So, another three years pass and ‘Final Destination 3’ is released to resounding ‘Oooooo…Kay?’ After the ‘meh’ session that was ‘Final Destination 2’, the audience were sort of resigned to the fact that this series really didn’t have much else than ‘killing people off in gory ways’ which is basically what kept people coming back for the ‘Friday the 13th‘ films.
Speaking of. ‘Final Destination 3’ was the film that really started to stop having characters and just having stereotypes. That happened a little bit in ‘FD2’ with the ‘stoner’ character and the ‘bitchy businesswoman’ but ‘FD3’ really dug into the stereotype box and pulled out some garbage characters that are literally only there to be killed off.
So ‘nice girl’ Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is at a fairground with her boyfriend, Jason (Jesse Moss), her friend, Kevin (Ryan Merriman) and his girlfriend, Carrie (Gina Holden). Together, with a number of others, they board the ‘Devil’s Flight’ rollercoaster where Wendy has a terrifying premonition that the rollercoaster derails and everyone dies. She gets off the rollercoaster with her friend, Kevin but Jason and Carrie stay on. Getting off with Wendy and Kevin are; BFF’s and pretty girls, Ashley and Ashlyn (Chelan Simmons and Crystal Lowe), alumnus, Frankie Cheeks (Sam Easton), fitness fanatic, Lewis Romero (Texas Battle) and finally, social outcasts and goth couple, Ian McKinley and Erin Ulmer (Kris Lemche and Alexz Johnson)
After the accident, Kevin is the one who did the research on Alex Browning and the Flight 180 incident. He tells her that afterwards, all the survivors started to die one by one but he reveals two pieces of information that I doubt was common knowledge. The first is that the survivors died in the order they died in the premonition and that saving someone’s life causes death to skip them. I get the feeling that the writers put that in because these facts are the franchise ‘lore’ and they didn’t want the new characters to have to keep re-learning these facts in every film. It’s easier if they just find it out in ‘research’.
Interestingly, Kimberly and the ‘Route 23’ debacle isn’t mentioned but it should be noted that this film had a weird DVD release that was ‘interactive’ which means that every now and again, the film would pause and the viewer would be offered a choice. I remember one choice is a character flips a coin and the movie paused and came up with ‘Heads’ or ‘Tails’. This film’s choices weren’t meaningful in anyway or impacted the major story events at all but one choice gave the consequence of flashing up a newspaper article that showed the fate of the previous film’s protagonists.
According to this article, Kimberly and Burke died in a hardware store by being dragged into a malfunctioning woodchipper. However, this article was not shown in the theatrical release and has been declared by the general fanbase as ‘non-canon’ and I want to believe that too. I don’t care if Kimberly completely lacks a personality, those two would have had some good-looking kids.
So, this one needs a gimmick to make the audience think that things are moving forward. Before her premonition, Wendy took a load of pictures on her digital camera which were a bit ‘hoity toity’ on the mid-2000’s. As an evolution of the ‘signs’ theory of the last film, the pictures on Wendy’s camera give a hint as to how the next person is going to die.
Take the first set of deaths, Ashley and Ashlyn.
Whilst some of the deaths in the previous films have been totally avoidable, and this film continues the trend.
So, the girls like their tans. Naturally, they had a closed set because there’s a certain amount of topless action going on. It does seem a bit tacky and too much like a slasher movie to have the stereotypically pretty girls die naked. There’s quite a long chain of events that leads to their deaths too.
First, the girls put a ‘Back in 30 mins’ sign on the front door so no one will walk in on them which they probably didn’t need to do. Second, the owner is outside and on the phone so doesn’t notice the door closing and locking him out. Third, Ashlyn realizes that she’s forgotten her I-pod and so as Ashley reaches up to look the selection of CD’s, the shelf comes away a bit at the bracket. Fourth, Ashley sets down a cold drink’s container which leaks its condensation onto a circuit board that proceeds to malfunction and increase the heat of the tanning beds whilst the girls are inside and listening to 70’s music. Fifth, as the thermostat rises in temperature and the ventilation comes on, it knocks a coat stand somehow and knocks the flimsy shelf off the bracket. The shelf lands and lodges itself in between the two tanning beds, trapping both girls inside. Slowly, the glass begins to crack and the temperature rises even more, until the girls are set alight and burned alive.
Like I said, tacky and disturbing.
The next couple of deaths go by pretty quick because by the time Ashley and Ashlyn die, the film is just over a third of the way through.
