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Film / Final Destination 3

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"The ones who got off that roller coaster are still going to die,...unless we can figure out how to stop it."
Wendy, Final Destination 3 trailer

Final Destination 3 is the third film in the Final Destination series, released in 2006.

Wendy and her high school friends are visiting an amusement park with her graduating class. But after a feeling of dread that follows her through the night and hopping on a roller coaster, she receives a premonition that the ride is going to claim the lives of her and her friends. She succeeds in saving most of them, but many still die including her boyfriend Jason. Worse still, Wendy starts noticing the pictures she took of her peers seem to foreshadow their respective demises, and as Death starts a new list and chases the survivors to balance the books she takes it upon herself to try and save her friends.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Expansion: The novelization provides more backstories and insights for the characters.
    • Wendy planned on losing her virginity to Jason after their visit to the amusement park just before breaking it off with him, because she felt their lives were going different places.
    • Ashlyn was a poor girl with a single father, while Ashley was well off and had two fitness-obsessed parents. The two girls met purely by chance and became best friends; Ashlyn dreamed of being Ashley's twin, while Ashley was jealous of Ashlyn's boyfriend, afraid that he was going to tear them apart. Both of them are also not natural ones.
    • Frankie's perverted attitude is a cover for the fact that he's sexually anxious. He puts up his roommate's photo on an online dating site and comes up with a bad story about how he had cancer to explain why they look different, even trying to bleach his hair to make the story more believable, only for it to come out a bright orange instead of blonde. He then "borrows" his roommate's car before driving to the drive-thru where he's killed.
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    • Julie has a heart condition.
    • Lewis' family changed his name from Luis Romero when they moved from Cuba. He's strongly loyal to his family, is a Christian and strongly superstitious, and he takes steroids.
    • Ian is descended from the McKinley's that founded the town and is well-off, but was raised to have "proper work ethic" with his father giving him a measly allowance and forcing him to get a real job and go to public school. Ian learns, instead, to hate money and dreams of being a starving poet. Erin, meanwhile, had a vampire fetish and was introduced to the "gothic underground" after meeting Ian in grade school. She decided to move on and grow up, but only after she gets enough money from her job to move to California and leave Ian behind. Both of them are also rationalist atheists who practice Wiccan rituals for medicinal purposes.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The roller coaster accident. Where do we even start?
    • Loss of hydraulic pressure would actually lock the shoulder bars in place as a failsafe. They then could be manually released with a pedal.
    • Most coasters have backup restraint systems (such as a seatbelt) on top of the shoulder bar failsafe.
    • A tiny video camera wouldn't even slow the train down, let alone knock off wheels and derail it.
    • The train splitting in half would actually cause the coaster to slow down as it would suddenly have half the mass and momentum. Losing wheels would add even more drag. The end result would be the coaster either bottoming in a valley or locking up on a hill. This has happened in Real Life because a coaster went out too light (too few riders) or even because of excessive wind.
    • The loops are designed so that a free-rolling coaster won't actually hang on them, but will roll backwards. Coasters have locked upside-down before and it's a very scary and uncomfortable experience, but ultimately the riders were all rescued.
    • Coasters are specifically designed so that during normal travel, the G-forces would lock riders in place in their seats even in the event of total restraint failure. "Airtime" is mostly an illusion.
    • Many coasters have multiple "blocks", with brakes separating them, so that if anything happens during the ride the other trains could be braked safely.
    • And on top of all that, coasters have safety alarms; if hydraulic pressure started bleeding out, the ride would have immediately e-stopped.
  • Asshole Victim: Many of the characters - Lewis, Frankie, Ian, and Carrie.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: While Ian is listing off people he thinks death seems to favor he lists Charlie Manson, Osama Bin Laden, pimps, and vice presidents.
  • Big "NO!": Wendy at the end when she realizes a train is about to run her over.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The ending doesn't reveal whether Wendy, Kevin, and Julie manage to escape the train accident alive. According to the alternate ending and Word of God(though preceded by the phrase "in my mind"), they don't.
  • Break the Cutie: Death really seemed to have it in for Wendy.
    • The story begins with her witnessing the deaths of her boyfriend and best friend, and believing that she could have saved them. (Wendy had no way of knowing, at that point, that even if she had gotten Jason and Carrie off the rollercoaster, they would have just been added to Death's list and been virtually certain to die, anyway.)
    • Throughout the film, Wendy's failed attempts to save the other survivors of the Devil's Flight disaster were visibly weighing her down.
    • In the final scene, Wendy could have died when the train derailed and crashed, like Julie and Kevin did. Instead, she survived the crash, climbed out of the wreckage severely injured and in agony, and had just enough time to cry in anguish over the deaths of her sister and close friend, before another train appears, bearing down on her. Death allowed Wendy, Julie, and Kevin to live peacefully for a few months and believe that they were finally safe before taking Julie and Kevin, and then further allowed Wendy to experience a few moments of anguish, as well as false hope that she herself would live, before killing her, too.
