The following movie review was originally written at the time of the film’s theatrical or video release. Aside from minor editorial adjustments, it remains as originally published—warts and all.
Scream 3 Movie Review
Scream was on the cutting edge. It brought back the horror genre. The genre had slipped into cardboard cut-outs of the great horror films of the past. Cookie cutter films that Hollywood believed we wanted to see. Sequel upon boring sequel; rip-off upon rip-off. The same old story rehashed a hundred times over.
Scream Changed Everything
Wes Craven changed that with Scream. It was intelligent and clever. The characters knew all the horror tropes. It’s like they knew they were in a horror movie.
Scream 2 continued what Scream had begun, only this time challenging the rules of a film sequel. It was quite clever in its own way, with more witty dialogue and some wonderful suspenseful sequences. But it was a near impossibility for viewers to solve the mystery, which was a big cheat for us.
Now comes Scream 3, which pales in comparison to either of the preceding films. The trilogy followed the typical trilogy rules and got continually worse with each installment. The dialogue is washed out, the suspense never builds, and I never felt the scares.
The Characters Have Learned Very Little in Scream 3
The characters have no new development for us to build on from the previous films. We like to learn more about the characters we have come to care about. The more you care for the characters the more frightened you become when something happens to them.
The characters in this film seem to have learned very little throughout the series—unlike in Scream 2. If Sydney (Neve Campbell) was harassed on the telephone by a psychotic killer, why would she take a position as a crisis counselor on a telephone hotline? It’s a prime opportunity for psychos to harass her on the phone again.
I would have had much more respect for the film if it had found a way to come full circle at the climax. Let’s see Sydney dealing with the traumatic experiences that have plagued her a good portion of her adult life.
Hiding out in the woods by herself is not what I would have expected from Sydney Prescott.
As for the rest of the characters, they have learned even less than Sydney has. Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox
-Arquette) is still the bitch who wants to exploit the murders of Hillsboro.
Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) has now sold out and become a technical advisor on the film Stab 3. In Scream 2, he was against the marketing of films based on the real traumatic experiences they had experienced. Now he’s helping to make them.
One thing I did like—a now redeemed Cotton Weary (Liev Schriber) now has own talk show, 100% Cotton. I would have liked to see more of this, actually.
Had the characters grown in Scream 3, they wouldn’t have felt like useless horror movie people. Instead I thought to myself, “They’re getting what they deserve.”
Scream 3 Movie Review: A Flat and Unsatisfying Ending
The final film in a trilogy should build on the tension of the first two films. There should be a raw energy. It should climax in a way that is satisfying to both the viewer and the characters, and loose ends should be tied up and answered.
This was not the case. The film ends with another twist no one could have guessed and leaves you with even more questions left unanswered.
Scream 3 had a lot of potential. They could have lessened the humor and gone for a dark retribution picture. Sydney regaining the life that has been taken from her over the series.
Or for a twist, what if previous events had messed Sydney up so badly, she actually becomes Ghostface? That could have been fun.
The point is, the film should have been about Sydney and she was in it far too little. The energy was there to build on, but it was completely ignored. We were left with an ending that felt flat and unsatisfying.
Do any of the main characters die? I won’t say.
I will only say this: Scream 3 has taken a step back to the typical horror film, where the outcome is very predictable.
Something the original film made fun of.
Directed by: Wes Craven
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