By Jasmine Bratton
As if Netflix was picking movies out of the dollar bin at Walmart and stuffing them into their library, James Wong’s Final Destination 3, a depressing gore fest in a faltering film series, is currently available to watch or stream if you hate yourself and the horror genre.
Released in 2006 to a lukewarm reception, Final Destination 3 is the obviously third entry in the series about death hunting down survivors of near-death experiences, such as plane crashes, interstate pileups, and the incredibly common bridge collapse. Senior Wendy Christensen receives a premonition about dying horribly on the Devil’s Flight roller coaster, prompting her to understandably freak out and save herself and several other classmates just before the ride takes off.
After the premonition comes true, Wendy notices survivors dying in the order they would have on the ride, starting a race to save them from death itself. In a series known for it’s unconventional and unflinching killer and complex, Rube Goldberg-like deaths, Final Destination 3 is a mess of misplaced characterization and dull scares, missing the talent of the prior two films, and heralds a great dip in quality for the series and the genre as a whole.
To put it simply, Final Destination 3 is rushed and unfocused, lacking true good moments of levity and counts on the audience’s innate fear of death without giving a solid example.
The establishing scene of the movie, the roller coaster accident, is fueled by the legitimate ‘What If?’ of a coaster crashing, and while a little wacky at first, the movie is able to successfully scare you with the graphic images of plucky high schoolers falling to their deaths and slamming into steel beams. Where the movie falters is the absurdity of the later deaths, as they quickly fall from close to reality to ‘how much gore will it take to fill the screen?’ In a scene directly from the movie, two girls die in tanning beds after a shelf traps them and a drop of condensation from a freaking Slushy causes the beds to overheat. Maybe the director set out to create new fears instead of playing off old ones, but boy does that play off poorly when your death scenes look more like an insurance nightmare instead of horror.
Final Destination is a series that tries it’s best at developing doomed characters, giving stereotypical archetypes proper characterization, but in Final Destination 3, it’s obvious that the mid-twenty actors are trying and failing to be ‘edgy’ teenagers.
I’ll give the movie credit for not pulling any punches with its curse-laden dialogue and the almost realistic reactions to death, but ultimately, most of the characters come off as cheesy and unnecessary. The movie gains nothing from having a sleazy slacker half repent from his misogynistic ways before getting his brain slashed off okay, it just an extremely weird attempt at black comedy. The pacing of the movie suffers from the director’s attempt at balancing characterization with horror and backstory.
Even yet, it manages to put in one of the most tasteless but not blatant references to 9-11 that I’ve ever seen, making me wonder if the priority of the story making was to make a passable horror movie or freaking Final Destination.
Final Destination 3 is a mediocre movie that was followed by an even worse movie in 2009, and a passable movie in 2011. The movie is flawed, boring, and ultimately not rewatchable.
It has not aged well in the slightest, makes me want to pull my hair out, and is only scary if you don’t think complexly and hate to see what your insides look like. Truly, Netflix needs to pluck this movie out of its library and take it straight back to Walmart, asap!