If you haven't already had your fill of horror movies in which sexy high schoolers are gruesomely murdered — either by a maniacal killer, a ghoulish monster or, as in the "Final Destination" series, by the fickle fingers of fate and death — then "Final Destination 3" is a gorefest that should either slake your worst appetites or drive you to the exits.
In "FD3," director James Wong and co-writer Glen Morgan (makers of "FD1") continue their cycle of thematically related horror flicks, each with the same general plot: You can't cheat death. (But apparently you can cheat audiences repeatedly.)
"FD3" once again introduces a clichéd teen bunch we know are headed for bad, bloody times when we see them wandering around a rat's nest of an amusement park. Once again, one of the kids — in this case, moody teen Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) — has an eerie premonition that causes her and a few others to avert disaster. (In the first movie, the calamity was a plane crash; in the second, a highway pileup. In "FD3," it's a roller coaster run amok.) Once again, after the clairvoyant teen saves the others, the survivors are picked off by an apparently miffed Death. And once again, the movie's main source of entertainment seems to lie in the complicated slaughters they all suffer, each constructed like one of those Rube Goldberg cartoons or a Buster Keaton comedy. (The worst scene shows two initially giggly girls getting artificially tanned to death.)
The cast is headed by Winstead and Ryan Merriman as Kevin, her fellow survivor and eventual new boyfriend, along with Texas Battle as hot-tempered Lewis Romero, Alexz Johnson as vampirish-looking Erin and Kris Lemche as her boyfriend Ian. None of them does much that's interesting, but why blame them? "Final Destination 3" posits a world in which the characters tend to be carrion, escaped carrion or carrion-to-be: hardly an actor's dream.
It is, however, amusing to read the final credits. Just as in "FD1" — whose cast included a Valerie Lewton and a Hitchcock — there are a number of characters named after horror film luminaries, including Romero (named after "Living Dead" creator George), a Polanski (after "Repulsion's" Roman) and a Freund (after "The Mummy's" Karl).
Seeing those names, in fact, reminds you of all the better movies you could have been watching instead of "Final Destination 3."
"Final Destination 3"
MPAA rating: R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudityCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times