Chris Nashawaty
June 16, 2009 AT 10:22 PM EDT

I’ll admit it, I’m a little lukewarm of this whole 3-D thing. And by lukewarm, I mean entirely apathetic. So far, I’ve managed to keep away from The Polar Express, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and heaven forbid, Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience, without feeling like I’ve missed out on much. Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to have already lived through a disappointing wave of 3-D mania, where franchises like Jaws and Friday the 13th were desecrated by “eye-popping” (in some cases, literally) special effects that wound up, despite all their hype, being not so special at all.

Which is why I’m kind of surprised that I’m so excited for Final Destination 3-D (see the trailer below). Don’t be fooled by the title: This is actually the fourth film in the series, not the third. But even if it were the 18th chapter, I’d be pumped. Because, let’s be honest here, this is a franchise that exists solely as an excuse to kill off teenagers in the wittiest, most complicated, Rube Goldberg-y ways imaginable. These films know exactly what they are and make no apologies for it. You have to respect that.

All horror movies going back to Hitchcock rely on the lead-up to the kill as much as the kill itself, but Final Destination took that little golden rule to its delicious logical extreme. For example, in 2000’s first installment, a group of teens are on a plane about to take off for Paris when one of them has a vision of the plane exploding after takeoff. He and a few others get off. And sure enough, the premonition comes true. But death has been cheated and the Reaper’s none too pleased about it. And one by one the survivors don’t stay survivors for long, as they get offed in increasingly clever, intricate, and out-of-left-field ways with plenty of tasty fake-outs to mess with your head.

In 2003, Final Destination 2 used an awesomely-staged highway accident as its death-cheating scenario. And like the first, it was a low-rent little masterpiece. By the time 2006’s Final Destination 3 rolled around, the merry pranksters behind the camera may have been running a little low on inspiration. The big set piece was an amusement park roller coaster that goes off the rails, setting up a chain reaction of death, dismemberment, and doom. It was a bit familiar after the first two, but it was still worth every penny of the 10 bucks I coughed up for it.

Now, judging from the trailer, Final Destination 4 (in 3-D) looks like it’s bringing its body count to the world of Nascar. I’m not a huge fan of the sport, but it’s easy to see how it would make a sweet setting for fiery explosions and flying debris mayhem. It looks like a honey. Take a look for yourself.

The Final Destination trailer in HD

Finally, here’s a 3-D movie I’ll see (maybe more than once).

What do you think of the Final Destination movies? Will you go see the new one in 3-D?  

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