The weakest entry of the black comedy/horror franchise but only by a slim margin, the third “Final Destination” lacks the mystery/discovery elements of the first film or the biting laugh out loud black comedy of the second in favor of darker, gorier deaths that are generally more twisted than any of the other films. On the downside though, it fills the periods between accidents with the least interesting storyline of the three.
In effect, the film plays out like a simplified remake of the first film – avoiding that film’s all too long spiels about fate and death in favour of a higher body count. Normally that would be a good thing but at least with the first film we got to know these characters a bit, and thus were affected by their deaths.
The teens of this movie by comparison are bores – annoying frat bitches, dumb jocks or punks, and two bland leads who run around trying to stop things (based on digital photo clues) and obviously do so with little effectiveness.
Plot though is not what people come to these movies for, rather gruesome deaths and the film has them in spades. The first film drew out the deaths with very careful red herrings which made them quite effective, the second upped the ante by making them longer, more unique and gorier – but all done in a morbidly playful tone which made one both squirm and laugh.
This time around Morgan and Wong go to darker roots than ever before – the deaths here are arguably least creative of the three films, but they’re certainly the bloodiest and one or two (the tanning booths, the ending) are the nastiest the series has done.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a passable job as the film’s often misty-eyed heroine who starts off a little too cliche but becomes an assertive female lead as it goes on. Still, she’s the only even vaguely interesting performance of the bunch – bland faces like former kiddie hunk Ryan Merriman to the very Cillian Murphy-esque Kris Lemche are so utterly forgettable that the only way to differentiate them is to describe how they die.
Ultimately the film ends up more of the same, bringing back the series originators hasn’t had any real impact on the quality at all, and they certainly haven’t shaken up the formula in any way short of making it a little darker than the last one. Production values are pretty decent, and the various dispatches will have people squirming in their seats. Chalk this up with the other ones as an enjoyable and entertaining diversion.