    • Just to pile insult upon injury, Wendy has a premonition of the subway disaster, even though she is already on the train and there is nothing she can do to prevent it. So, in effect, Wendy has to experience the terrifying ordeal twice for no discernible reason.
  • Bookends: Both the opening and ending disasters involved a derailment in some way, with a rollercoaster and a train, respectively.
  • But Not Too White: Ashley and Ashlyn are already quite tanned, and yet decide to get touch-ups before graduation anyway.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: The premise, but Wendy, Julie, and Kevin manage to avoid not only their deaths on the roller coast but also several near misses in the climax. They're killed at the end in a subway accident.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Christensen family's bracelet. The unidentified figure on the Death's List after Ian/Erin also wore it, and Wendy is certain that she didn't wear it at the fair. Guess who did?
  • Collateral Angst: Jason dies in the rollercoaster derailment just as Wendy predicted, which causes her to spiral further into depression and blame herself for his death.
  • Convenient Photograph: The photographs that Wendy took of the survivors before getting on (and off) the rollercoaster have eerie blocks on them to give clues to how they're going to die. She uses them as her main ammunition to figure out how to try and save them again.
  • Death of a Child: Julie snuck her way onto the rollercoaster despite being underage, along with her friend Perry. Both of them are around 15-16, making them younger than the protagonists. Perry is later killed by a flag, while Julie's ultimate fate is more ambiguous with the Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Denser and Wackier: An extremely dark example. The deaths in this are far more elaborate and over-the-top than in the previous two. Especially notable is Julie getting dragged around by a horse at the 4th July celebration.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: We knew Perry was next all of three seconds before she gets skewered.
  • Dumb Blonde: Ashley seems to be more perky than stupid, but she's definitely a little ditzy. Ashlyn (who is brunette) looks a little smarter.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Wendy, when she realizes that Julie is the next on Death's List after Ian/Erin because the figure after them wore their family's heirloom bracelet, something that Julie has been nagging about.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Averted with the drive-through collision, probably because an explosion would've obscured the fan-blade-to-the-head manner of the resulting death.
  • Eye Scream: Erin gets nails shot through her face during a nail gun accident. Several of them go through her eyes.
  • Evil Laugh: The laugh of the devil statue at McKinley's fair. It comes up a few times afterward, including in the epilogue. Fittingly, it's provided by Tony Todd A.K.A. William Bludworth.
  • Failsafe Failure: The sunbed deaths combine this and No OSHA Compliance.
  • Fan Disservice: Two girls go inside a tanning bed topless, only to be burned alive when the machines malfunction.
  • Fatal Fireworks: The finale takes place at a tricentennial, featuring fireworks. Said fireworks set off a horse that manages to nearly kill one character (and upon failing to do so, kill another), and at the end of the scene, the fireworks nearly hit the three main characters, only to cause the death of the film's only human antagonist.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you saw the previous two films, then you know that the characters just saving each other from death does not save them completely, it just moves them down the list meaning that Wendy, Kevin and Julie are pretty much doomed during the train crash sequence.
  • Final Girl: Wendy. Subverted first as she appears to only survive about 15 seconds longer than the other two friends killed in the subway crash; then Double Subverted as that was in fact a premonition, and eventually zigzagged although highly implied to be subverted after all in the end.
  • Foreshadowing: A plot point; photographs taken of the various characters show the way that they'll end up dying. The opening credits also prelude the gory and unseemly final deaths of the characters using the carnival's various signs, texts, and art pieces.
  • Forklift Fu: A forklift goes haywire in the warehouse the leads are in, pushes over a shelf which almost sends dozens of pieces of fence wood into Ian, although Wendy manages to save him. However, it leads to Erin's death almost right after.
  • Gamebooks: The "Choose Their Fate" feature on the Thrill Ride Edition on DVD. Somewhat subverted however, as it was simply a more creative way to show deleted scenes from the film, even including an alternate ending.
  • Goth: Ian and Erin
  • Hope Spot:
    • It looks like Wendy, Kevin, and Julie manage to cheat Death; Kevin and Julie have been saved by Wendy, while Wendy herself avoids being killed by Ian, who's apparently her cause of death. It even goes to skip three months afterward to show that they're still alive. However, it turns out that Wendy's cause of death isn't Ian, but trains (see Red Herring below), and because Kevin and Julie are with her, they get killed too (though They may already been doomed from the start, anyway, if one believes in the theory that Death is the one who gave Wendy the premonitions).
