Thursday, January 05, 2017
Scream 3 (2000)
DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
WRITER: Ehren Kruger
Sidney Prescott is now in hiding after the events of Windsor College. She is currently living off the grid and in an unknown remote location. Soon, Sidney is again dragged back into a game of cat and mouse when news surfaces that Cotton Weary is brutally murdered. The killer is killing the actors of Stab 3, the new movie in production that is based on her life. With each new murder, the killer is leaving pictures of Sidney's mother Maureen in hopes of luring her out of hiding so she can finally be finished off.
Released three years after Scream 2, I was still only 14 years of age at the time. This also meant that I was still in need of adult supervision to watch the latest entry in the Scream franchise. I can remember taking the entire day off school with my best mate at the time who was also a fellow Scream fanatic, and his mum also tagged along. We went and bought our tickets to the first two sessions of Scream 3 on its opening day here in Australia. We were so confident that we would love it that we went from one session and straight into the next.
Back when Scream 3 was initially released, I absolutely loved it. I was so blown away by how grand and epic the movie felt in comparison to the first two films, that I was completely blinded by all of the film's faults. As I've grown older, I'm more aware and a little bit wiser, I soon began to notice that Scream 3 is easily the most stunted when it comes to all the things that made the first two films so enjoyable and scary. While it certainly tries, it still falls short when compared to the excellent original, and it's very impressive sequel.
It's pretty clear that Scream 3 had a troubled production. The movie was coming out at a time when the world was reeling from the Columbine massacre. This, in turn, had studios requesting that the violence is toned down. In a movie like Scream 3, violence is essential, as is the blood and gore. This is a slasher for god sakes. You can honestly feel that Scream 3 is stricken by this as the movie severely lacks the vicious kills and carnage candy that Randy talks about in the second film. It's a mostly bloodless affair.
What Scream 3 also lacks is scares, tension, and suspense. While it still tries to play by the rules that Kevin Williamson set in the first two films. Ehren Kruger takes over the writing duties on Scream 3 and in the process, it loses a lot of the wit and smarts that Kevin bought with his writing. Instead of giving us equal doses of cleverness with our scares, Scream 3 brings the comedy to the forefront. At times some of the scenes are almost played as hijinks. This is seen in the bickering between Parker Posey and Courteney Cox. While I loved them together, it sort of killed all tension in the film.
Scream 3 is also the film in the franchise where we as an audience have to suspend the most disbelief. I really feel this is the film that jumped the shark so to speak. We witness a death scene in which I adored, that involves a house in the Hollywood Hills being blown sky high that is the most elaborate kill we've ever seen in the series. It's far-fetched, and the whole lead up is ridiculous. The movie also shows the ghost of Maureen Prescott. While these scenes are the eeriest scenes in the film, they also take you out of the stalk and slash element of the story.
There is so much to enjoy about Scream 3 though. The fact that they've successfully managed to have Randy Meeks return to the third film was nothing short of genius. I have to ask, though, how did Martha Meeks slip onto the studio backlot? The Carrie Fisher cameo is perfection. The way that they managed to successfully tie the entire series together with a satisfying enough conclusion with the Maureen Prescott story and the whole theme of Hollywood chewing young actresses up and spitting them out storyline added something far more tragic to Maureen's character.
I found that the three leads within Scream 3 are all solid. Neve Campbell as Sidney has a much smaller role in this film, but I still found the conclusion for her character arc to be quite a lovely and beautiful moment. That final scene with the door opening and her leaving it open felt like the end of an era. I also loved the dynamic between David Arquette and Courteney Cox. I think both actors play very well off each other. I also loved the way they closed off their character arcs and had them get engaged. It felt like a light after all the darkness.
Now when it comes to the supporting cast, I found that a lot of the actors were either underused or not given enough screentime. So Emily Mortimer, Deon Richmond, Matt Keeslar, and Patrick Dempsey suffer the most. Parker Posey is the standout in Scream 3. She steals every single scene that she is in. She plays a condescending and bitchy actress very well. I also felt that Jenny McCarthy brought a lot to her small role in the film. She is a solid comedic actress. Scott Foley was also pretty enjoyable towards the end of his final scene.
Lastly, this is not part of the review but more an interesting story to do with the early drafts of the script. I can remember reading an interview with Kevin Williamson where he talked about his original idea for Scream 3 was about a group of Woodsboro teens who were killers and wanted fame which turned out to be used in Scream 4. The idea for The Following and another one where Stu survived and was orchestrating the kills from prison. I wonder how the series would've played out had these managed to be the way the series closed off.
DEATH TOLL: 10
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is slashed and stabbed in the chest and head.
- Someone is stabbed in the back.
- A woman is punched through a glass door and stabbed in the back.
- Someone is stabbed in the back and hit with a frypan.
- An actor is blown up in an explosion.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest.
- Someone gets stabbed and thrown over a balcony.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed and falls through a mirror.
- A director gets his throat slashed.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest and back with an ice pick.
- Someone is shot in the head.
Scream 3 is severely lacking when it comes to frights, blood, and gore. The third film is horror-lite. The third film in the series takes this entry in a more comedic direction, and it sadly suffers. The acting remains top-notch from all the three main actors and a couple of the supporting cast, the rest are underused. The film is still an enjoyable slasher and watchable, but when it comes to the Scream series, this is the one that sadly falls short for me the most. Passable but unfortunately not on par with the first two films or the fourth entry.