Final Destination 3

Final Destination 3

Rated 3.0

In the early 20th century, a cartoonist by the name of Rube Goldberg attained popular attention with his series of cartoons featuring complicated devices that took absurdist steps to achieve a simple objective; essentially, building a better mousetrap taken to ludicrous extremes. He could be seen as an antecedent to Wile E. Coyote and his incompetent reliance on Acme products, and even more recently with writer Glen Morgan and director James Wong’s increasingly misnamed Final Destination franchise.

The premise of the pitch-black comedies is simple: A group of fresh faces are about to embark on an adventure when one of them suffers a premonition that they are all about to die horribly in a cataclysmic event. A small group splinters off only to see the tragedy unfold exactly as foretold. Unfortunately for these seeming lucky survivors, Death not only has a quota to meet, but also a wicked sense of humor. One-by-one they are picked off in a series of Rube Goldberg-ian splatter vignettes. No real story to get in the way here, just darkly comic nihilism.

The third entry is not unsurprisingly the weakest of the lot. With a mid-air explosion of an airliner offered in the first entry, and a spectacularly gruesome interstate pileup in the second, the roller coaster mash-up offered here suffers a bit in comparison, particularly to the rushed-looking nature of the CGI effects. The creativity of each demise also seems diminished, as if coming up with the complicated setups were played out by the end of No. 2. Perhaps they need to have a contest called “Create a Better Death Trap.”

Still, as black comedies go, this sick puppy delivers with the suspense and giddily morbid laughs.