Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Kris Lemche, Alexz Johnson, Sam Easton, Jesse Moss, Gina Holden, Texas Battle, Chelan Simmons, Crystal Lowe, Amanda Crew, Maggie Ma, Ecstasia Sanders, Jody Racicot, Patrick Gallagher
Written by: James Wong, Glen Morgan, based on characters created by Jeffrey Reddick
Directed by: James Wong
MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some nudity
Running Time: 93
Date: 02/10/2006

Final Destination 3 (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Coaster to Ghoster

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In retrospect, this horror series has become something rather unique, especially after the unexpectedly clever fifth and final entry in 2011. Unlike many horror films, it has no serial killers or ghosts or vampires or zombies or monsters. The villain is simply the force known as death. Though the characters may try, there's no puzzle to figure out, no way to fight. The suspense comes from hoping against hope as death mounts complex, spectacular, and gruesome Rube Goldberg-style accidents to kill those that have previously escaped its grasp.

Final Destination 3 (2006) begins, like the others, with a major disaster, this time a rollercoaster crash that kills many riders. Teen Wendy (the talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has a vision of the crash beforehand and manages to get several of her fellow passengers off the ride. Death is not pleased, and begins hunting them down, one by one, at a drive-thru, at a tanning salon, in a hardware store, and, finally, at a festival with fireworks.

Aside from the unusual, monster-less plot, the loss of life actually means something here; the departed are missed and mourned by the living. It's a scary movie stripped down to its most existential and primal state. James Wong, a veteran of "The X-Files" on TV directed and co-wrote, just as he did on the first Final Destination (2000).

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