After the travesty that was Final Destination 2, I was nervous popping the third into my DVD player. Released in 2006, this film follows a new group of high school students as they attempt to cheat the deaths they escaped. During grad night at a local theme park, Wendy has a premonition that the roller coaster will crash sending her and her classmates to their death. After freaking out and causing half of the class to get off the ride, she’s devastated when it does in fact crash, killing her boyfriend and several other classmates. What follows is about an hour of Wendy and another classmate, Kevin, attempting to figure out who’s next and how to stop them from dying.
For some odd reason, I still find the premise of these films intriguing. Sure, I know the deal; I know how it goes down. But the concept still feels innovative and interesting to me. It helps that both sequels paid tribute to the original; in this film, the students attend McKinley High, the same high school the original crew went to. The characters also reference Flight 180 and the terror that followed it. I won’t lie though - this one got off to a rocky start for me. Carnivals and creepy theme park rides are spooky and I love them, but you really, really have to suspend your disbelief for the coaster crash. Even more so than usual in these films. And I’m not sure if the creators just bit off more than they could chew with shooting a roller coaster ride, but the graphics during that sequence were horrendous.
But once the initial premonition was over, this film really found its footing. For starters, this cast was much more likeable than Final Destination 2. Anchored by Wendy and Kevin, I actually cared about the students and their fates. This film also added a sleuth aspect, integrating photos Wendy took the night of the crash and using them as ways to predict future deaths. It was extremely fun to follow Wendy and Kevin as they tried to solve deaths yet to happen and warn others. Added bonus, the death sequences in this film were more realistic than the second one and far more gruesome. My personal favorites - the tanning bed scene and the nail gun debacle.
After a rocky start, Final Destination 3 pulled it together and really made something of itself. Bringing the franchise back to the black after the mistake that was Final Destination 2, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It’s a fun, fast-paced ride with compelling characters and an intriguing plot despite the familiarity. Also worth mentioning is this film has in my opinion the best ending of any of the others in the franchise. It’s a real doozy and worth waiting for.
If you liked Final Destination 3, you might also like Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2 and Sinister.