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Final Destination 3

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Final Destination 3
Final Destination 3.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Wong
Produced by Craig Perry
Warren Zide
Glen Morgan
James Wong
Written by Glen Morgan
James Wong
Based on Characters created 
by Jeffrey Reddick
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Ryan Merriman
Music by Shirley Walker
Cinematography Robert McLachlan
Edited by Chris G. Willingham
Hard Eight Pictures
Practical Pictures
Matinee Pictures
Zide/Perry Productions
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • February 10, 2006 (2006-02-10)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million
Box office $117,719,158[1]

Final Destination 3 is a 2006 American horror film, and the third installment of the Final Destination franchise. It was directed and co-written by James Wong, who also directed and co-wrote the first film, and was produced by Wong and his writing partner Glen Morgan, with franchise producers Craig Perry and Warren Zide. Released on February 10, 2006, the film performed well at the box office and gained a mixed reception from critics.


High school student Wendy Christensen visits an amusement park with her boyfriend Jason Wise, best friend Carrie Dreyer, and Carrie's boyfriend Kevin Fischer for their senior class field trip. As they board the Devil's Flight roller coaster, Wendy has a premonition that the hydraulics securing the seat harnesses and roller coaster cars will fail, killing everyone on board. When she panics a fight breaks out and several people leave or are forced off the ride, including Kevin; best friends Ashley Fruend and Ashlyn Halperin; alumnus Frankie Cheeks; athlete Lewis Romero; and goths Ian McKinley and Erin Ulmer. As they leave they witness the roller coaster derail, killing the remaining passengers, including Jason and Carrie, leaving Wendy devastated.

The next day, Kevin tells Wendy about the explosion of Flight 180 and the subsequent deaths of the survivors. Believing that Kevin is mocking her, Wendy dismisses his theory and leaves. Later on, Ashley and Ashlyn are killed at a tanning salon when a loosened shelf falls and locks them in the overheating tanning beds. Now convinced that Death is still after them, Wendy and Kevin set out to save the remaining survivors using omens hidden within photos that were taken of them the night of the accident.

Frankie dies next at a drive-thru when a runaway truck crashes into the back of Kevin's truck, causing the engine fan to blow out and slice off the back of Frankie's head. The next day, they try to save Lewis at the gym. He tells them he doesn't believe them, shortly before two iron weights from the machine he is using swing down and crush his head. Next, they find Ian and Erin working at a hardware store. Wendy manages to save Ian before he is impaled by falling planks of wood, but a chain reaction causes Erin to stumble backwards onto a nail gun and she is shot repeatedly through the head. This leaves Ian devastated, and causes him to resent Wendy.

Later, Wendy learns that her sister Julie was also on the roller coaster, and rushes to the county fair to save her. She and Kevin are able to prevent Julie from being impaled on a harrow, and Wendy asks Julie who was sitting next to her on the roller coaster, as they are next on Death's list. Her question is answered when Julie's friend Perry Malinowski is suddenly impaled by a flagpole that is launched by a rope tied to a horse, as Wendy and Julie watch in horror. Wendy saves Kevin from an exploding propane canister caused by all the commotion and is confronted by a deranged Ian, who blames her for Erin's death. A set off fireworks go off in their direction, and nearly hit Wendy, but she ducks and they strike a nearby cherry picker instead. As Ian shouts that Death cannot kill him, the cherry picker collapses and crushes him in half. Wendy believes the cherry picker was meant for her, but Ian inadvertently took her place.

Five months later, Wendy is on a subway train with her roommate Laura and friend Sean. After seeing more omens, Wendy attempts to leave the train, but she encounters Julie as she enters the carriage and decides to stay. Wendy then notices Kevin sitting at the back end of the carriage. Suddenly the train derails and everyone on board dies: Julie is hit by a stray wheel; Kevin is ground between the train and tunnel wall; and Wendy survives the crash but is hit by another train. This turns out to be another premonition, and the three attempt to stop the train. The screen then cuts to black, followed by the sound of screeching metal.


For more details on this topic, see List of Final Destination characters.



Final Destination 3 was originally considered as the final part of the trilogy and was in talks since the release of Final Destination 2, according to the interviews of the last-mentioned film's makers. The idea of death omens appearing in photographs was taken from the 1976 horror classic The Omen, in which characters are impaled and decapitated.


