Directed by: Wes Craven
Distributed by: Dimension Films
Written by Nick McCann
Hindsight is quite the superpower. While not as lucrative as the first movie, “Scream 2” did fairly well in its day and is still favored among some fans. Regardless of its problems, interest was still there for a third entry as the century turned. In the case of modern scrutiny, “Scream 3” becomes interesting to note. Even with its own shortcomings, this film seems to retroactively have more to offer than it did at first glance on release. Although it’s about on par with what came before.
Ghostface takes to Hollywood as the Woodsboro gang finds themselves on his trail when a movie crew is targeted. “Scream 3” sets its sights on concluding the trilogy and tying together all its loose ends. And like most horror conclusions, the road to getting there is far-fetched more often than not. The tone also goes more all out with the meta-humor and references. But with Wes Craven back directing for a third time, the energy remains high. Of special note is how the movie makes commentary about Hollywood higher-ups taking advantage of rising talent. Considering the infamous company of the Weinsteins in this series, this area of the film has aged scarily well over the years. It goes a long way to strengthening the meat on the bone of this murderous guessing game.
This ensemble is the weakest of the Scream series of films. Many of our supporting players don’t have a ton going for them other than filling in the stock slasher archetypes. Their performances are generally solid though, from the likes of Parker Posey, Lance Henriksen, Patrick Warburton, and others. To paraphrase “Pulp Fiction,” just because they are characters doesn’t mean they have any. Our legacy characters however continue to be in top form. David Arquette is a confident, selfless hero and Courtney Cox is plucky and tough. Neve Campbell’s role is seriously reduced and while that may be the intention of the movie, her lack of screen time doesn’t give her a lot of connection to a story that’s predicated on emotional connections. But when she is around, she brings it full force.
It’s still a consistent-looking movie on a technical level. Camera work is swift and the production design has a lot of fun with its movie production setting. As previously stated, the meta humor goes for it with a loosened grip no longer focused on keeping things grounded as it had in previous entries (look out for Bluntman and Chronic for further proof). There are also plenty of effective chases, complete with solid stunt work. As for the kills, they are largely a step-down with a lot restraint on blood and makeup effects. Although a really over-the-top explosion takes the cake for me.
“Scream 3” is about on par with “Scream 2”. It has its own set of drawbacks and benefits. The main cast is fun and the thematic material gives it an edge from the time gone by. But then there are lackluster kills, large amounts of flat characterization, and some questionable story points. But like “Scream 2”, its best parts make the experience worthwhile. It’s a flawed but nice place to rest the series at the time. Of course, like any big franchise, a definite end is never definite.
“Scream 3” Trailer