I'll keep this one short and sweet, mainly because I wrote full-length reviews for Final Destination (2000) and Final Destination 2 (2003) and this third entry does NOT upset the horror-geek apple cart in any appreciable way -- but also because I saw the movie less than two hours ago and I can actually feel it evaporating from my brain as I type.
Nobody new to this series is going to wander up to the local multiplex box office and go "Hrmm, I don't like horror flicks enough to have already seen FD1 and FD2, but I'll take one ticket for FD3, please, and could you give me a brief synopsis of the sequel I'm about to see?"
So this review is basically for the veteran horror-eaters, the folks who own the first two Final Destination DVDs and looked forward to the inevitable third entry with equal parts excitement and skepticism. We hardcore horror hounds are a loyal bunch -- but cross us one too many times and we'll banish you to DTV country, where you'll rot and fester with the likes of Pinhead, Wishmaster, and that unending supply of Corn Children.
We all know the FD drill by now: Someone is about to step into a potentially hazardous situation, only to suffer a massive precognitive jolt that says "Hey, you and your friends are about to die a ridiculously gruesome death. Don't ask why, but you've been warned." That warn-ee will then flip out like nobody's business, which causes several (briefly) fortunate folks to escape death's grasp ... only to stumble right back into that grasp through even nastier methods.
The Final Destination flicks are a mixture of old-school slasher-style off-pickings, slickly modern Rube Goldberg-ian dispatch methods, and (occasionally) intense suspense that doesn't skimp on expense. (It's not just that we watch these movies to see clueless idiots gets slaughtered; I like to think those butt-squirming moments before the kills are what I pay my $8 for. That and the "oh, shit!" shocks that arrive when a solid splatter is predicated by a canny misdirection, as happens 2 or 3 times in this flick.)
So the first flick was about kids getting off of a doomed airliner, and part 2 dealt with kids avoiding a horrific highway accident, so where else can part 3 go but ... a roller coaster! Our lead heroine sees an impending death for everyone, she loses her proverbial shit, a bunch of kids hop off, only to be systematically slaughtered over the next 60-some minutes.
It's not exactly Shakespeare, I know. But for good, gruesome, gritty chills, ones that don't skimp on the mood, the style, and (yes) the gore, you could do a hell of a lot worse than sit down for a Final Destination marathon. If the second sequel seems just a little bit threadbare and laden with a few extra plot holes, well, FD3 also ups the body count and delivers a half-dozen scenes that are truly and pretty intensely enjoyable. This series caters to its target audience without insulting it -- which is why the flicks make so much damn money.
Perhaps the next entry will introduce a few new equations into the well-worn Final Destination formula, but for a sequel to a sequel to an out-of-nowhere horror hit, this one still doles out the goods in fine form. And think about it: How many Part 3s turn out to be anything besides awful?
(Review reprinted from eFilmCritic.com, because I felt like it!)