It’s too late for me, but save yourselves

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It’s too late for me, but save yourselves


A malevolent force engineers a terrible tragedy. One person has a vision of the carnage and comes to save the others, only to find out that death is a greedy bastard. This is what almost happened to me.
I had the vision ― I knew “Final Destination 3” was going to be awful ― but I did nothing to save myself from the agonizing horror that I foresaw.
You know the gimmick. A kid sees his friends’ fiery dismemberment coming on some form of transport ― a plane, a train etc. ― and saves (some of) them, only to find out later that the survivors are being mysteriously killed in the order that they would have had they stayed on the flying/rolling deathtrap. It’s the classic story of boy meets girl; boy and girl meet Death; Death shoots their friend in the face with a nail gun.
This time, the willfully evil contraption is a roller coaster called “Devil’s Flight,” which means we have an opening sequence that almost writes itself. After all, carnivals trump even dentists’ offices and isolated old cabins/motels for automatic creepiness. Clowns, circus freaks, inflatable palm trees ―Wendy (Mary Winstead), the yearbook historian, is freaked by the whole deal. She’s on a double-date for her senior trip with her boyfriend Jason (Jesse Moss), and their friends Kevin (Ryan Merriman) and his girlfriend, but when they finally get to the front of the line at the coaster she has her vision, with brake lines snapping loose and bodily fluids splattering all over the tracks.
Her incoherent hysterics manage to get half the kids off the ride before it turns into a pile of mangled steel. Predictably and, I suppose, unfortunately, her boyfriend and Kevin’s girlfriend are not among the survivors. But seven of Kevin and Wendy’s classmates are, and soon they realize that the events of the first film, which they found on the Internet (imagine that ― “Final Destination” has continuity), are repeating themselves. This time clues to each kid’s death are contained in the photographs Wendy took of them the night of the coaster catastrophe.
A glare in the picture of two cheerleaders (Chelan Simmons, Crystal Lowe) seems to foretell that they will be locked in tanning sarcophagi at dangerously high settings with no hope of rescue. This is the first of many over-the-top death scenes; naturally, we have to see the girls’ skin being burned off amid their blood-curdling shrieks. Still to come is a weight room decapitation, a brain-scrambling with a motor fan, a fairground impaling and the aforementioned nail-gun carnage.
Why sit through it? The same reason you’d ride a roller coaster ― to test your fear in a safe environment. Just replace the fear of flying off into space with the fear of having your skull crushed by slabs of metal. If that appeals to you, you’re already in line to see this little masterpiece. If you’re like me, there’s nothing fun about pointless organ liquification backed by a completely uninspired, mind-numbing plot.
I can at least admire the craftsmanship that went into some of these deaths. That head looked pretty real as it was being chopped to bits by a motor.
But for the rest of the movie, consider this your premonition of evils to come, and save yourself.

Final Destination 3
Horror / English
93 min.
Opens Thursday

by Ben Applegate
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