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Same ol’ Destination

The beautiful thing that producers of the Final Destination franchise are well aware of is that they can turn films into a mega-series, which is just what happened with Halloween, Freddie Krueger and Jason. They hire brand new teenagers to die every time, change the setting of the first deadly accident and let viewers’ gory imagination run free.

Need proof? Final Destination 3 entered theaters today.

In the last month or so, three separate horror flicks were number one at the box office, that is if you can count the new Underworld installment as scary. Sure, it may have be January, one of the worst months for quality films, (September falls into that category, too), but horror producers know what they’re doing. After months of Oscar speculation, screenings and releases, it’s time to entertain the other side of our psyche — not the one longing for meaningful and quality entertainment, but the one desperate to see blood, guts and carnage.

And that’s certainly what FD3 provides.

The premise is the same as in the first two flicks: a foredoomed teenager has a vision of a terrible accident that comes true shortly after. In this one, which takes place at an amusement park, the teenager has a vision of the rollercoaster she and her friends are on. Shortly after getting on, she and her friends decide to get off. The vision comes true, and everyone who didn’t get off dies. But death, according to the story, has a plan, and those who got off the ride start dying off in bizarre accidents.

As the two main characters, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman, struggle to deal with the deaths of their loved ones, they decipher clues about how and when they’re going to die. As they try to warn the others, they, and of course the audience, witness some of the most gruesome and well-designed deaths – being burned alive in a tanning machine, decapitated by head-smashing, impalement from a nail gun – all gory, bloody and very, very graphic.

The movie accomplishes everything it aims for: scaring the living bejesus out of anyone considering riding a roller coaster in the future, finding new ways to make the “accidents” seem plausible and terrifying, and inducing shrieks of disbelief and disgust from the audience. The special effects and makeup are realistic enough to creep out even the most seasoned horror flick advocates.

Still, the flick is nothing but death galore, filled to the brim with long, frightened looks offscreen toward the unrelenting doom and destruction. The actors are like any in a scary movie: pretty and easily dispensable. Indeed, the film tries to make a point of how certain and unexpected death can be to unsuspecting and unprepared teenagers in their prime.

As far as scary movies go, FD3 is decent, though not spectacular. And while this should probably be the last installment of the series, the producers will surely revive the series with yet another improbable sequence of destruction.

Grade: B-

Running time: 132 mins

Rated: R