"Taking over for Devon Sawa and A.J. Cook before her, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (2005's "Sky High") is Wendy, the beleaguered heroine who experiences the premonition. More so than Cook, Winstead is fully convincing and even touching in her portrayal of a young woman struggling to handle the traumatic events thrown at her."

— Dustin Putman compliments Winstead's performance over Cook's from the previous movie

On March 21, 2005, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman, co-stars of The Ring Two, portrayed the main characters Wendy Christensen and Kevin Fischer.[2] Winstead's performance was met with generally positive reception from critics.

James Berardinelli says she "does as competent a job as one could expect in these dire circumstances."[3] Felix Gonzalez, Jr. speaks positively of Winstead and Merriman's performances, saying "the film is not entirely unwatchable. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman are likeable in the lead roles."[4] In the DVD features, it is revealed by James Wong that he originally intended for Wendy to be a perky blonde.

Winstead, who had previously auditioned for the previous two films, eventually won the role as she reportedly brought emotion and character that impressed Wong and Glen Morgan. The director states that the actors are right for the roles of the characters. “The moment Ryan came in I thought he was the right guy to play Kevin,” says Wong. “Kevin needed to be the kind of guy you want to hang out with, your goofy best buddy, but also someone who could rise to the occasion and become a hero. He had to straddle that line, and also have an all-American, boy-next-door quality. Mary brings a kind of soulfulness to her role as Wendy,” Wong continues. “She is deeply affected by the accident, but she’s strong, and fights to maintain control.” Merriman states his character that he "start off as the happy-golucky guy, the jokester. I play football with my boys, I got my girl, but then losing my sweetheart kind of makes me stop – I start wondering about life and why things happen the way they do. Wendy’s just angry at first, but the accident affects me in a way that makes me want to know what happened,” he continues “I’m the one who finds out about the Flight 180 disaster, which starts the whole ball rolling of Wendy and I trying to interpret the clues in the photos.”[5]

In April 9, 2005, Ginger Snaps actor Kris Lemche and Canadian singer Alexz Johnson took the roles of goths Ian McKinley and Erin Ulmer. Johnson, who recently appeared in the television program Instant Star is the youngest actress to be cast in the film. She originally auditioned for the role of Wendy's sister, Julie but the role later went to Amanda Crew who also originally auditioned for Johnson's new role. “I read twice for the part of Julie, Wendy’s younger sister,” Johnson stated. “I had this real rocker jacket on at the second reading, and I was in a real bad mood. As I was leaving, they called me back to read for Erin. Her dialogue in the scene was very sarcastic and I’ve got a pretty dry sense of humor, so I think the filmmakers picked up on that.”[6]

Lemche delivered his character a lot of best lines in the film. The actors says “He does spout some interesting facts that seem to be just right there on the tips of his fingers, And most of the weird stuff that I’ve talked about I have gone and researched. On the very first day of shooting I had a line about a concept called paradol, which is this human thing of seeing bizarre and, what we’d interpret as sort of prophetic images in very simple things - like seeing the Virgin Mary in a piece of burnt toast and how human beings seem to have this. The first day I had no idea, I had never heard of it before and it was just thrown in there in the script and it’s something I had to sort of ramble off". Lemche continued "During the readthrough I asked Glen Morgan about it and he wrote me notes on it, he gave me websites to look at and it’s been sort of an ongoing education, dealing with these random insertions of weird information.”[7][8] One of the critics wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer: "The characters are so loathsome, you're glad to see them go. Except for two: the goth couple Ian and Erin. He's a cynical know-it-all, like Dennis Miller with black fingernails; she's like Parker Posey with raccoon mascara." [9]

Jesse Moss, who also appeared with Lemche in Ginger Snaps, was cast in the film to play Jason Wise, Wendy's boyfriend. Texas Battle, known to star as a supporting role in the film Coach Carter, portrayed athlete Lewis Romero. Chelan Simmons, who portrayed in television films It and the 2002 television remake of Carrie, took the role of Ashley Freund. Sam Easton, recently appeared in Miramax's film Underclassman, portrayed school alumnus Frankie Cheeks. Novice actress Gina Holden played Kevin's girlfriend and Wendy's best friend Carrie Dreyer.[10]

Crystal Lowe joined the cast as student Ashlyn Halperin. Tony Todd, who appeared in the first two films of the franchise, did not return for his role as the mortician Bludworth but provided the voices of the devil statue at the roller coaster and a subway conductor in the end.