Frankie’s next and half of his head is cut off by an engine rotor which is a whole fiasco and then Lewis dies by having his head crushed with weights.
Wendy and Kevin go to warn Ian and Erin since they’re next and since both of the ill-fated couple work in a hardware store with all number of hazards that could come out of nowhere. And they do. So, it looks like Ian was meant to be next but before he can get crushed and/or impaled by pointy plywood, Kevin pulls him out of the way and so Death skips Ian and moves to Erin. She falls back against a nail gun and is shot through the head nine times. Ian is distraught and instantly holds a grudge against Wendy, believing that she caused Erin’s death.
Now would probably be a good time to mention how much I adore Kris Lemche. It seems that so far, all of the Final Destination films have an actor in them that have triggered some bizarre fascination with their stuff just because they’re pretty. In ‘Final Destination’, it was Devon Sawa; in ‘Final Destination 2’, it was Michael Landes and in ‘Final Destination 3’, it’s Kris Lemche. What can I say? I have good taste.
The first thing I ever saw Mr Lemche in was ‘FD3’ and if you’re thinking ‘I’ve never seen him in anything else’ then you’re right. That’s because no one ever puts him anything that anyone is going to see. He is what’s called a ‘jobbing actor’. Not a ‘career actor’. That’s something different. But, from what I’ve seen of the stuff that I can find, he’s a really good actor. It’s a shame that he’s not broken through into the mainstream because he’d be a great horror star. If you can, have a look for his stuff even though he is always the best thing in everything that he’s in.
Back to the plot.
Now that Erin is dead and presumably Ian will be the last to die because Kevin saves him, Wendy starts searching through her pictures to find some clue as to how Kevin and then she will die. However, she discovers that her younger sister, Julie (Amanda Crew) was also on the coaster and not only is she currently attending the town’s ‘Tri-centennial’ fair but she’s next.
Julie is at the fair and is accosted by a horse who drags by a rope wrapped around her neck across the ground until she is nearly impaled on a harrow but she is saved by Kevin. Death then skips her and goes to Perry Malinowski (Maggie Ma) who was Julie’s friend that was sat with her on the coaster.
So, in case you’re having trouble keeping up. Death skipped Ian went to Julie but Kevin intervened and so the next person should be Kevin and fireworks nearly finish him off but Wendy saves him so now it’s Wendy’s turn.
That’s when Ian turns up. He’s been stalking them since Erin’s death, and he’s convinced that Wendy is responsible for Erin’s death but is safe in the knowledge that he is the last to die (now third to last because Julie and Kevin were skipped). However, he doesn’t seem to be aware that Wendy saved Kevin and so Death has skipped Kevin and Wendy is next so even if Wendy dies, Ian will be the next one to go. Theoretically, if they want to beat Death then they need to fuck up Death’s plan so either Ian, Kevin or Julie need to die. Which one do you think it will be? Kevin is the love interest and Julie is the sister and Ian is not related to Wendy and is currently threatening her. Who do you think is going to die next?
If course, it’s Ian. Wendy sees that fireworks are about to kill her, so she ducks down and the fireworks shoot past Ian and hit a cherry picker which falls and splatters him. Sad. I liked Ian. Way more than any of the other characters.
So, Ian’s dead when it should have been Wendy. Technically, no one saved her from the fireworks, so she wasn’t skipped, and Ian’s death means that Death’s design is fucked. Happy days.
And that’s where the movie was originally to end. But then, one of the film’s writers was tired of seeing the survivors walking away and so wanted a really shocking ending where they all died at the end, thus proving the Death is inescapable.
So, it’s five months later and Wendy, Julie and Kevin all end up on a subway train. During the journey, Wendy starts to see signs of Death approaching and the train derails, killing both Kevin and Julie. Wendy survives but ends up injured on the tracks and is splattered by an oncoming train. This however turns out to be a premonition but one that she’s had a little but too late to actually do anything and so probably dies.
With a budget of $25 Million, ‘Final Destination 3’ was released on February 10th, 2006 and brought in $117.7 Million which made it the most financially successful instalment up to that point.
However, as with before, reviews were mixed.
What do I think? To sum up my thoughts, apparently on this DVD version that lets you choose certain plot aspects, the first choice makes Wendy, Kevin, Jason and Carrie not get on the coaster before the premonition and ends the film straight away. I would strongly recommend choosing that option to save yourself from watching a film that’s already been made twice with worse characters who seem to be going through the same motions with less believability. Not even bringing back the original writers and director could save it. That’s what I think.
The first one was still the best and yet to be topped. Next.