Scream 3 Movie Review
Not a new killer but a master killer who planned all of Ghostface’s previous massacres. This third instalment is the weakest!
Genre: Horror / Mystery
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Patrick Dempsey, Parker Posey, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Heather Matarazzo & Liev Schreiber.
Run Time: 117 min.
US Release: 04 February 2000
UK Release: 28 April 2000
German Release: 22 June 2000
From the best sequel in the franchise to the worst... It’s Throwback Thursday, which means my review of the Scream series continues with Scream 3! In the franchise’s true fashion, this third chapter picks up again the meta-humour, tongue-in-cheek tone, but dials down the savagery, as the Columbine Highschool shooting increased public scrutiny of violence shown in the media. It also did not help that the creator plus writer of the first two flicks, was tangled up in other projects. So grab your ghostly masks, cuddle up in your black robes and let me explain, why this entry in the series is the worst.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
Three years after the Ghostface killings in Windsor College, Sidney Prescott is in self-imposed isolation, fearing that another killer might take on the mantle. She is reluctantly drawn out, following Cotton Weary’s death, as well as killings happening around the new “Stab 3” set in Hollywood.
Teaming up with Gale, Dewey and part of the cast supposed to play them, the group uncovers filthy Holywood secrets, that tie to Sidney’s mother. Randy makes a final appearance on tape, as he warns his friends of the rules in a trilogy. Finally, the killer comes out of hiding, admitting to having planned all killings, as far back as Maureen Prescott’s murder.
With Williamson out of the picture to write a third chapter, Ehren Kruger was hired to complete the script, discarding most of Williamson’s notes for a further movie. Studio interference also had a major impact on the reduction of the plot’s violence, while amping up the comedic aspect, not only due to the Columbine Highschool shooting incident but because rampant acts of aggression were blamed on the previous films. It is noted that at some point executives went as far as to demand no blood or violence at all.
Thanks to Craven threatening to leave the project, that demand was retracted. However, the focus on enhancing the satirical meta-aspect, paired with a ridiculous narrative that hinges on a lucky streak of coincidences for the killer's plan to succeed, did hurt the overall quality. It feels as if at some point, the flick is lampooning itself, not taking anything seriously anymore. The shoehorned reveal of the killer being Sidney’s half-brother, after their mother had been sexually assaulted, following an unsuccessful try at stardom in Hollywood is ridiculous.
There are too many convenient plot points, which make no sense at all, simply due to the reason that there would otherwise be no story to tell!
That said, it does make a few interesting points that are worth mentioning. For one, the dirt unravelled behind the glamorous scene of Holywood, especially the sexual assault side arc, which is still very relevant to date! Then there is the way it portrays celebrities, reality TV and the mention of pop culture being the politics of the 21st century. Again, it is relevant today! Finally, there is a comfortable feeling of finality once the credits roll.
Neve Campell is barely in this movie, for half of the story she is hiding in her house, using a full set of security systems. It seems a little jarring that her character made such a turn. Having said that, once the killer finds her she immediatley goes out to stop him. Campbell keeps surprising audiences as the character, finding new nuances to her personality. It is also nice to see her using instinct, intelligence and a calm demeanour, to defeat the enemy.
David Arquette returns as Dewey, this time working as a consultant in Hollywood. Gale Weathers, played by non-other than Courtney Cox, is hailed to the set by officer Kincaid, following Cotton’s death, where she reunites a third time with her love interest. This time, though, she encounters competition, as the two characters are forced into an awkward love triangle with Parker Posey’s character Jennifer Jolie, an actress playing Gale in the third chapter of the “Stab” trilogy. Gale is reduced to a lovesick teenager, while Jennifer is unbearable.
Newcomers are Patrick Dempsey’s detective Kincaid - a fun, obnoxious, red herring character - and Scott Foley, who plays Roman Bridger - director of “Stab 3” who is the real killer, just like Sidney’s secret half-brother!
Technically, a lot of the kills happen off-screen. This has to do once again with the studio's wishes to dial down the brutality. Scenes were more action-oriented, including one high-speed car scene through Hollywood at the beginning, an exploding mansion around the middle mark, higher hand-to-hand combat etc. The use of shadows and darkness was still a major factor in creating jump scares. Generally, Craven kept it stylistically similar to his previous directed features in the series, simply modifying them a little to compensate for the missing violence.
Once again production relied heavily on practical effects, using solid makeup artistry for scrapes or minor wounds, plus prosthetics for deeper cuts. However, it is also the least bloody in the franchise. The computer effects used for the exploding mansion, are out of date by today’s standards.
Marco Beltrami returned once more, to compose the soundtrack. He once again built on his previous work, experimenting with new styles of sound production. He recorded instruments in abnormal circumstances, to create unnatural, distorted sounds, modifying them electronically.
Verdict: Out of all entries in this series, this is my least favourite. While the cast was once again on point and the cinematography was kept mostly on par with the previous films, it was the writing this time around that nearly tanked the picture. With studio interference demanding to dial down the brutality, writer Ehren Kruger raised the meta-humour, creating a near spoof of the franchise itself. The convenient plot points, as well as the ridiculous reveal of the murderer being Sidney’s older half-brother, did not make it any better. In fact, it felt out of place for Scream. The forced love triangle between Dewey, Gale and the actress portraying her in “Stab 3” is cringe. That said, not all ideas were bad! The commentary on sexual assault in Holywood, as well as the pop cultural reference, are still valid to date! Beltrami’s score is once again epic, building on what he already delivered in the two predecessors. Overall, a very mediocre third act, with a nice feeling of finale. Scream 3 gets a 5.5 out of 10!
So, do you agree with my review or are you a defender of Scream 3? Leave a comment underneath to let me know. Thanks for reading & if you enjoy the content, subscribe!