Other cast members, Maggie Ma and Ecstasia Sanders portrays Julie's friends Perry Malinowski and Amber Regan.[11] Dustin Milligan, Cory Monteith and Harris Allan appeared in the film with small roles.[12]


All the death scenes required varying degrees of 2D and 3D graphic enhancements. The roller coaster sequence alone comprised 144 visual effect shots, more than a third of the total 340 vfx shot count. The sequence was assigned to Meteor Studios, where visual effects supervisor Tim Stevenson oversaw the project, with CG supervisors Joey Lessard and Claude Precourt handling the 3D effects. The coaster was custom-designed based on the events described in the script: sharp turn, followed by a steep drop, leading to a loop, etc. Most of the model was hand-built, with some MEL scripts helping out for specific elements. These included a Closest Point On Surface node to help position the tracks supporting brackets. Visual effects supervisor Ariel Velasco-Shaw plans to shots the visual effects on a real roller coaster. All the scenes of the roller coaster crash were shot on the green screen with CGI background. They capture the partial model roller coaster in green screen where the actors will perform in the crash sequence. Multiple carts were suspended in bungee ropes to film the effect of the crash. Velasco-Shaw states. "we decided to capture the exposition plates at a much smaller roller coaster that we digitally extended. In some shots, we dropped the horizon line. In other shots, we rotoscoped the carts and integrated them into a CG background. However, all the action shots were photographed on green screen with single carts or multiple carts mounted on rigs, suspended on bungees, etc."[13]

"A few custom techniques and tools were developed to streamline the process of going from layout to lighting," Claude Precourt explains. "One of the difficulties of this project was that we could not film the actors in movement, on real roller coaster tracks. So, using the previsualization as a reference, we animated the camera as the inverse of the movement of the carts. We gave these animations as a reference to the team on the set whose job was to recreate by hand those camera moves with the real carts and the actors. The carts were static, but were bent to the right arc, again according to our references." "When the filmed plates came back to us, all we had to do was to matchmove the camera and transfer the animation to the carts, most of the time by eye. That was still a little tricky, but overall far less expensive than having six carts on individual, computerized, gimbals and having to track them all individually afterward." Parts of the roller coaster structure were built with shading variables, so they could be used in multiple places in the ride. As a result, a single, small chunk of RIB associated with a piece could be dynamically loaded at render time, saving CPU cycles as well as memory. [14]

The deaths of the victims in the roller coaster crash required CGI effects on screen. They employed digital doubles. "Every actor had a corresponding CG double," Claude Precourt recounts. "We started by modeling a generic digital double. Once the UVs were unwrapped, we took this generic geometry and applied it to the cyberscan of each actor. We used this technique to generate 18 different digital doubles, each of them with the same geometry and an initial UV set. We then tweaked each of the doubles until we were all satisfied with the result. For many shots where they were seen in the distance, we had them sat in and constrained to the carts. We then created a few animation behavior cycles of the group (relaxed, scared, panicked), so that the layout and lighting teams could bring that up and have a completely animated scene in minutes. "[15]

While Meteor Studios was busy tacking large-scale disaster sequences, Digital Dimension was handling individual death scenes, which amounted to more than 100 effects shots. Benoit Girard supervised the project, with Jerome Morin as executive producer, Jason Crosby as 3D supervisor, and Leandro Visconti as compositing supervisor. "We worked on multiple sequences, enhancing, and sometimes creating, the deaths of most of the characters with the one exception being the tanning bed sequence," visual effects producer Chris Del Conte recounts. Certain deaths were really detailed and intricate.[16]

One of the most challenging scenes is the death of Ian McKinley by a two-ton lift that cuts him clean in half. Velasco-Shaw originally shot a clean plate of the lift falling, and a plate of actor Kris Lemche miming being crushed and falling to the ground, with his bottom covered in a partial green screen suit. After setting those plates, the director felt "he wanted more of a gruesome punch for the shot. We then took a standard CG body that roughly matched the actor's height." Del Conte explains, "We ran several animation simulations crushing the body with a CG object that matched the speed, size and trajectory of the practical lift." The director picked the version he liked the most, based on body movement, performance and how the torso settled on the grass. A new plate was then shot with Lemche acting out the previous animation and getting his body into that end position. "We then took this new practical plate and added multiple elements of blood and gore: pouring blood, blood bags, guts elements, cartilage bits Using Digital Fusion, we combined the final effect with the falling lift." To create the shots, Digital Dimension employed SynthEyes for tracking, 3ds Max for modeling and animation and mental ray for rendering.[17]

