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Scream 3 will not disappoint fans of the first two unless your expectations are unrealistically high. All the Scream movies follow a pattern - one of the criticisms I read of Scream 3 was that it was a Xerox copy of the first two - but all sequels are basically remakes of previous films that preceeded it e.g. the Bond series. The success of the Scream films is that Craven and Williamson (and now Scream 3 scribe Kreuger) have blended the ingredients differently each time - you'll definitely enjoy the "Hollywood" flavour of this one!
SCREAM 3 / (2000) ***
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox Arquette, Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Matthew Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Deon Richmond, Patrick Warburton, Liev Schreiber, and Carrie Fisher Directed by Wes Craven. Written by Ehren Kruger, based on characters by Kevin Williamson. Running time: 116 minutes. Rated R (for strong horror violence and language).
By Blake French:
"Scream 3" is not as satisfying as the original horror masterpiece "Scream," but what can we expect from the final chapter in a slasher trilogy? The first film was a superior horror thriller--one of the most loved slasher movies of the past decade. That was a picture with some hard standards to live up to. However, Wes Craven, director of the trio, accomplished another success with the sequel of "Scream." Usually this kind of movie would fade into the Hollywood recycle bin by now. But "Scream 3" still produces chills, thrills, and lots of surprises--even though we have been receiving the same kind of story for the past four years. This film is marginally passable, although the most flawed film of its series, that fairs as recommendable, but not substantial in quality.
The film's opening once again provides the audience with a pre-credit murder sequence that is almost the highlight of the entire production. The "Scream 3" writers take advantage of one of the movie's old and important characters to arrange this very effective, and scary, sequence.
The setting is several years after the second film. The small college town of Woodsboro is where we are placed. Neve Campbell again stars as Sidney Prescott, a tormented young woman who was the target of the killing sprees in the past. She has attempted to move on with her life with her father, and has an anonymous hotline operation that offers assistance to those in need. Also, television reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox Arquette) has experienced a big career jump, now working for a network called Total Entertainment. While the wrongly accused murder suspect of Sidney's mother, Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), has his own trashy TV talk show.
The central presence that connects the events here is the production of "Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro," a movie the characters are creating that follows a horror trilogy based on the terrors experienced by Sydney. The masked murderer may or may not be found on the set. Besides police Detective Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey), and the arrogant bodyguard Stone (Patrick Warburton), concluding the list of suspects, there is Dewey Riley (David Arquette), a former cop who is now an advisor for "Stab 3," Roman Bridger (Scott Foley), the film's director, John Milton (Lance Henriksen) the film's producer, as well as acting counterparts Sarah Darling (Jenny McCarthy), Tom Prinze (Matthew Keeslar), Angelina (Emily Mortimer), Gabe Tucker (Deon Richmond), and Gales's reciprocal (Parker Posey).
Certain plot points lead our suspicion to believe one of several characters is the killer. We are fooled again, however. But does the killer's identity really matter here? As long as we receive a speech on why he or she is responsible, we would be satisfied and any of the character's could have been the killer. None of the characters have any shape or construction. We care only about the order that the victims will be picked off at, not about who hides behind the ghost mask. The identity is actually pointless when the slasher is finally revealed.
Once again, a key success in "Scream 3" is the scary sequences that build up momentum and thus work well, usually where the slasher kills his victims. What makes these scenes so effective is how we know that characters are three dimensional; they put up a firm fight for their lives, unlike victims in most slasher films. However, the plot seems to revolve around the murders, instead of the murders branching off from the story. "Stab 3" seems to be a central presence to connect the film's somewhat desperate through line.
Some of the plot points are fun and revealing. We see a videotape of a past character describing the possibilities of the movie's final outcome. This event programs our imaginations to suspect the unexpected. The plot does desperately attempt to fill in missing pieces of the previous screams, however, showing some signs of contrived foreshadowing. Each scene moves the story forward, though, replenishing the plot with freshness and ability around every abrupt corner.
"Scream 3" is a close call, and is given somewhat of a mixed review, but I still am giving the movie a marginal recommendation. It contains more startles, more surprises, and more effective scary material than most slasher movies. Although I believe it was a wise move to make this film the final installment of its series.
Brought to you by Dimension Films.
Welcome back Neve, David and my personal favorite, Courteney, to one of
best horror series ever to hit the big screen. All three are back and are
in top form. As a huge FRIENDS fan, it's always fun to see the
Gale Weathers, and to see another side of Cox-Arquette's talent.
The finale in the Scream trilogy, and while perhaps not the scariest of the three, it is certainly the most funny. That is thanks largely to the brilliant casting of the satiric roles belonging to Parker Posey and Jenny McCarthy.