    • The alternate version of the tanning bed deaths has Ashlyn freeing herself from the bed, only to electrocute herself and Ashley when she tries to free her friend.
  • Hufflepuff House: Julie has two friends, Amber and Perry. Perry turns out to be the one who was on the rollercoaster with her, locking her as the next victim. Amber ends up a Red Herring.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: A group of young boys try to bluff their way onto the roller coaster, but are kicked off by the carnival staff for not being tall enough to ride it. Thus, the boys avoid dying in the crash, without any need for psychic visions to warn them away.
  • Informed Attribute: Wendy goes on and on about how much of a control freak she is, yet this trait never comes into play within the movie. In fact, she's perfectly happy to let Kevin help and sometimes take the lead.
  • Interactive Fiction: The DVD included a "Chose Their Fates" bonus feature, though for the most part, all this really did was either have characters Put on a Bus instead of dying or just die differently.
  • Invisible Parents: Wendy and Julie's mother is briefly mentioned, but never makes it onscreen.
  • Ironic Echo: When Kevin tries to help Wendy in the aftermath of the roller coaster disaster, she coldly dismisses him, saying that the only reason they ever hung out together was that they were dating each other's best friends. Wendy tells Kevin, "We don't even like each other." Later on, when Wendy says that she'll be freaking out every second, hoping that Kevin is okay, he teases her by asking, "Why? We don't even like each other." Wendy gives a weak laugh, and the two hug each other.
  • Ironic Last Words:
    • After believing that he averted his own death, Lewis shouts "Fuck Death! I just win! That's all I know how to do Kevin! Baby, I just win!" and then the weights come down and crush his head.
    • Ian believes he was skipped over in the death cycle, which seems to be proven when fireworks go off, are sent flying at him and miss him completely. He yells out to Wendy and Kevin (the former whom he blames for the death of his girlfriend) that he's off death's list and isn't dying while flipping them off... right before he gets crushed by a cherry picker which lands on him in such a way that flips him off.
  • Irony:
    • Right before the rollercoaster accident, Carrie says she's planning to dump Kevin soon. After the accident, Kevin wistfully tells Wendy that he was planning to propose to her.
    • Wendy leaves Ashley and Ashlyn a message that ends with "sorry I was too late". She means too late to join them at the tanning salon. It ends up meaning too late to save them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • At the funeral, Frankie thinks that Ashley and Ashlyn are dead because of him. When Julie asks why, he tells her that if men like him didn't see women as anything but sex-toys, they wouldn't try so hard to look good by going on diets, exercising, and (in Ashley and Ashlyn's case, which is what led to their deaths), tanning. Too bad he ruins the moment when he tries to kiss Julie seconds later.
    • Ian makes some pretty valid points about how vague the "signs of death" are, pointing out that virtually anything could be interpreted as a sign if you're looking hard enough. Also, his suggestion that the last in line should make the utilitarian sacrifice to break the chain is pragmatically logical, and even followed through with in a deleted ending to the fourth movie (although it doesn't work). And he's also not wrong in that people only say the things that Wendy is saying when it's an accident.
  • Kill 'Em All: As with the previous two films, we see every main cast member getting killed in a vision and/or in reality. This time however, everyone actually does die, as Wendy's vision of the subway crash happens mere seconds before the actual crash, and she can't do anything to stop it in the short time that she has (Technically, there might be chances for at least some of them to survive without stopping the train, given the vision of the upcoming accident, however this is apparently unlikely).
  • Lighter and Softer: Though none of the films is actually light on tone (well, except for the fourth, maybe), this film goes back to the teenage angsty tone of the first (they're directed by the same director) and thus isn't quite plot-heavy and mature as the second film, which is dark no matter how brutal the deaths for the later films are.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Ashley and Ashlyn fulfill the ditzy Valley Girl-esque aspects of the trope, and they do appear to be popular. However they appear to be genuinely nice girls who invite Wendy to come to the tanning salon with them - implied to be because they know she lost her boyfriend and best friend in the accident.
  • Match Cut: From the girls roasting in the tanning beds to their corpses in their coffins.
  • Murder by Cremation: The tanning bed deaths. Weirdly for this trope, though thoroughly roasted, there are still bodies left to bury.
  • My Hair Came Out Pink: The novelization mentions why Frankie had shaved his head shortly before the events of the film. His attempt at dyeing it resulted in it turning pink.
  • Mythology Gag: In the ending, Wendy noticed that she's on Train 180. Her fate is sealed right after.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Because otherwise many of the deaths wouldn't work. The hardware store, weight room, and tanning bed in particular. Even at the start of the film when one of the rollercoaster staff catches Kevin with the digital camera, in real life they would have taken it off him for safekeeping (rather than let him put it in his pocket where there's a good chance it'll slip out) and likely would have confiscated Frankie's camcorder as well.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Wendy and Kevin slowly bond over their experiences of loss at the fair and the fact that they have to race together to save others (and themselves) from Death's List. While it can easily be interpreted as romantic, they are still grieving, and no love ever comes out of it.
