With Final Destination 5 currently in cinemas, Entertainment in Video have seized the opportunity to release some of the other franchise instalments on Blu-ray.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the series, I do have a fondness for the first two films, and there are elements I enjoy in the others, even if they’re largely quite poor. I hadn’t seen Final Destination 3 since its original release, so I was interested to volunteer when it came up for review.
Preparing for the high school year book by taking photographs at a local fair, Wendy (Mary-Elizabeth Winstead) has a vision of a rollercoaster crash, which kills her and her friends. Disturbed, Wendy causes a fuss and gets removed from the ride shortly before its departure, along with some of her classmates.
When Wendy’s vision comes true, and those who remained on the ride die, the survivors find themselves suffering bizarre deaths one by one, in the order they would have done had they stayed on the ride. Wendy and her classmates must find a way to cheat death and not suffer the same fates as their classmates.
I appreciate that a certain level of suspension of disbelief is a given going into these kinds of films, but the filmmakers expect the audience to accept that a massive and highly elaborate rollercoaster would appear at the kind of fair that pops up in small towns for a few days each year. No doubt the actual coaster would have been somewhere in Canada, which for the purposes of this production, doubled as the small Pennsylvanian town of McKinley.
You’d have thought that a rollercoaster crash would have been quite exciting – well, not for those on the coaster, for whom it’d be a bloody terrifying experience – but instead, it just plays out as dull and uninspired. The plane crash and motorway pile up seen in the first two films, while on some levels ridiculous, had elements of realism that helped to engage you and relate to the situation. The filmmakers here seem to have decided to forgo such things, and deliver ridiculous deaths instead.
That’s pretty much all the film is: a series of deaths to pretty and irritating young things, with no character development whatsoever. The good point about this is that, if you find someone annoying, it’s only a matter of time until they meet their demise in an elaborate set piece.It’s sadly what tends to happen to horror movies when they turn into a franchise – when they move away from what made the first instalments so interesting, and just end up delivering the basic elements the filmmakers believe the audience wants.
Ultimately, though, without interesting and developed characters, the film becomes little more than a series of vignettes, where people are disposed of in increasingly ludicrous ways, so if that’s your thing, you’re in luck. But if you want more from your films, this entry in the Final Destination series probably isn’t for you.
I’d say that my favourite thing about the film is that one of the supporting actors is called Texas Battle (imagine how happy you’d be with a name like that). And generally, if that’s the only praise I can direct at a film, it’s not a great sign.
The picture and sound here are fine but nothing more. As expected it’s full HD 1080p for the picture and Dolby Digital True HD 5.1 for the audio. It’s an improvement over DVD, which is the least you’d expect, but generally, it’s not the kind of transfer that will impress anybody. On the positive side, there are very few overt visual faults; the film is a little on the dark side on occasion, but mostly, the image is clear.
The sound on the Blu-ray release for Final Destination featured a solid sound set up. This second sequel, however, doesn’t compare favourably to that release. This is partly down to the lack of atmosphere in the film itself, but during its set pieces, sound systems should get a decent enough work out, at least.
The selection of extras aren’t bad considering the type of release this is, but again, the disc’s pretty much for fans only. There’s an in-depth making of documentary, a run of the mill commentary, an animated short on supposed real life incidents of cheating death, theatrical trailers, and a featurette exploring the subgenre of dead teenager movies, which is a not-too-subtle advert for some of Entertainment in Video’s catalogue titles.
Ultimately, this is an above average release in terms of picture and sound for a below average film, with a fairly weak selection of extras. As such, I’d suggest that this is one for franchise devotees only, and certainly not the kind of release for someone to buy on impulse.
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You can rent or buy Final Destination 3 at Blockbuster.co.uk.