The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

SCREAM 3 (2000) ***

Scream 3 should’ve really been the end of the series. I’m not just saying that because of the 20/20 hindsight that comes from seeing the crappy Scream 4. The first Scream was about a killer(s) patterning his murders after the ones he’s seen in horror films. Scream 2’s killer(s) plans his murders around the opening of a horror movie based on the first movie’s murders. This one has another killer(no ‘s’) murdering people on the set for that movie’s sequel. Honestly, there was nowhere to go after this one. When you stop referencing other horror movies and start referencing your own series, it’s a sign to hang it up.

That’s not to imply that Scream 3 is a bad movie. It actually has some really strong sequences. The opening scene with Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) is arguably the best in the series. (I also like how his TV show was called 100% Cotton.) There’s also a good scene where the killer chases Neve Campbell through a movie set that is an exact replica of her house from the first movie. Probably the best addition to the Scream mythos is the gimmick of having the killer use a voice modulator to not only disguise his voice but to sound like other characters. By using this device, the killer lulls his potential victims into a false sense of security and is able to draw them out into the open to kill them.

There’s also more comedy and Hollywood in-jokes this time out. Director Wes Craven mined similar territory in New Nightmare, so all the film-within-a-film gags don’t resonate quite as well as they should’ve. Still, the cameos by such folks as Roger Corman, Jay and Silent Bob (the fact that they’re seen on a Hollywood back lot tour kinda ties into Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back), and Carrie Fisher (who gets the biggest laugh of the movie) are a lot of fun.

The returning cast of characters is pretty good, even though they gave Courteney Cox a horrid haircut; ruining her hotness credentials. Campbell isn’t given much to do and is strangely absent through a lot of the early scenes. I know her character was in hiding from the killer and all, but still. At least they found a pretty ingenious way to get Jamie Kennedy back into the mix.

The new cast members work out extremely well. Parker Posey is the standout. She’s terrific in this movie and she and Cox are great while bickering back and forth with one another. We also have Jenny McCarthy (looking yummy in a tight-fitting sweater), Patrick Warburton, Lance Henriksen (perfectly cast as a seedy movie producer), and Patrick Dempsey; before he became McCreamy or whatever.

Scream 3 has plenty of bright spots, but I do have my fair share of complaints about it. The big gripe about the flick I have is that there is just way too much exposition surrounding Campbell’s mother’s past in this one. I know the “rules of the trilogy” states there has to be a big secret that comes to light, but I think they could’ve come up with something a tad better. And the addition of nightmare sequences doesn’t really work in the established Scream lore either. And please tell me WHY they thought it was necessary to have Cox and Arquette’s characters break up AGAIN only to have them make up AGAIN?

I also kinda thought it was a gyp that there was only one killer in this one. And like Scream 2, the film goes on for far too long (almost two hours) and the finale has one too many false endings. I did like how in the end the door is LITERALLY left open for a sequel (that took eleven years to make).

Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3.

Tags: .the 31 days of horror-ween, craven, horror, s, scream series, sequel
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