Final Destination 3 James Wong

Final Destination 3 James Wong
Despite plots as clear as overhead transparencies, Final Destination and its first sequel were pretty damn appetising. Sure, the stories were formulaic: lead character realises he/she and his/her mix of fellow smug and/or paranoid escapees have eluded death and an inevitable cycle of "offing" begins. But with the FD films it's not so much about building a story as it is merely building a foreboding tension before one of the grisly exit scenes strikes.

Like numerous horror franchises preceding it, the thought of a second sequel is the sign of two things: the producers realising they still have some leftover killing scenes from the original brainstorming sessions, and realising the bloodlust moviegoers still posses for witnessing half-assed attempts at killing off a cast in ill-fated circumstances. Even with Wong — the creator of the series and the writer/director of the first film — back on board for number three, this third instalment drinks the creative juices dry after the second death sequence.

Beginning at an amusement park on grad night, Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) foresees her demise via a rollercoaster derailing (a tasty disaster we've all imagined) and throws a wrench into the grim reaper's plans. Of course, she freaks out and, of course, others are kicked off the ride with her, meaning Death has to concoct its plan all over again with some original, overly complicated killings.

FD3's only other hit comes early in a tanning salon, where a couple of brainless blondes are fried in some tanning beds — again, another nightmarish sequence fulfilled. From there the film loses the plot and Wong gets sloppy, creating a thread of messy, meaningless deaths that feel as though they were assembled out of desperation without as much careful consideration and construction as the previous films' exit scenes.

A red herring is even thrown in to progress the series, as Wendy finds clues in photos taken on the fateful grad night, but they're so ambiguously designed that it proves to be just another failed attempt in trying to save a bad film.

There's laughter (at the film's expense, that is), rolling of eyes and few good times had, resulting in the conclusion that Final Destination 3 (one can only hope) is the last stop on this thrill ride because it can't get any less thrilling than this. (Alliance Atlantis)