Parker Posey playing Courteney Cox Arquette's "Gale" in the movie Stab 3 within this movie, Scream 3, was a stroke of genius. For those not familiar with Posey's work I strongly recommend checking out "The House Of Yes."
Another welcome attribute to this third and final (?) chapter in the series is the way in which they tie up the loose ends and allow certain characters a sense of closure.
You definitely need to view these 3 in order, but it's all scary fun!
WARNING: PLOT POINTS ARE GIVEN AWAY, SO IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE OR
DON'T WANT TO KNOW, PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING
As I've said before, I have little use for sequels, which was I was surprised to find myself going to SCREAM 2, and even more surprised that I enjoyed it. Like the first one, it was fast, scary, funny, and took some nice satiric jibes. Even the much debated identity of the killer in the second one made sense as a satiric swipe at horror movies, so it didn't bother me. I didn't know if they'd be able to keep it going for a third movie, especially when hearing Kevin Williamson's involvement was going to be minimal(he's a producer, and he wrote an outline which eventual writer Ehren Kruger worked from), but I liked the first two, I was especially pleased to see Scott Foley(from FELICITY) and Parker Posey in the cast, and I was intrigued to see what happened. In retrospect, I probably should have waited for video.
Certainly the opening shows a little promise; instead of the usual celebrity cameo, we have a spoof of that, with Cotton Weary(Liev Schrieber), who's now a Geraldo-type talk show host, complaining about having to do a cameo in STAB 3(the movie within a movie here), so we know it's spoofing itself. The problem, of course, is we know Cotton's going to get killed, but Craven is able to draw suspense throughout the scene. We also get the stated purpose here during the phone call(which, also a bit clever, starts out with a woman's voice before the familiar tone of Roger L. Jackson as THE voice kicks in); the killer wants to find Sidney.
Sidney, of course, is living in seclusion, under a new name and barely going outside the house(which, of course, is under heavy alarm), so at first, she's almost like an afterthought to the movie. Instead, the center is on Gail Weathers, the tabloid reporter, now an entertainment reporter, who uses her reporter skills to play detective when Cotton is killed, and she decides to assist the police, specifically Detective Kincaid(Patrick Dempsey), in the case. Then there's Dewey, who's a technical advisor to STAB 3, the movie, and they of course worry about what's going to happen.
There's all kinds of potential here, and it's directed well, but it isn't written as well as I think Williamson would have done. There are scares which still work, and while the Dewey/Gail relationship seems a little old hat, the two Arquettes obviously like working with each other, and their familiarity with us helps smooth that over. Also, while Campbell is disconnected, she's still sympathetic, and while she doesn't have the same fun with herself as she did in the first one, I understood that. And there is humor, most of it coming from Posey as the actress playing Gail in STAB 3; few actresses can make contempt funny like she can. There's also the standard satiric bite(the bodyguard who guarded Julia Roberts and Salman Rushdie but ends up toast here).
But as I said, it isn't written as well, and the primary weakness is the killer. In some senses, I guess, having the director(Foley) be the killer makes sense, because he has the technical expertise to handle things. But it seems to come out of nowhere, and perhaps to distract us from that, Kruger gives us the idea of him being a long-lost relative of Sidney's, which is ridiculous. Perhaps because of that too, Foley goes way over the top, which is funny at first, but then becomes tiresome. Also, Kruger cribs not from other horror movies here, but from the first SCREAM(the cloning of the cell phone being a prime example). And while Williamson's red herrings were pretty clever, this one seems not thought out. Emily Mortimer's character(she plays the actress who plays Sidney) is a perfect example; there are two indications she might be the killer(three, if you count the woman's voice to Cotton), and yet she's killed off almost as an afterthought. Finally, as to compensate for all of this, there are a lot more killings to cover up. Which begs the question; if all he wanted was to find Sidney(as stated early on several times), why not just take Dewey, Gail, and Cotton et al hostage? The first two movies mocked the Idiot Plot Rule; this one mostly personifies it.
It's a shame, because there could have been something made from all this(oh, almost forgot; Dempsey, who I normally don't like, is surprisingly good, and also unrecognizable here). But this certainly doesn't break any rules. Even the Jamie Kennedy cameo seems obligatory rather than fresh. This suggest they should have stopped at the second one.
Director Wes Craven and writer Ethen Krueger (taking over for Kevin Williamson) helped make this film happen. This time we're taken to Hollywood, California where Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) is now a talk show host, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox Arquette)is a t. v journalist, Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is a technical advisor for the Stab 3 movie, and Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is under a different name in order to protect herself. This time however there is a new killer(s) trying to get to Sydney, but it someone from her mother's past can Sydney survive another blood-bath as it seems the killer(s) is killing the cast members of the Stab 3 movie and won;t stop until Sydney is dead! My thoughts a great ending to the trilogy it definately has a few good scares and fills a lot of plot holes of why Maureen was killed. I won't give anything away but the killer(s) was a big surprise.RECOMMENDED! ***1/2 out of *****
After surviving the second wave of ghostface killings, Sidney Prescott
has retired to the mountains to live in peace and work as a phone call
therapist. Sadly for her she is about to be dragged back into the
nightmare because the production of Stab 3 is rocked by murder and the
killer is leaving pictures of Sidney's dead mother at the crime scenes.
