1½ stars (out of four)
If you haven't already had your fill of horror movies where 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 "F.D.3," director James Wong and co-writer Glen Morgan (makers of "F.D.1") 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 over and over.)
"F.D.3" once again introduces us to a cliched teen bunch we know are headed for bad, bloody times when we see them wandering around a rat's nest of an amusement park, shot in grimy hues that suggest an ill-kept cemetery. 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 barely avert mass disaster.
(In the first movie, the calamity was a plane crash, in the second, a massive highway pileup. In "F.D.3," 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 insanely complicated slaughters they all suffer, each constructed like one of those Rube Goldberg cartoons or Buster Keaton comedies. (The worst 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 junior vampirish-looking Erin and Kris Lemche as her rebel boyfriend Ian. None of them does much that's new or 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 "F.D.1"--whose cast included a Valerie Lewton and a Hitchcock--there are a number of characters here named after famous horror film luminaries, including Romero (named after "Living Dead " creator George), a Polanski ( after "Repulsion's" Roman), a Freund ( "The Mummy's" Karl) and a Halperin ( "White Zombie's" Victor).
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'
Directed by James Wong; written by Glen Morgan, Wong; photographed by Robert McLachlan; edited by Chris Willingham; production designed by Mark Freeborn; music by Shirley Walker; produced by Morgan, Craig Perry, Wong, Warren Zide. A New Line Cinema release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:32. MPAA rating: R (strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudity).
Wendy - Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Kevin - Ryan Merriman
Lewis - Texas Battle
Erin - Alexz Johnson
Ian - Kris Lemche
Julie - Amanda CrewCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times