In 2005, high school student Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) visits an amusement park in Pennsylvania with her boyfriend Jason Wise (Jesse Moss), her best friend Carrie Dreyer (Gina Holden), her boyfriend Kevin Fischer (Ryan Merriman) and some other classmates celebrating their graduation. As they board the Devil’s Flight Roller Coaster, Wendy has a premonition that the hydraulics will fail and kill everyone on board. She convinces a total of nine people not to ride the coaster, including Ashley Freund (Chelan Simmons), Ashlyn Halperin (Chrystal Lowe), Frankie Cheeks (Sam Easton), Lewis Romero (Texas Battle), Ian McKinley (Kris Lemeche), and Erin Ulmer (Alexz Johnson), but Jason and Carrie stay and die when the roller coaster becomes airborne.
Weeks later, Kevin tells Wendy about the explosion of Flight 180 and the series of survivors’ deaths. At a tanning salon, Ashley and Ashlyn are burnt to ash when their tanning-beds lock and malfunction. Convinced that death is stalking them, Wendy and Kevin try to save everybody else. They study photographs taken the night of the accident, looking for omens and clues.
When Wendy and Kevin pull into a drive-thru restaurant to look at Frankie’s photo, a runaway truck forces them out of the car. The truck’s engine kills Frankie, who was in the car in front of them. The next day, they fail to save Lewis, whose head is crushed by a weight-machine in the school gym. Ian and Erin are working in a hardware store, where a runaway forklift nearly kills Erin, saved by Wendy, but Erin is next and is killed by a nail-gun.
The two last photos are obscured but they recognize Wendy’s sister Julie and her friend. Kevin saves Julie from being impaled, but not Julie’s friend Perry Malinowski (Maggie Ma). Wendy saves Kevin from an exploding propane canister. They are confronted by a grief-stricken Ian, who blames Wendy for Erin’s death. But he is crushed by a cherry picker launched by firework cannons. Five months later, Wendy sees more omens riding on the subway, and then Julie and Kevin board the train. She has a vision of the train crashing and they try desperately to stop the train.
The film was directed by James Wong from a screenplay written by him and Glen Morgan. Series creator Jeffrey Reddick did not work on this one. It was filmed in Vancouver. There was a special DVD release including a feature that would allow you to choose the fate of some characters. It received mixed reviews but was a financial success. Tony Todd, who had played the mortician Bludworth in the first two films, was only the voice of the Devil and later that of the subway conductor in this one. It took two weeks and 144 visual-effects shots to portray the roller-coaster crash. The cast had to ride it 26 times on the same night. Basically, this is just more of the same, a kind of placeholder awaiting some more inspired mayhem. Compared to the others, it seems a little paint-by-numbers. The most horrific deaths, of course, are reserved for the topless girls.