Derailed

Final Destination 3 went off the rails. Although Final Destination and Final Destination 2 are unmistakably linked, the third installment is standalone. First movie director James Wong returns, but none of the cast returns except for Tony Todd who ominously lends his voice to a devil mascot. The formula is exactly the same, but the coroner or any survivors aren’t around to tell the latest victims what’s going on. I actually remember when Final Destination 3 come out, because of the inciting incident. The third movie might be my favorite since the deaths are more memorable, creative, or unique.

It’s also the only one where I recognized the lead played this time by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She’s the best actress in a cast full of TV actors. Since Final Destination 3 is post-Saw, deaths are even more gory and there is extended nudity for a tanning bed sequence. The new lead is high school photographer Wendy Christensen. Everyone is established in a nighttime graduation trip to an amusement park. Wendy’s premonition preys on the common fear that a roller coaster could derail while riding it. It’s more self-contained like the original plane explosion, but just as horrifying when the Devil’s Flight roller coaster does derail. The 10 survivors don’t include Wendy’s boyfriend that fills her with guilt and depression.

The remaining survivors include willing friend Kevin Fischer, ditzy friends Ashley & Ashlyn, sleazy graduate Frankie Cheeks, cocky athlete Lewis Romero, goth couple Ian McKinley & Erin Ulmer, and 2 mystery passengers. It’s not exactly original since The Omen did it, but one unique element is having Wendy predict deaths using her photographs. Almost every death stands out since it preys on a specific fear. There’s the death by tanning bed malfunction, death by a workout machine, death by nail gun, death by cherry picker collapse, and a particularly unexpected death involving a drive thru. When Wendy realizes her sister Julie was one of the passengers, she tries to save her. Though the ending is just as hopeless when a subway derailment finishes the job. Final Destination 3 ruined roller coasters for everyone.

3. Final Destination 3

Devil’s Flight roller coaster crash

Preceded by: Final Destination 2 & Followed by: The Final Destination

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