Scream 3 opens with the exonerated Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) who's since been taking full advantage of all his publicity, popularity and recent celebrity status largely thanks to Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) gifting him with all the accolades of putting a stop to the dual killers in Scream 2. The new ghostface killer is trying to coax Sidney out of her self-imposed lifestyle that she's chosen for herself, convinced that anyone around her is a dead man walking, oddly enough she still keeps her father around though. Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) is still as tenacious as ever when she's asked by the local police to help with their investigation when the ghostface killer keeps leaving old photographs of Maureen Prescott on top of the victims, and nobody knows Maureen and her history better than Gale, except for Sidney, who's in hiding helping people from a distance.
In a heavy piece of meta-fiction the killings start taking place on the set of Stab 3, there's a lot of Hollywood 'behind the scenes' humor and in-jokes as well. Actors not wanting to return for increasingly trashy sequels, aspiring actors lamenting the fact that they're stuck doing trashy sequels and there was even a 'dig' about Stab 3 having three different scripts because of potential internet leaks, when in actuality the ending of Scream 2 was leaked onto the internet early. It's not nearly as witty as the original was, but it's still humorous, more humorous than any of the other entries have been so far.
Gale Weathers strikes up an unusual acquaintance with the actress who's playing Gale Weathers, Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey) who I always thought was underrated as a comedic actress. Dewey (David Arquette) is back as Sidney's guardian, and he's got the scars to prove it, although at this point it feels like he's channeling more of a comedic Don Quixote than he is the endearing, but out of his depth character from previous movies. The highlight for me was the all too-brief appearance of Randy (Jamie Kennedy) from the afterlife who lays down all the 'rules' for trilogies. Randy never got enough screen-time in any of the movies, but he was definitely a fan favorite. I think they would have been better off killing Dewey in Scream 2 and having Randy survive instead, but it is what it is.
I liked how Randy aptly put it, "If you find yourself dealing with an unexpected backstory, and a preponderance of exposition, then the sequel rules do not apply. Because you are not dealing with a sequel, you are dealing with the concluding chapter of a trilogy." and there is an unexpected backstory and a preponderance of exposition regarding the early years of Maureen Prescott's life in an effort to conclude the trilogy. The ramifications of her actions are definitely far-reaching, how many people died because of her? Either directly or indirectly, the ripple effect of her existence is massive.
To be honest it all felt a bit perfunctory at this point. Scream 3 is the sort of movie that Scream was originally satirizing. All of the self-aware aspects are still there, but they feel less effective than they did before. I enjoyed how the two Gale's did a bit of actual research this time around, but in doing so the sharp wit of the original was lost in favor of a fairly basic Hollywood corruption story. I'm no technology expert either, but a voice modulator that could emulate other people's voices so perfectly seemed far too advanced for the time. I could be wrong, but it seemed highly anachronistic to me. This is where the ghostface killer essentially became just another Jason Voorhees type slasher movie and lost the wittiness of the original. It's still worth a watch for horror/slasher fans, especially of the Scream franchise, but I doubt this one will win any new viewers over.
Written by - The Sentry - 31/03/2016