Written by Josh Brewer, March 26, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer
Title: Scream 3
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Release Date: Feb. 4, 2000
Cast: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette, Patrick Dempsey
Scream 3 Cliff’s Notes
When a new Ghostface starts offing the cast of Stab 3, Sidney and Co. are called in to put a stop to these shenanigans once and for all. Or at least ‘till the next sequel.
Scream 3 is decisive to say the least. Where the first two movies focused almost exclusively on Sidney, here we’re split between an m.i.a. Sid and Dewey/Gale. The actual Scream aspect takes nearly forty minutes to kick in. When it does, it’s welcome, but we’ve already been waiting for way too long. That’s not to say that Scream 3 isn’t fun, it is, but this one seems more formula than innovation. All of the parts are here, just placed in a new location, and the core group is back, but there’s a hint of going through the motions with things. Scream 3 seems destined to run its “back to the beginning” motif right down our throats.
Problem is, the back to the beginning that Scream 3 throws at us is the same beginning that 1 and 2 were so focused on. Here, it seems like this is all one sin too far removed. Once the killer(s) are finally revealed, I was left wondering why the focus of this puppy is Sidney. Here, she seems like victim by proxy, the closest person to her mother, who is again blamed for the massacre. (Side note about that, I’m really done with people slaughtering others because somebody cheated on someone they may have known. Let’s get some motives, folks!)
That’s not to say that Scream 3 is without merit. There are a slew of groovy bits, my personal fav being the chase through the Woodsboro set, that create a surreal vibe that I really enjoyed. Scream 3 also milks the bitter-actor trope to great effect. Not only do we get a fun Carrie Fisher lookalike featuring Carrie Fisher, but Parker Posey owns as the actor portraying Gale in Stab 3. From her nitpicking Gale to her attempts to show up her “mentor”, Posey brings a lightness to the series that hasn’t been around since the middle of the second film.
But that seems to be the focus of Scream 3. It highlights what is missing and replaces it with a separate, often lesser, option. This is most evident in the humor. Where Scream had found its humor in horror movies, Scream 3 plays more like a comedy, the humor coming from weird characters and situations. Ehh…
Our core group does well, but that’s to be expected. Dempsy and Posey are the highlights of the new cast members, while the cameos by Carrie Fisher, Lance Henriksen, and others are kewl with a capital K. Also, points to Scott Foley and Jenny McCarthy. I usually really dislike them, but enjoyed them here.
Craven is back, but there seems to be a going through the motions aspect to what’s going on. He manages some solid tension, especially during the last block, but most of this puppy seems pretty flat.
Williamson is gone and replaced with Ehren Kruger; the results leave a lot to be desired. Save for a decent pair of LAPD detectives, the new characters are either idiots (Matt Keeslar’s Tom runs back into a house while being taunted by the killer / Patrick Warburton traipses through Dewey’s trailer insulting Tatum) or thinly drawn caricatures. That being said, the finale is more even than its predecessor, so that’s something.
Scream 3 lowballs us on the gore! Sure, we’re getting some stabbings and gunshots, but it’s a bunch of been there, done that at this point.
I grooved to the Sid/Woodsboro set piece. Money all around.
Where are the Ghostface phone calls?!? This is a Scream movie! He doesn’t just call to say he’s going to kill you, there are awesome discussions that can happen before that.
I found myself enjoying Scream 3 more this time around. Sure, it’s pretty Scooby-Doo in its execution, and is the weakest of the series, but the worst Scream flick is still better than a bunch of the remake-heavy, slasher dreck flowing into the cinemas.