I have to admit that I once never gave this film much love, I loved the first two to such a degree that I felt this third and final instalment was way off being a fitting closure to what was at the time a trilogy. Yet as time has wore on I have really grown fond of the film, Parker Posey no longer annoys the hell out of me, the once jarring itch of watching the makers kill off a fave character of mine in the opening sequence is something I now view as a masterstroke, and the twisty ending that was once an irksome pest has moved on to be the perfect "trilogy" closure.
Scream 3 has its tongue firmly in its cheek, it's aware of its number and it's aware of its formulaic root, so in spite of treading familiar ground (I mean come on gang, have you not learnt nothing from your previous experiences), the returning characters still have our undivided attention. While the transporting of the story to Hollywood, with its movie within a movie structure, is fresh and adds a new dimension to proceedings. New additions to the scary fun are Patrick Dempsey, Emily Mortimer, Lance Henriksen and the afore mentioned Parker Posey, and all of them add greatly to the mysterious plot unfolding.
The death quotient is still high, and the Wes Craven school of whodunitry is well and truly open, and I personally feel that this one is easily the funniest film of the three, witness Jay & Silent Bob turning up, a Carrie Fisher sequence that once heard will never be forgotten, and a video appearance by passed on geek god Randy Meeks. Scream 3 closes the "trilogy" just fine, it's got bags of energy and a glint in its eye, now if only I could get a copy of the uncompleted Stab 3 off the internet - and if only there wasn't to be a part 4 further down the line... 7/10
The movie begins with Cotton Weary driving in L.A. while talking on a
cellular phone. And of course someone clicks in and you can only guess who
it is-thus begining the traditional Scream opening murder suspense scene.
Sidney Prescott has moved down to the Los Angeles area and has basically
gone into hiding, working out of her house as a crisis-hotline operator.
Gale Weathers is the same as always of course as a bitchy tabloid news
anchor. She has written a new novel though which is what the movie inside
Scream 2 (STAB) is based except Stab 2 has already been released and they
are in production of Stab 3. Dewey is also on the scene as a type of
on the set. One by one the cast of the film turn up murdered according to
script. The old hollywood mansion as the final scene makes a great setting
as the surprise twist-final deaths take place. Definately a satisfactory
ending that kinda wraps it all up, with some great cameo appearances
especially with the video of Randy that was a great touch to keep the
'trilogy-movie buff' type of thing in the movie. The movie goes back to its
roots and fills in all the little holes of the first one. Of course the
movie may have been a little better with Kevin Williamson's touch but
overall it was still great. I went into the movie without having very high
expectations at all. I am a very big fan of the original Scream, yet going
into Scream 2 I was expecting it to be very good and I was extremely
disappointed with the outcome. So going into Scream 3 I just didn't set
myself up for the disappointment. But I was very very pleased it was
AWESOME Go see this movie if you are a fan of the original.
I'd give it a 9.5 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Scream 3 is the final chapter of the Scream trilogy - a series of films
that not only mocks and lampoons on other films, but also mocks itself.
Scream 3 picks up the story a couple of years after the events of the first film. The production of "Stab 3" grinds to a halt as a killer picks off the cast in the order that their characters die in the film. This draws the three main protagonists of the series together as they determine who is behind these murders.
Scream 3 is a definite improvement over the disappointing second entry. It not only takes the p!ss from other scary movies but also takes the p!ss out of itself and the Scream films. You get a perverse enjoyment out of the actors playing the characters from "real life" (eg: Parker Posey doing a Courteney Cox impersonation). It sort of reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where the characters of the pilot episode "Jerry" interact with the "real life" Seinfeld characters.
There are plenty of brilliant in-house film buff jokes too (eg: Jay and Silent Bob making an appearance and a Carrie Fisher look-a-like).
Anyhows - this is a horror film - and although there are a couple of scares - it doesn't reach the terrifying level of the original. And the film seems pretty tame on the gore front! But if you go in with an open mind (ie: don't be expecting it to be as good as the first) and you might have fun.
"Scream 3" takes us to the Northern California hills, where Sidney
Prescott (Neve Campbell) is living in seclusion and immense fear due to
the traumatic events that she survived in Woodsboro and at Windsor
College. Meanwhile, a Hollywood movie studio is producing a film called
"Stab 3", the third installment in a movie series based on the events
that Sidney has survived. But when cast and crew members begin to die
off one by one, it seems another killer has returned, and goes after
the fragile Sidney (who is having terrifying visions of her dead
mother). Sidney teams up with Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and
policeman Dewey (David Arquette), two people who survived the massacres
with Sidney, and try to uncover the new killers identity, which may be
linked to Sidney's past.
