Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Patrick Dempsey, Lance Henriksen
Director: Wes Craven
Hey, how cool is “Scream 3” gonna be!? I mean it’s following two pretty cracking prequels, it’s got Courtney and Neve in it and people die in big bloody messes. Well in a shocking twist, even more shocking than any the Scream movies have thrown at us, “Scream 3” has turned out to be complete and utter pants. And here’s why.
First a brief word about the story (the film doesn’t detail the relationships between the characters and I’m not going to either – maybe check out my reviews of “Scream” and “Scream 2”). It begins with Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) sitting in traffic on his cell phone. Cotton is now the successful host of TV chat show ‘100% Cotton’. I thought that was pretty cool.
Anyway, a familiar voice calls him and tells him that he is in his apartment and that his girlfriend is about to be killed unless Cotton tells him where Sidney (Campbell) is. Cotton chases home to try to rescue his girlfriend and that’s all I’ll say – this is excellent, the best part of the movie. It’s not giving too much away to say that a new killing spree has begun and Sidney, who is now hiding away on a remote ranch, is distraught when she hears. After she discovers that the killer knows where she is, she comes out of hiding and predictably hooks up with Dewey (Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Cox).
Meanwhile, the cast members of “Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro” are being killed one by one in the order they die in the movie (you may remember that “Stab” was the movie within “Scream 2” which was based on the storyline of “Scream”. Confused?). As an added twist though, with three versions of the script in print, no one knows which one the killer has read and therefore no one knows who the next target will be. In a further bit of intrigue, with each victim there is found a picture of Maureen Prescott from when she was younger. Now Maureen, for those who didn’t see “Scream” or have just plain forgotten, is the deceased mother of Sidney. She plays a key role in the storyline of the first movie. The killer is looking for Sidney and it’s up to her to track down him down before he finds her.
And that plot outline is as disjointed as this movie is. I can’t express how appalling this is. For a film series that was rightly noted for it’s humour, it’s tension and excellent plot development, this is dismal. Kevin Williamson (writer of the first two movies) is not on board for this one, and Ehren Kruger has taken up the writing reigns here. Sadly, although she was pretty much picking through the ashes anyway, she doesn’t distinguish herself in any way. We are introduced to the usual tired characters (Dewey, Weathers, Sidney), lose the best characters (Cotton, Randy) and discover a mixture of banal and irritating new ones.
The storyline is a shambles. It attempts to play on it’s genre (as the other movies did) by suggesting that since this is a movie trilogy, then this will be the worst example of carnage yet, with a bad guy who is impervious to pain. Sequel rules do not apply, apparently. We are also told that something from the past will return to shock the cast, and the audience. Of course this gives lazy script writers the ability to muck around with the storyline in order to try and squeeze more blood from this stone. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
We are treated to the return of Patrick Dempsey as Detective Mark Kincaid, for those who nostaligically recall his 80s ‘brat’ movies and Lance Henriksen (TVs “Millenium”) plays movie producer, John Milton. In addition we have appearances from Jenny McCarthy (oh, baby), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Kevin Smith (director of “Clerks”). Sadly, the most interesting part of the movie comes from spotting the cameo appearances, as the main cast are remarkably unremarkable.
It’s a real shame that “Scream 3” has turned out to be so poor. Where’s the subtlety? Why the slapstick? How come it’s not scary anymore? I saw the signs during “Scream 2” – maybe Wes should have realised that enough was enough. This is embarrassing.