Director: Wes Craven
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Weapon of Choice: Knife
Based upon: Original
Other movies in this series:
Rish Outfield's reviews
This may be a little long, so forgive me in advance. Obviously, I am a great fan of "Scream." For better or worse, if it weren't for that film, I highly doubt there would be a Horror Film Compendium.
In this chapter, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is living like a hermit out in the middle of nowhere where the psychos can't find her. As therapy, she assists girls on a help telephone line, but she is still haunted by the horrors she has faced, particularly the ugly truth about her mother. When a third wave of murders starts up, centering on yet another film capitalizing on the Sidney Prescott media frenzy, it's up to returning heroes Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) to save the day.
First of all, anyone familiar with my rants knows that the higher the expectations I hold going into a movie, the harder it is for that movie to please me. I loved both the original two "Scream" films, and try as I might, I couldn't entirely see the third with an open mind. It was open enough, however, that I was able to enjoy the movie, in spite of its shortcomings (of which there were a few). Perhaps I'll mention its good points first:
Nicely, the final "Scream" film still focuses on Sidney, the driving force of the series. Neve Campbell's character really is the crux of the films, and the ending of this one made me feel a sense of pleasant closure.
There were some nice cameos by Carrie Fisher, Roger Corman, and Jay and Silent Bob. Before you can say ‘I hardly knew thee,' Liev Schrieber's Cotton Weary finds himself on the wrong end of a knife. And fan-favourite Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) returns in a brief scene, but it felt contrived and uninspired (both tyranist and I agreed that he should have taken his chance to proclaim his love for Sidney, but it didn't happen).
We jokingly gave Jenny McCarthy a Former Celebrity Appears skull, but I have to compliment her acting skills. Notice I said skills: she has two of them.
I'll be here all night, folks.
I enjoyed the "Stab 3" set and the past it evoked, and basically all references to the other two movies (for example, Sid wears dead boyfriend Derek's Greek letters, the song "Red Right Hand" plays in all three films, there's a poster from Sid's Cassandra play in college, and just about everybody utters "I'll be right back").
Now, I know that tyranist absolutely loved the film, and he always does, but even he had to admit that it was not a perfect film. There were some moments that were too silly for my tastes, but it was nice, and though there were some genuinely scary moments, they came less frequently this time around.
The revelation of the killer's identity is even less satisfying than the last one (which was one of the only weak points of Scream 2), but we get to see a great fight between the killer and Ms. Prescott. Though some might not be bothered, there was virtually no gore in this one (I thought it was noteworthy, anyway). The supporting characters were a little less well-rounded in this one. Gale Weathers' character suffered as well, partially because of the second Gale Weathers (Parker Posey, who was funny when unfriendly and annoying when friendly) tagging along, and much less motivation this time around. This featured a lot more slapstick rather than just dialogue-comedy (another personal taste), and a haunted house sequence.
The biggest loss in this film is Kevin Williamson. Like a conspicuously missing cast member, or waking up with John Wayne Bobbitt Syndrome, Kevin's distinctive voice was a noticeable absence in this film. While I feel writer Ehren Krueger's work should be lauded (especially considering the task he had before him), a great deal of the flavour of his characters were lost. Many of the lines fell flatter than before, and the telephone conversations with the killer had virtually none of the spookiness of the last two films.
It was said, when Return of the Jedi came out in 1983 (and repeated for The Godfather Part III), "Well, one of them had to be third best." And I like to look at it that way. Scream 3 was third BEST. In no way was this a bad movie, or a black mark on the previous two, and I am unduly critical because of how great the other films were. In this series, we have seen these characters grow and change and be brave and be afraid, and I have grown very fond of most of them (sorry, Cotton). It is rare that three movies can set such high standards, especially in a genre that's renowned for cliches and knock-offs. Wes Craven should be congratulated, for, seen as a Trilogy, I think this will be remembered (and imitated) for a long, long time.
Best Scare: A dark and quite terrifying dream sequence reunites Sidney with her very dead mother.
I'd Recommend It To: Oh, see them all, kids.
The tyranist's thoughts
Here we are at the end of what will undoubtedly be considered the greatest horror trilogy ever made for some time. Not to say that better can't be made, but that I doubt anyone will make a trilogy and in some cases even a single movie as good as the Scream series for a while. It is probably obvious to those of you who actually read this site with any regularity that we owe a lot to this series, but even with that in the back of your mind, know that this movie is completely worth seeing. It's been a little over two years since Scream 2 and apparently in that time Kevin Williamson either got too busy to write up the conclusion or just to good to dance with the one who brought him. Fortunately, Ehren Kruger very capably stepped in and delivered a script worthy of the first two.
This one contains much more humor and ends up being less scary, but it still has the same impact. We suspect almost everyone and fear for everyone equally (although a significant factor in the killer's motive is easily guessed pretty early on). But then some funny dialogue will be inserted and we relax for just a moment. That is a big part of what has always made this franchise so good. The ability to balance humor and horror is truly a beautiful thing and this series does it very capably. See this movie if you liked the others and don't if you didn't.
I almost cried when Randy died in Scream 2, but we do get to see him again in a section that both lives up to the Randy we loved and makes us miss him all the more. There are a ton of other people (including two of my favorites--Jay and Silent Bob) who are here as well.
Once again the score is fantastic. Marco Beltrami just knows how to score these movies. I especially enjoyed the little musical reminders of Scream and the way they brought the trilogy full circle. I'm going to have to go back and watch the other two again now and I anticipate watching all three in a row someday when the DVD comes out.
All in all I would say that this is my second favorite entry of the series just like Final Conflict is my second favorite entry in the Omen trilogy. Maybe that is just the way of trilogies. Or maybe just horror trilogies since I just thought of Star Wars and Indiana Jones and they both defy my 1-3-2 pattern of preference. Oh well. Any way you look at it, I think that you should see all three. In order.
Total Skulls: 27
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears||Jenny McCarthy|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood hits camera|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|