Scream 3 (2000)

16 Apr

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Smith’s Verdict: *1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Midway through “Scream 3” (the final chapter in the apparent “Scream” trilogy), we are informed of the rules of the trilogy by a posthumous video message from Randy, the film-knowing victim in “Scream 2” played by Jamie Kennedy. He tells the ways of the trilogy and references “Godfather” and “Jedi,” while saying plot twists are revealed, the past (preferably events in the first film) will haunt the characters, and basically, anything goes.

This video is viewed by returning characters Dewey (David Arquette), Sidney (Neve Campbell), and of course, the cutthroat (so to speak) reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox-Arquette). This is convenient because the killer in the Grim Reaper costume and ghostface mask is at it again and maybe for the last time. This time, the killer plans to finish everything and everyone. Randy’s video is help for Dewey, Sidney, and Gale, but not for the audience of “Scream 3”—what Randy forgot to mention was that the final chapter of a trilogy is sometimes the weakest one. That is certainly true of “Scream 3” itself, which is most disappointing. I really liked the first two “Scream” movies and found them scary and satirical of the slasher movie genre—the satire really worked. Here, in “Scream 3,” we get some amusing lines of dialogue (though the script is not written by Kevin Williamson this time, but by Ehren Kruger), a couple of funny cameos, and some points of somewhat true emotion. But ultimately, the movie sinks because it mainly just descends into the very clichés it was trying to satirize in the first place. The fun is gone. In a trilogy, nobody is safe and all bets are off. Don’t get me wrong—this could create a huge amount of suspense, but the story is not well-executed for us to be on the edges of our seats.

As you recall from “Scream 2,” a movie franchise was brought in, based on the events in the first film which were written into a best-selling novel by Gale. The movie-within-the-movie was called “Stab.” In “Scream 3,” we have “Stab 3” in development—strange how no one ever mentions a “Stab 2.” This brings the attention of another killer who strikes right before production is about to start. So now, young police detective Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey) recruits Gale and Dewey to help figure out what the killer will do now. This time, there are clues—near every body is a picture of Sidney’s mother who, if you recall from the previous films, was murdered four years before. What could they mean? And which of the actors in “Stab 3” is next to being killed? Are you still with me?

One of the problems with “Scream 3” is that the characters are so thin and dull that I didn’t care who lived and who died. Even Gale, who was so feisty in the previous films, is reduced to being just a target. Parker Posey does what she can, playing the actress who was supposed to play Gale in “Stab 3,” showing spunk and selfishness. And then there’s Sidney, the star of the previous films. Here, she is barely seen in the first half and is given nothing special to do when she shows up on the set of “Stab 3.”

And of course, you need to watch the previous films to understand much of what is happening here. But the better idea would be to just watch “Scream” and “Scream 2” and accept them as individual films because “Scream 3” has lost the series its energy.

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