    • Averted in the novelization. Wendy and Kevin discover that they do have feelings for each other, and even come to kiss. But they decide that they will talk about their relationship after they finish with the Death's plans.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The school name is McKinley, while that is also Ian's last name. It comes up in the plot when Wendy has a vision of the name and assumes it's related to Ian in some way.
  • Perilous Marriage Proposal: Discussed. Kevin tells Wendy that he was going to propose to his girlfriend Carrie, but it was interrupted by her gruesome death on the rollercoaster. Wendy stays silent, because Carrie told her she was planning on breaking up with him.
  • Police Are Useless: An interesting example. Cops do notice that something off was going on with all the deaths, and they try to prevent more from happening. Of course, they fail miserably.
  • Punny Name: Ashley and Ashlyn get burned almost to ashes.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Originally Clear from 1 and 2 was meant to return in this film - that was the original plan, but during the filming of 2, they discovered filming schedule complications with Ali Larter and, thus, Clear had to die in 2 - because Ali Larter was unavailable - rather than survive and play a large roll in 3, helping Wendy like she did Kimberly.
  • Red Herring: Wendy thinks that the clue for her cause of death is the shirt she wore during the night at the fair, which has "McKinley" written on it, which she interprets as Ian being her cause of death. It's not. The actual clue is Jason's blurred face. It represents the blurred faces of passengers of a train, which will be her true cause of death.
  • The Reveal: Julie was on the rollercoaster too.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ian wants to take revenge against Wendy for having apparently caused Erin's death.
  • Sanity Slippage: Ian after Erin’s death, to the point that he’s convinced Wendy caused it, when all she did was try to warn them.
  • Same Story, Different Names: There are some surprisingly close similarities between this movie and the Final Destination book, End of the Line:
    • Both are set in the summer between high school and college;
    • Denny, who has the vision in the novel, has it while he and his school-aged friends (though they don't go to school together, they're completing a summer program) are on a rollercoaster in Coney Island, and Denny freaks out because he believed he can feel the carriage hitting something attached to the tracks...which actually happens in this version.
    • The vision that Denny has is about a subway train crash in the Big Applesauce that was due to kill his whole party. The vision that Wendy has at the very end is the exact same thing, although only with herself, Kevin, and Julie (as they're the only people still living).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The death-foreshadowing lines on the photographs are straight out of The Omen.
    • YMMV on whether or not this was intentional, but Wendy, Jason, and Carrie share their names with three other famous horror movie characters (Wendy in particular shares hers with another iconic final girl).
  • Sound-Only Death: The movie closes with unds of the collision are there for everyone to guess. The chance is high for an unpleasant end.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Wendy, Julie and Kevin survived in the novel adaptation of the film. It helps that the novel ended before the train crash scene.
  • Spooky Photographs: The source of the premonitions throughout the movie.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death:
    • Lewis narrowly avoid having his head cut off by ornamental scimitars while on a weight machine. Exuberant, he does another rep on the machine, not realizing that the scimitars have frayed the cables, resulting in them snapping and crushing his head between the weights. Who would design a machine like that anyway?
      • Death, of course. Do you really have to ask?
    • At the very end, Kevin and Julie were both killed when the train derailed, but Wendy survived the train crash long enough to crawl out in agony and limp across the train tracks, only to be hit by the train coming in the opposite direction.
  • Those Two Guys: Ashley and Ashlyn have similar names, are always together and have no distinguishing characteristics. They also die together.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Ian. Even after Wendy had warned him about Death’s plan, and even saved his life, he blames her for Erin’s death.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The employee at the tanning booth has to take a phone call outside. As he's not at the counter, he doesn't know anything about the malfunction that leads to Ashley and Ashlyn's deaths; and since he accidentally locks himself out of the building, he can't get back in when he hears them screaming.
  • Wood Chipper of Doom: The alternate ending from the DVD reveals that the Final Destination 2 survivors, Kimberly Corman and Thomas Burke, were both killed from a woodchipper accident in a newspaper. The canonicity of their death is questionable (even the director says that you could take it as canon), but since the survivors in the series died despite escaping Death's plans, it is possible that they might not live long.
  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: A couple of boys who've ducked past the "You Must Be This Tall" sign are kicked off the Devil's Flight coaster by the attendant. Apparently, this time, Death has no plans to kill teenagers like Tim again.
  • Younger and Hipper: After the adult-focused second film, the franchise went back to following the lives of senior high school students.

"They say the real fear with these rides comes from the feeling of having no control."