A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film isn't for young viewers. It's comprised of essentially nonstop violence against teenagers, usually staged in tense or jump scenes. Blood and gore are shown frequently and copiously. Two girls strip and show their breasts full-on before entering tanning tubes. One boy flirts aggressively, using sexual slang. A frightened horse runs through a crowd, accidentally dragging a girl. One girl gives her sister the finger. Lots of scary music and occasional loud noises.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Like its predecessors, FINAL DESTINATION 3 delivers plenty of yucky death scenes and occasionally startling violence. As per the formula, death stalks a group of teens who somehow elude it in the opening catastrophe -- a roller coaster ride that goes terribly wrong. They're saved by Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who sees a vision of the disaster before it happens. Wendy's boyfriend stays on the ride, to meet his demise. Wendy discovers death's plan, and tries to warn her fellow survivors. Her photos from that fateful night hold clues about each victim's death. Violent and gross, these deaths mostly take place in front of Wendy and her confidant Kevin (Ryan Merriman), despite their warnings. Only the first death scene takes place without witnesses: The interchangeable Ashley (Chelan Simmons) and Ashlynn (Crystal Lowe) who strip to get inside tanning beds, then essentially cook to death when the units overheat and they're accidentally locked in.
Is it any good?
As death stalks the victims, Final Destination 3 encourages viewers to take pleasure in the mechanisms and the lunacy of the means. Heads are smashed and nail-gunned, bodies are cut in half and crushed. Because the victims behave badly -- ignoring Wendy's warning or being rude or stupid -- you're not asked to invest in them emotionally.
But you do invest, if only because of formula, in Wendy, who tries so hard to save her classmates. "Can you feel how vicious it was?" she asks following one death, suggesting that death is being sadistic. The film asks you to take her perspective, but because it's the third time with all the gory tricks and tensions, the effects aren't so unexpected. So there's the question: When does pleasure in death effects become routine?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the absence of parents in this movie: Only two even appear, at a funeral and in the background another shot, waiting at school. Why are these kids so alone as they deal with their friends' deaths? They could also talk about why horror movies are so popular, especially with teens.
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