The last installment in a very popular horror series, "Scream 3" brings this trilogy to end on an entertaining but rather weak note. The script for this film is nowhere near as good as the other two, which is unfortunate considering this film was the "finale" of the series. It would have been nice to end the series with a better film - not that this sequel is unbearably bad, but it could have been better. I will admit there are some decent scare moments and a handful of suspenseful scenes, but it seems to me that there's almost too much going on in this sequel for it's own good. The script juggles the Sidney character, Sidney's past, the Dewey/Gail relationship, the cast members of the "Stab 3" movie, and more, and the jumping around hurt the film a little. It didn't seem to have a central point within it, and that was a problem, for me at least.
Besides the problems that it has, I still have to say that I enjoyed this movie, mostly because of the entertainment factor. The writing wasn't amazing, but it did manage to continue to have some nice plot developments and a few good twists, plus some decent scares and more slight mocking of the genre and it's rules. The setting is mainly Hollywood, so this film has a completely different atmosphere than the second or the first film. I'm not sure if it necessarily hurt the film, but it seemed a little too "Hollywood" for me. The cast is good here, with more returning characters and some new ones as well, mainly added for body count, while the others do develop somewhat during the movie. The twist-ending (which is the revelation of the killer's identity) made sense in terms of the story, but I found it to be a little unsatisfying.
All things considered, "Scream 3" is an enjoyable but problematic ending to an above-average horror trilogy. You'll be entertained undoubtedly, but this movie can't compete with the second or the first films, because it just isn't as good. I enjoyed it for the most part and I have trouble over-criticizing it, but most people will agree when I say that it can't compare with the original film. 6/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Scream series became a popular series with critics and audience due
to the fact it was a self-aware slasher film that knew the clichés of
the genres whilst still working as a slasher film. But the third film
of the series is considered the weak link of the franchise.
After the events of the Woodsboro and Windsor College, a third film is being made in Hollywood to complete a trilogy. But a new killer is stalking has donned the Ghostface mark, targeting both the film cast and survivors of the Woodsboro killings, leading to Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and her ex-boyfriend, Dewey (David Arquette) to investigate as Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is forced out of hiding after she suffers from visions of her deceased mother.
The Scream series has always had a self-aware/meta element to it, but with Scream 3 its satire is taken a step too far as it takes jabs against Hollywood. The big jokes are about the production include constant re-writes to the film suffers, an actress saying she is playing a character that is 14 years younger then her, a music video director forced to make Stab 3 as his directional debut before he can make the film he wants, actors having to sleep with people to get roles and producers debating violence in films influencing real-life violence. The film just got too meta as an actor and the person she is meant to be playing arguing and talking about the rules of a trilogy. This is a film was much more focused on being a satire on Hollywood as a whole then a spoof of the horror genre.
Tonally Scream 3 is lighter then previous films. There was always a comic undercurrent to the series, but it becomes much more pronounced in Scream 3 with the characters interactions and the deaths themselves were less gruesome and more over-the-top, particularly with a house getting blown up which was done in a unrealistic way and there is a sequence when Ghostface throws hi s knife and the handle hits Dewey on the head. There was even an occasional comical musical moments in score and a very overt cameo from the characters Jay and Silent Bob.
I found the best bits were when Scream 3 was more serious, when we see Sidney living an isolated life in the countryside, with tons of security and works as a women's crisis counsellor: it felt like a good continuous to her story. But it does not blend well with the more comic tone and the film as a whole was struggling to justify her presence in the film. There are long period where she is not involved in the film, she is not involved at all in the first act and forces a reason to be in the film.
Much of the problems of the lay at the feet of the new writer Ehren Kruger who replaced Kevin Williamson. It felt like Kruger was trying to copy Williamson's style and directed Wes Craven wanted to remake New Nightmare. The characters did feel a little compared to the previous movies and the satire/self-aware elements of the film was not as sharp to the first two movies.
The acting also felt weak, with many of the actors either phoning in their performances or shouting and screaming, including a scene where the Stab actors end up acting clichéd horror victims/targets.
Whilst Craven's directing is solid for the most part, a big criticism some of the sequences involving Ghostface's attacks looks like there was more then one killer, but the conclusion shows there was only one killer.
At the time Scream 3 was originally meant to be a conclusion for the series and it was a disappointment due to poor script and overly comic tone. It is not the worst film, it's not even bad by horror standards. There are good moments, but it is disloyal to certain aspects of the previous films, including the character revisions, which you would have thought Craven would have noticed.
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