Scream 3 (2000) — Not quite as cutting as it wants to be

“It’s your turn to scream now!”

Justin’s rating: Tossing you a threebie

Justin’s review: After a month sabbatical from movies, I went and saw my first film of 2000: Scream 3. And once I shook the pins and needles out of my rear from a very uncomfortable movie seat, I checked my feelings after seeing it. The census? Nine out of 10 body parts thought it was pretty… blah.

It’s only slightly ironic that the third chapter in the Scream series fall into the same traps — and tropes — that every other horror series suffers from. We pick up the storyline somewhere, possibly where we left it, and now we’re in Hollywood. The opening sequence passes by without much tension, then the old cat-n-mouse game continues until the killer is revealed and the audience shouts in unison, “Didn’t see that one coming! Boy are we dumb! Let’s go see I Know What You Did To Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s Career Last Summer!”

It’s really hard to get emotional over this movie, because it didn’t really stink, it didn’t shine, it was just like a Brady Bunch reunion after 10 years. You know the characters, you know the story… you just don’t give a rip anymore. Sidney (Neve “raccoon makeup” Campbell) is the single most unconvincing horror heroine in movie history. It’s whine, whine, whine, run from the killer, whine. Dewey and Gale are back, but now it just seems like another little date for them. And our killer, Mr. Ghostface, just doesn’t have the punch for scare and blood. Even the opening sequence just paled in comparison to Drew Barrymore’s terrific bit in the first movie.

I really liked Scream because it was not only a genuinely scary slasher, but also because the characters were sassy and fun. Randy was the best horror character ever, and they had to go and off him. Fortunately, he does come back (via some video technology) in Scream 3, but it’s too short to be anything other than a cameo.

I’d say more, like how the pop culture references are weakly scripted and how non-effective the movie-within-a-movie gimmick is now, but I should point out two things that really contributed to the demise of the Scream series. One is the movement away from the teen culture to the older adult generation. Scream was all about how Gen X has grown up with the slasher films and how they’re a part of our pop culture and awareness. Scream 3 is no longer ironic, as it surrounds itself with shell after shell of Hollywood fakery. It just doesn’t work.

The second thing I might dote on is the letdown of the whole “trilogy” mindset. The previews, and most of the film, are aimed at getting you set up for shocking shocks and surprising twists that come when a horror movie “throws the rules out of the window.” I’m sorry, but do studios have contradictory departments to check to make sure that they make good on a movie’s promise? You might think it’s a spoiler to tell you this, but it’s really not: There’s no big trick ending to speak of, and you might actually be surprised at how unoriginal the whole thing becomes.

I don’t want to say that Scream 3 is a bad movie; it’s just not a really good one. Let’s say this: it’s formulaic, and if you want more of the same, then you got it. I genuinely enjoyed a couple parts, particularly a cameo from Jay and Silent Bob (this drew the biggest laugh from the 20-person crowd I was in). I spent a lot of time looking at Courtney Cox’s hair and deciding if it was a wig or not. Um, that’s about it. You can go now.

Kyle’s rating: I can’t believe it’s over. Though it had better be!

Kyle’s review: So here it was, Scream 3. Purportedly the final chapter to what is arguably the most important series of modern horror films (whether that’s good or bad is up to you), I just had to see the first show on the first day it opened. That meant the 11:30 a.m. showing at the Krikorian in Southern California. No problem, I even get to sleep in!

The night before, when I got home from college I knew that I had to refresh my Scream memory. So I re-watched the first two, noticing little character quirks and culprit clues (both found mostly in Scream) as well as stupid things and undeniable crap moments (most of Scream 2). Being a self-proclaimed horror connoisseur, I’ve seen as many scary movies as video stores have to offer. And I knew that if Scream 3 should happen to not deliver on the goods, then my book would show Scream to be a fine adulation/spoof slasher movie with two semi-watchable sequels. I had to dash my hopes for the second sequel so that no matter what I got it had to be good. It did have a lot to live up to.

The first Scream was a streamlined machine that takes the token assortment of horror film characters and runs them through the usual charnel clichés and plot twists; the charm is that this time the kids know what’s going on and (especially Randy) take the time to point out that what’s happening to them in their reel lives is simply Prom Night and Halloween brought to life, with classic horror movie rules providing a cheat sheet to figure out who lives and who dies. It was a great film with a neat idea that appealed to the horror film enthusiast within me, I was just surprised so many other people seemed to get the in-jokes, though most of them were probably just enjoying the rarity of a well-made slasher flick.

