FINAL DESTINATION 3 (James Wong). 92 minutes. Opens Friday (February 10). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NN
By the third instalment in a horror movie series you can generally kiss exposition and plot goodbye. We know the formula; just keep the body count high and - between the jolts - try to surprise us.
That's clearly the case with Final Destination 3 , the third and least plot-driven chapter in the clever horror-premonition franchise.
Like the earlier FDs, this one (directed by the original's James Wong ) opens with a teen foreseeing her gruesome death. Before strapping into a roller coaster, Wendy (a one-note Mary Elizabeth Winstead ) has a vision that she and a lot of her high school senior class will die on the ride. When she and six others bolt minutes before the ride crashes, they eventually start getting picked off. They've escaped death's design, and the Grim Reaper is coming back for them.
Like the other films, this one relies on inventive, Rube Goldbergesque set pieces for the deaths. You won't want to visit a tanning salon or a Home Depot-style store soon. And make sure you employ a spotter for that next bench press.
What makes this ride more unsettling than the others is the way those roller coaster survivors walk away from the accident scene without registering any fear. Why so jaded? Have they seen too many scary movies?
The outside world is also completely absent: no cops, teachers or parents. I'm pretty sure this isn't a statement - that, say, life is an amusement park. All I can think is that for the film's target demo, the scariest thought isn't getting a steel spike rammed into your head but actually - ew! - turning 30.