for more over the top efforts, so the acting isn’t great, but it is fun. I also like that Final Destination 3 moves at a brisk clip and has little downtime between horror set pieces, including some effective kills and fun misdirects at times. If you want serious horror, this one won’t like satisfy on that end, but those looking for a fun, campier take on the Final Destination formula, this third entry has a lot to offer.
The movie has just one scene with naked flesh, but it is a spectacular one and involves one of my favorite Final Destination kill sequences ever. The two perkiest girls in the movie head to a tanning salon and both go topless, then the horror kicks in and gives us a quite the show. So not much sleaze here, but the one time we do get some nakedness, the film delivers and then some. That scene also plays into the bloodshed aspect of the movie, as that sequence delivers one of the most elaborate kill scenes in the franchise, plus it pay offs in spades. A lot of the deaths in the series are set up by complex chains of events, but this one is even more complicated than most and really stands out as one of the most memorable moments in the series. The movie also has nail gun mayhem, all the chaos on the roller coaster ride from hell, mind blowing exercise, a really big fan, and assorted other instances of violence. As expected, there’s a lot of CGI here and it doesn’t always look great, but it is passable and compared to Marvel movies, looks like a special effects masterpiece. The dialogue has some fun moments, but runs at mostly a basic level aside from a few one liners and barbed exchanges. Tony Todd is back, but in a minor voice over role, so his ominous presence is missed. The craziness scale lights up here, with the campiness and colorful characters, but it is the creative, splashy kills that adds the most to the meter.
Overall Insanity: 3/10