In the End Pt 3 (Final Destination 3, 2006)

final_destination_3_posterFinal Destination 3 returns it’s focus to high school kids (led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) surviving the near death experience when someone has a vision (Winstead’s Wendy)…this time on a roller coaster.

Wendy has a tragic vision of a roller coaster accident.  Getting off the roller coaster Wendy and her friends narrowly avoid the accident.  Her boyfriend comments on Flight 180, but blows it off thinking he is mocking her.  But as survivors start dying, Wendy starts seeing the signs in photos from the  night of the accident (a la 1976’s the Omen). This time Wendy gets no help from Tony Todd’s Bludworth…pretty much abandoning any suggestion that he might be more than a mortician).

She actually puts this together late in the film.  The characters are not terribly compelling in the film, offering very little opportunity to get to know characters before they die.  The characters are roughed out stereotypes.  The aggressive jock, the goth kids, the hot vapid girls, the clueless and unsuccessful Pickup Artist.

The film saw the return of Director James Wong to the franchise, but that does little to improve things.  The film Does not tie the characters to Flight 180 in any way, which is fine, and explains why Final Destination 2’s presumption of tying up the loose ends of 180 do not impact things.  One gets the sense that the deaths are meant to be somewhat ironic.  The death scenes get even more elaborate, leading to a lot of spectacle, but little more.  Usually the film has one big death moment that seems worse that the others and in this film it is death by tanning bed.  The film has no real emotional core to make you care about the characters, several seem to be intentionally annoying so that you are less bothered by their dying.

Final Destination 3 adds nothing to the franchise’s mythology, nor does it put it to real interesting use.

In the End Pt One (Final Destination, 2000)

final_destination_posterWelcome the the Final Destination Franchise, where a bunch of white people and one black guy try and escape the clutches of death.  This is both a joke and a fact.  There is one (sometimes two-one is almost always a police officer/FBI guy) black guy per movie.

Anyways, the film tells the story of Alex and his classmates who are going on a class trip to France.  While sitting on the plane, Alex has a terrifying vision of the plane exploding mid-flight.  He starts to notice all sorts of things occurring just as they did in the vision.  Panicking, Alex starts to yell that they need to get off the plane.  He and a few other students are dragged from the flight.  Angered  by being removed, tough guy Carter starts a fight with Alex, only to be ended by the plane exploding.

This leads to Alex being a figure of fear and revulsion.  His classmates are frightened over what he knows and how he would know it.  The night after the funeral, Alex’s friend Todd dies in mysterious circumstances, and Alex starts to see real patterns.  The only person to believe him at first is Clear (last name Rivers, 0i).  But as more people from the flight die shocking deaths, the others come around and try and find a way to cheat death.

The premise of the film is a pretty clever one, though it seems like they were not fully sure the nature of the situation.  Is death sentient?  Todd’s death has the most intense lead up of the film, where Todd is clipping nose hairs (which leads you to think he might get impaled) , then plugs in a radio, the whole time water from a toilet leak creeps towards him.  After he is dead, the water seeps back to the toilet, as if covering it’s tracks.  This is really the only time it seems freakishly supernatural.  Otherwise the deaths are elaborate but plausible as chance.

The film features Tony Todd in a brief appearance as a mortician who explains the movies plot fr the characters.  One gets the sense that Todd’s character was meant to be a bigger role.

Behind the camera were a few X-Files alum and they try and work their magic here.  The death sequences range from shocking to elaborate.  Overall, I find a lot to like with this film.  While the franchise is more of a guilty pleasure for me, this first film is one I found quite enjoyable.

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