The tanning bed death scene was assigned to Soho VFX. It consisted of about 35 shots featuring CG skin, glass, as well as fire and smoke mixed with live fire and smoke elements, visual effects supervisor Allan Magled explains, "For the shot where one of the girls fall through the tanning bed glass as it breaks, we actually used a CG double. Her whole body and bikini was CG, as well as the glass and bulbs that smashed under her. We also added CG cuts and shards of glass to the other girls face as the tanning bulbs exploded towards her face The 3D elements were created in Maya and composited in Shake."[18]

In filming the effects of the subway crash in the epilogue of the film, Clement generated a CG environment reproducing the main volumes of the set: When it came the time to render the effects, we benefited from depth information. We were also able to generate shadows from the CG objects on the real environment. Modeling and texture were fairly basic since we were not looking for rendering these CG elements as beauty; they were done for shadow and collision detection purposes only. To match-move the train efficiently, we came up with a custom rig that constrained the train on the tracks. The tracker could adjust the shape of the tracks and adjust the train independently with speed, orientation and free wheel rotation.[19]


The soundtrack for Final Destination 3 was composed by Shirley Walker, who composed the scores for the first two films. Final Destination 3 is also the only film in the series to not have a released musical score.

Songs that are featured in the movie are:

  1. "Smokin" – Performed by Boston
  2. "Amos Moses" – Performed by Jerry Reed
  3. "Turn Around, Look at Me" – Performed by The Lettermen
  4. "New York City" – Performed by the Statler Brothers
  5. "One Step Forward" – Performed by The Desert Rose Band
  6. "Bed of Rose's" – Performed by the Statler Brothers
  7. "Turn" – Performed by Eddie Rabbitt
  8. "I Love a Rainy Night" – Performed by Eddie Rabbitt
  9. "Love Train" – Performed by Tommy Lee (main theme)
  10. "Killing Time" – Performed by (hed) p.e.
  11. "Make the World Go Away" – Performed by Mickey Gilley
  12. "Tribal Dance" – Performed by 2 Unlimited
  13. "Turn Around, Look at Me" – Matt Ellis
  14. "Love Rollercoaster" – Performed by The Ohio Players


Box office

Final Destination 3 grossed $19,173,094 on its opening weekend. At the end of its run, March 30, it made $54,098,051 in North America while grossing $63,621,107 overseas, for a worldwide gross of $117,719,158. For a time, it was the highest grossing film in the Final Destination franchise until the arrival of 2009's The Final Destination, which grossed $186,167,139 worldwide.[1]

Home media

The film was released on DVD on July 25, 2006 in both widescreen and fullscreen. There is a second disc of special features, including three documentaries. Two of these documentaries involve the making of the film, while the third is about the final girl character in horror films.

The DVD also includes an optional "Choose Their Fate" feature which allows the viewers to make different decision at few points in the film. Most provide only a minor alternate scenes, but the first choice allows the viewer to stop the four characters from getting on the roller coaster before the premonition, ending the film immediately.


Critical response

Final Destination 3 received mixed reviews from critics. Rating site Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film holds a 43% approval rating, based on 115 reviews and an audience rating of 58%. The site's consensus is: "Final Destination 3 is more of the same: gory and pointless, with nowhere new to go." BBC film reviewer Stella Papamichael described the reference to the 9/11 attacks as tasteless and gave the film 3 stars out of 5; she awarded the first installment four stars and the second three. Positive reviews praised the death scenes, such as the tanning bed and nail gun deaths, describing them as "gruesome" and "painful". Most of the critics praised Winstead's performance, stating: "...the real tragedy is that promising young actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead must endure this torture."


The film was nominated at the 33rd Saturn Awards for Best Horror Film and Best DVD Special Edition Release for the Thrill Ride Edition on May 10, 2007, but lost to The Descent and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, respectively.[20] It was also nominated at the 2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for Highest Body Count, Line That Killed (Best One-Liner) for Crystal Lowe, Most Thrilling Killing for the drive-thru scene and Sickest FX (Best Special Effects).[21]


External links