The Final Destination 3D
Like a greasy kebab after a night on the cold hard tiles, the Final Destination franchise rears it’s deathly head again. This time with an ominous “The” prefix and the promise of even more stunning death scenes thanks to the 3D Force Engine behind the zero plot, zero character, all action chasis.
In all I’m a fan of the Final Destination series, while never scaling great heights the first and third installments were fun and tenacious efforts that delivered a decent balance of gore, ingenuity and cool that was enough to have me smiling and wincing in equal measure. I was looking forward to what they might do with the 3D engine as it could have been the thing to give the series the much needed kick in the balls it required to stave its decent into death porn mediocrity. Sadly, and on almost every level I can think of, it disappoints.
On the strength of this showing you’d be hard pressed to believe that the premise began as an X-Files spec script as there is absolutely none of the clever story writing and character development on display in ‘The’ Final Destination. Cardboard characters of no specific background are left floating in a peed in pool of effects, predictable plot twists and self parody .
References are everywhere. The opening credits recreate the deaths from the previous movies in an animated CSI x-ray “see the bones break” fashion that is actually very good but soon the film stumbles over it’s own self referential feet. The ‘McKinley’ Speedway, ‘Clear Rivers’ Water and number 180 all make appearances (the latter being as lazy as to just have the first films plot explained to us as if it’s not going to explain the plot of the very movie it’s in) which only move to surprise me that Tony Tod (1992’s Candyman) has not returned for another cameo after being in all three predecessors. By the time one of our unfortunate protagonists meets her maker while watching a 3D in movie movie, I was beginning to think I was getting more out of the reference than the movie itself.
The biggest flaw in this showpiece is it’s complete disregard for any details not related to either deaths or the other films in the series. The characters all have little or no background, no setting or sense of self bar for one security guard with a painful past that goes a little way to explaining his abandoning of reason when deciding to trust our main unlucky couple. A couple it should be mentioned; who appear to have endless free time, ability to book spur of the moment holiday’s, own a lovely home/car and yet have no hint of work or cash flow.
Ultimately though, if you’re coming to a Final Destination movie for strong characters and intricately woven story then you’ve missed the boat already. This movie is all about the torturous and creeping death lain upon each of escapee victims, and so it shall be. While still creative the deaths here lack the spark and tension of previous outings. It’s mostly over quite quickly, which explains why at 11, this installment has more deaths than in any other. They are predictable to a degree and often lack interest with the director Ellis (who also reigned FD2) seemingly happy to go with the 3D “things poking into/out of” people angle.
The production line youth cast are all dispatched without us ever caring more about them that what gruesome way they will find their end and with the plot as simple and direct as it comes it really falls to the 3D to be this installments savior. While blurry at points it’s used aptly enough throughout, not just in the deaths but in the premonitions as well. While I thought the deaths, stunted as they were, did find a new dynamic richness in their gasp inducing horror, the premonitions were tacky and overdone. How many times can a vital clue be made to jump out at you before it becomes a cliché?
Overall it heralds the final yelp for a franchise rightly on it’s last legs. With a story beyond stretched and an idea now spun out the series can meet it’s maker satisfied that it’s conjured up just enough to make it watchable. If you haven’t seen the preceding 3 then check them out before you watch this, even if just the first one, as otherwise your find little here other than fun but graphic death scenes interspersed by some random twenty-somethings talking about nothing you really care about. Time for Death to try something else, bowling anyone?