Final Destination 3 (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Final Destination 3</strong> (2006)

(On DVD, February 2009) You would think that a teen horror series’ third installment would have sucked all of the thematic enjoyment of the premise, leaving little but a string of cheap kills and generic characters. And you would be right, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Final Destination 3 is a complete waste of time. Despite the overly familiar nihilism of the premise (which was charming in the first film, but meaningless by the third one), the set-pieces of the film are conceived with a certain degree of ingenious cleverness, and the direction isn’t completely incompetent. There is a bit of nudity to redeem the over-the-top gore, and the writers have a better-than-average understanding of the cat-and-mouse game between the audience and the movie that the series has set up for itself. (The film is strong in Rube-Goldbergian machineries of death, and they generally work more surprisingly than anyone would expect) Don’t go into this film expecting more than a standard teen horror gore-fest and you’ll be fine. This isn’t anywhere near the original, but it sustains at least a bit of attention. The 2-discs DVD edition has a pretty nice array of features, from a cute animation short on everyday dangers to a self-aware discussion of “Dead Teenager Movies” to an excellent making-of documentary that is far too good and entertaining for the kind of film this is: it’s actually liable to make you fonder of the film than you’d think.

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