In 2009, college student Nick O’Bannon (Bobby Campo) is watching an auto race with his girlfriend Lori Milligan (Shantel VanSanten) and their friends Hunt Wynorski (Nick Zano) and Janet Cunningham (Haley Webb) at the McKinley Speedway. Nick has a premonition of an accident on the racetrack that sends debris flying into the grandstand, which collapses.
Nick panics and a scuffle breaks out and several people are forced to leave the grandstand. That includes Lori, Hunt, and Janet, but also a racist tow truck-driver named Carter Daniels (Justin Welborn), a mother named Samantha Lane (Krista Allen), a mechanic named Andy Kewzer (Andrew Fiscella), his girlfriend Nadia Monroy (Stephanie Honoré) and security guard George Lanter (Mykelti Williamson). Outside the stadium, Nadia is arguing with the others when a tire flies out of the stadium and decapitates her.
A few nights later, Carter drives to George’s house to burn a cross on his lawn because he blames the security guard for preventing him from going back in to save his wife, but his tow-truck ignites and he burns to death. The next day Samantha leaves a beauty salon when a lawnmower shoots a rock through her eye, killing her. Nick is now convinced that Death is out to get them. They look for Andy, but Andy is killed by a carbon-dioxide tank. George and Lori rescue Janet from a car-wash accident, but Hunt is disemboweled by a swimming pool drainpipe. Four days later, Nick learns that a spectator named Jonathan Groves (Jackson Walker) was rescued from the speedway’s collapse, though he died in the premonition. They find him in the hospital, but an overflowing bathtub falls through the floor above and kills him.
Nick has another premonition of an explosion at the mall killing Janet and Lori, and George is run over by an ambulance. Nick runs to the mall to stop the explosion, which he sees coming in detail, and though forces try to stop him and he is pinned to the wall by a nail-gun (!), he does so, saving everybody in the mall. Two weeks later, Nick, Lori, and Janet celebrate survival at a café. A scaffold collapses and a truck swerves into the café, killing them. The ending is actually more logical and satisfying that that of the other movies, which left some hope of victory over Death.
The film was written by Eric Breiss, directed by David R. Ellis, and produced by Craig Perry and New Line Cinema. It was in 3D and was the first to feature D-Box technology. It was the highest grossing Final Destination film despite receiving generally negative reviews, though critics were fond of the soundtrack. It was called predictable and lacking in ingenuity, though it beat Rob Zombie’s Halloween II at the box office. It was filmed in New Orleans instead of Vancouver, where the three previous film were made. The crash scene was filmed at Mobile International Speedway in Irvington, Alabama. The speedway disaster was based on the real 1955 Circuit du Mans, in which an engine block, hood, and other debris flew into the grandstand, mowing down and killing 84 people.
Tony Todd was not in it as mortician Bludworth because he was busy with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. At the speedway, the victims are in Section 180, which was the number of the doomed flight in the first Final Destination movie, and the car that crashes is Number 666. Once again, characters are named after horror-film directors—Dan O’Bannon, Sean Cunningham, Andy Milligan, and Jim Wynorski. In each film, the deaths tend to have features in common. In the first, they are complex Rube Goldberg-like events, mostly involving household systems in bad-repair. In the second, they are particularly horrific and bloodthirsty. In the third, they are bizarre and cruel. And in this one, they tend toward the ridiculous, like a particularly evil theater of the absurd.