Parody can be surprisingly dangerous when it doesn’t take itself seriously enough as it can move towards standard issue comedy. Scream had quite a light touch regarding its inspiration; it had to otherwise all you had was another Scary Movie, which were great in their own right, but far more heavy handed. Scream was about homage and entertainment and a good fright. The biggest dangers faced by the Scream franchise was that it would end up getting mean, sloppy, and purely money driven; in other words too much like the films it was based on.
Continuing the story some time after the events of the second film, Scream 3 kicks off with Cotton Weary, the kinda baddie from earlier in the series, receiving one of the iconic Scream phone calls that tells him that a killer is waiting for him at his home in Hollywood. Worried about his girlfriend, Cotton hurries home where the ghostface killer is indeed waiting and who proceeds to murder Cotton and his missus.
Gale and Dewey play detective and look into what’s occurring and what it has to do with the Stab movie, all the time without the help of Sidney, the main chick from the first two movies, who has taken to the life of a recluse as she’s more than a little bit concerned about being brutally murdered at any moment. One of the actresses from Stab is bumped off by the killer who then takes to tormenting Sidney by phone. The long-distance needling does the trick and Sidney goes to Hollywood to confront the latest in a string of potential murderers to find out just why everyone’s been so keen to kill her for all these years…
In the absence of any guiding principle, the “script” was mashed up and twisted and bares all the hallmarks of having been rewritten while the film was being made. As a result Scream 3 doesn’t know what it wanted to be and so ends up mostly as an outright comedy, though it’s not clear that this was all together intentional.
As part three in the series a big deal is made about movie trilogies and the rules that allegedly govern them; things like how all the rules are changed and even main characters can be killed off. With all the talk about trilogies in the film they leave out the obvious – that a lot of third films are not wanted. Some are, like when the second two films in a series are really a two part story themselves, like Empire and Jedi or even the less well loved Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, but most are more like the third X-Men or Spider-Man movies. Just like the worst trilogies that overplay something, with Scream 3, you’ve had your fill of people getting stabbed to death, it was really time for something new.
The acting is atrocious, Courtney Cox is diabolical in Scream 3, and dragging out the same old core characters and then adding in some new ones is too simple a ploy – if a character wasn’t in the last film then their chances of surviving this one were slim from the outset. The characters in Scream 3 are so weak they even had to squeeze in characters from earlier films that were dead, that’s how hard up they were.
Something has always bothered me about the Scream films and it really bothered me third time out. There was never a supernatural element to the Scream films, all the baddies were people with murderous tendencies. So, knowing this, why was everyone so scared and acted so stupidly? Never mind running up stairs why didn’t someone try punching the fucker with the knife? Or better yet hitting them with a big stick? For the most part, everyone just runs around screaming and then dies. Probably as they were ready to do anything to get out of this crock of shit film.
Two Thumbs Firmly Down for Scream 3