Final Destination 3: Thrill Ride Edition

A rare example of a package where the making-of documentary is more interesting than the movie itself, this project feels like it was done on autopilot. Even series creators Glen Morgan and James Wong seem a bit bored, leaving long periods of silence on their commentary track.

With:
With: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Kris Lemche.

A rare example of a package where the making-of documentary is more interesting than the movie itself, this project feels like it was done on autopilot: The characters are stock, the thrills are tepid and the graphic Rube Goldberg-esque death sequences this series is known for mainly fail to amuse. Even series creators Glen Morgan and James Wong seem a bit bored, leaving long periods of silence on their commentary track.

However, the disc features a new gimmick — the “Choose Their Fate” option. Playing into the aud’s inherent bloodthirstiness, the filmmakers shot alternate life or death sequences for characters, which are displayed after the viewer chooses his preferred option another. Thus, in theory, you can see the character buy it in some new horrible way, or perhaps survive unscathed. This sounds fun in theory, but in practice the new sequences are almost identical to the “official” version, and in some cases exactly the same — not so much fun after all.

The making-of doc, “Kill Shot,” is comparatively compelling, detailing the difficulties of a special-effects-heavy project such as this. One sequence in particular, where actors had to hang upside-down for long stretches of time in a roller coaster mock-up, shows how grueling production can be. Actor Kris Lemche describes the experience bluntly: “I felt like I got raped by a 400-pound gorilla.”

The “Dead Teenager Movie” featurette is basically just an excuse to show excerpts of other New Line horror films, but it does have an insightful interview with critic Roger Ebert, who makes the chilling observation that somewhere along the line the viewers stopped identifying with the heroines and started identifying with the killers.

“It’s All Around You” is a mildly diverting cartoon with a similarly death-obsessed theme.

Final Destination 3: Thrill Ride Edition

July 25; Double disc: $29.98

Production: A New Line Home Entertainment release of the James Wong film.

Cast: With: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Kris Lemche.

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