Final Destination 3 (2006)

(“The one with the rollercoaster” and the entry in the franchise everyone seems to have already seen but me) In Japan this one is called Final Deadcoaster which seems oddly suitable. For now we’ll just call it the third installment in the Final Destination series. Its been 6 years on screen since that fateful plane crash and we’re still not done talking about it….

Theres a feeling from the opening credits that the budget for this one got a bit of a boost, but upon consulting Wikipedia i’m informed that it had a similar budget to the previous films (around $25 million). Maybe it’s just been put to better use?

Funfairs are already established canonically in the horror genre as a scary setting. Zombieland did its part to try and dilute (or at least subvert) that trope. So this establishes the setting well.

The insighting accident in this entry revolves around a crash on the Devils Fright rollercoaster (which the cast had to ride 26 times in one night during filming). As with the other entries there’s a formulaic cheating of death via the protagonists premonition. At this stage it’s tried and tested but altogether necessary to tell a Final Destination story.

The incident in this film sees an adequate amount of seat-swapping and confusion before the accident. Which not only seems to confuse Death but also the audience. This one also includes a fight which, as we know from previous entries, is a good way to remove characters from Deaths design.

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The music during some of the scenes (especially in the lead up to the incident) is aggressively intruding, presumably to ramp up the tension before the crash. It serves only to distract from the scenes at hand.

The rickety rollercoaster in FD3 reminds me somewhat of a horrible rollercoaster that was once outside Barry’s in Portrush, when i was about 6. It was only about 40 ft long but it was a proper bone shaker. Hit me up in the comments if you know it.

As with those other entries, the incident is somewhat glossed over. This time we see it begin but it quickly cuts away. As i mentioned before – this is a great choice but also an odd one. Even a few alternate angles would have helped tell the story, after all the incident is now changed from the one we saw in the premonition. The audience doesn’t want to see the whole thing again, just a few shots to give it a bit more gravity.

This time around its unclear who made it off the ride. The previous entries had that obligatory “side room scene” which established the survivors affected.

Its hard to take these characters seriously, yes, i know its a horror film. Especially the Mean girls/Legally Blonde/White Chicks girls who die in the sunbeds. They are such tropes of the typical horror bimbo that the audience is itching to see their dispatchment.

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Death continues to announce its presence by breezing into each room. This time their presence involves squeezing all the lotion out of a bottle, textbook flickering of lights and screens, blowing some leaves and wind chimes about, and changing of the radio station.

Has anyone else noticed the Apple product placement in the Final Destination series? It was front and centre during FD2 but a little bit more subtle during this one. FD3 also features heavy use of the Motorola Razr V3 phone. I’ll be watching for it like the hallowed 180 appearances. (this film represents the entry with the least references to the number – only appearing backwards in the form of 081 twice and in reference to a song)

By the half way mark i’m so eager for the next kill that the film has become tedious. It feels like the writers came up with the deaths and then worked backwards through the scenes to establish a story. While i’m not exactly against that method it seems to be at great expense of the story. The writing in Final Destination 3 is a bit disjointed, but on a positive note – this one is currently winning as the most drawn out and elaborate death design scene (in the warehouse) so far. It takes forever to play out and even after my viewing i’m still trying to work out if any of it mattered towards the end result. My guess is not.

Conclusions

This outing leans heavily on the emotional drama rather than the supernatural elements. A few strange choices in writing and direction including a rather clunky but throw-away 9/11 reference that seemed to be just for the sake of it.

There’s a flavour to these films which is apparent in this opening scene, Final Destination as a franchise has now established a trademark sense of humour and definitive method of storytelling. As established as it may be, by this third film that flavour feels a lot more diluted and lighter in content since the original.

This one also feels independent of the franchise like Fast and the Furious : Tokyo Drift but thinner in quality. Let’s see if the franchise can bring it back for part 4….

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