Scream 2, featuring the first film’s survivors grown up and in a college setting, turned away from the sly winking at the die-hard horror fans and decided to just give everybody the same thing: blood and ripping and tearing. This sequel is nothing more than a well-made slasher flick with characters who happened to have survived a really witty slasher flick, and who are allowed to drop the fun “hey, we’re in a horror movie, this is scary yet fun!” mindset and wallow in post-traumatic stress and angst. People we like get butchered, as well as people we don’t, and the revelation of the latest killers don’t seem quite as neat and surprising as it did in the first one. The point is made repeatedly by the still self-aware characters that sequels never really live up to the first installment and perhaps with irony in mind (or perhaps not) Scream 2 doesn’t quite live up to the first movie. There is stuff that you might jump at and you’ll wince at the occasional blood splattering, but like our heroine Sidney we’ve seen it all before.

And now I’ve seen all three, and I know why everything started and I know what everything has led to. So now what do I know about the last movie, and the entire trilogy as a whole? Well, I know this for certain: Scream 3 is, at the very least, a satisfying finale to the storyline that began with Sidney’s mother’s death. I also think the power of the entire trilogy, especially the first film, is lessened by the grand revelations of the third film, but in the end it’s all been a fun and worthwhile ride.

Sidney (Neve Campbell) is still our battered heroine, now living in isolation and using a fake name to assist those in need through an assistance hotline. She has a big protector dog and a few fancy alarm systems, and we get a pretty scary dream sequence that all points out Sydney is still screwed up mentally. She lives alone and in constant fear, and when news reaches her that people are getting killed again, she knows that she’ll have to face down her fear again, and perhaps for the very last time.

Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courtney Cox) are still around, Dewey is a consultant for the film Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro, which allows us to have a bunch of actors and actresses playing the characters of Sydney, Dewey and Gale as well as having the real ones around too. Twice the dudes = twice the killing opportunities! Gale sticks her nose into things once the killings start, and it’s clear that we’ll be getting plenty of romantic entanglements between Gale and Dewey. How sweet!

There are also other people in this movie that are walking targets. They’re OK as potential victims, though I’m not a Parker Posey-addict (like some people), so having her cast as Stab 3’s Gale Weathers didn’t do anything for me. Other than the big three, the finest cast addition has to be ’80s mainstay Patrick Dempsey as the LA homicide detective handling the murders, who seems to have a thing for the terror that has plagued Sidney and also seems to have a thing for Sidney. Looking older and with cool longer hair, it’s nice to see Patrick Dempsey in a movie again and he’s pretty cool, too.

So, if you’re a fan of either Scream movie, you NEED to go see this in the theaters. Why? Dude, you’re going to see it eventually, and it’s a lot cooler on the big scream. If you’re not much of a fan but you’re still curious, my best advice is to either see the first two before you go or wait till you can do a Scream marathon of all three films at home, because Scream 3 has so much baggage from the previous films you need to have seen them to understand. Not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just warning you. Scream 3: Not the best slasher film I’ve ever seen, but as the conclusion of the Scream trilogy, it’s not too bad at all!

Andie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 Dew-Drop saves

Andie’s review: Well, I’m going to go against the flow and say that I really enjoyed Scream 3. I didn’t go in expecting to be scared, so I wasn’t disappointed. I thought there were a couple good scares here and there, but not nearly as many as the first one. What I did really like about this movie was how campy and funny it was. I laughed harder at this one than I did at the first one.

I’m not trying to argue that this one was the best; it wasn’t. But I did like it better than the second one and it was almost as good as the first. I think it was a fine tie-up to the trilogy. And it perfectly fits with my Trilogy Theory. In all trilogies, the original is the best. This is indisputable. The second is usually not as good; it could pass as a good movie on its own, but compared to the first one, it’s not as good. The third one is usually better than the second and a good follow up to the first.

So anyway, back to Scream 3. I really liked that Randy got to make a cameo, that was clever. I also liked Parker Posey. I’m not a PP freak, she actually kind of annoys me, but she was a good Gale Weathers and watching the two of them run around together was hilarious. I also think Patrick Dempsey turned out very sexy. My only complaints with the movie is that I think one of the main characters should’ve died, cause that would’ve fit the trilogy “all bets are off” thing and the girl playing the girl playing Sidney was annoying as hell, I was glad when she bought it.

I also have to admit that if a Scream 4 came out, even though it’d probably suck, I would have to go see it, probably on opening night. I just think these are good movies. So go see Scream 3, it’s very entertaining.

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