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FLASHBACKS: Scream 3, 2/8/2000

One rumor I’d heard was correct. I’m glad they did it, too, bringing Randy (Jamie Kennedy) back for Scream 3, even if he was dead. About halfway or so through this third Scream, a video Randy made before his death in Scream 2 turns up, where he gives his final set of rules of horror films.

This is the turning point/shot in the arm for Scream 3, which takes awhile to remind me of the cleverness of the first film. At that point, this does become fun, though it doesn’t reach the wit or the emotional involvement (really) of the other Scream films.

As Scream 3 opens, the Woodsboro murders have inspired the movie series Stab; Stab 2 is in theaters, and Stab 3’s in production, when Stab 3 vast members start to die. Once again forced together are Dewey Riley (the always fun David Arquette), who’s adising the filmmakers; ambitious reporter Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox Arquette), who investigates the new deaths; and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the focus of the original murders, living in seclusion and working from home as a crisis counselor.

As Part Last of a trilogy, Scream 3 intentionally puts a spin on the first two films by providing the real motivation for the very first murders. It’s an interesting plot idea – it has to do with a time in the early ’70s when Sid’s mother Maureen left Woodsboro – but the final revelation of who’s really behind all of this lacks a vital punch, an “Oh my God” level of recognition, that the idea demanded.

I think the biggest reason for this lack of impact is the new cast: the actors generally aren’t distinctive enough, save for Parker Posey as a nervous, breathless starlet playing Gail Weathers in Stab 3 or Patrick Warburton (Puddy from Seinfeld) as a security guard.

I also could have done without a dream sequence – it disrupts the film’s reality to little effect – and the deaths this time don’t really thrill or hurt, the way it hurt when Casey (Drew Barrymore) tried in vain to yell “Mom” as she died in Scream.

But what gave me a kick from the other Scream films are still here: the movie references, the fun cameos (especially who Cox and Posey meet in a studio archive), the well-done ways of making almost everyone a suspect – which spawned many rumors, few correct – and the consistent look of all three films.

And I’ve always liked that Scream is, in part, about the limits of using films as a way of understanding life (the characters’ frame of reference comes almost entirely from movies). If you’ve seen it all at the movies, the Scream films say to me, you haven’t really seen it all.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
If a friend hadn't purchased a copy of Scream for me, I would never have watched the series because of my terror of The Axe Murderer (TM).

Casey's story was absolutely agonizing to watch (which I did literally from behind my then-husband); at the end, I *was* able to weakly laugh and say, "Oh ha-ha-ha I get it, it's kinda funny," but I can't say I've ever watched it again.

The other two films I have an easier time with and am pretty impressed with the way they were done...enough so that, during the remake of My Bloody Valentine, I rather loudly said more than once, "If they just would have watched Scream, this never would have happened..."

As a whole, I heartily approve of the series. But yeah, wow, I don't know that I could watch Casey's story again..
Apr. 7th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
Slightly off topic
Did you ever review Skeleton Key?
Apr. 7th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Slightly off topic
Never did: That came out when I wasn't reviewing for assignment, and I don't usually go to horror films. I'm not as drawn to them, though I pay attention to friends' recommendations, since I know lots of horror fans.

Plus (bias alert) I'm usually rubbed the wrong way by Ehren Kreuger. (I didn't even like the remake of The Ring all that much.) I tolerated his work in Scream 3 because what I've seen by Wes Craven, I've liked and admired. (Though liking and admiring director John Frankenhemier wasn't enough to make me appreciate Reindeer Games! Other than, you know, liking watching Charlize Theron get energetically schtupped...)

Mike Russell's review of Skeleton Key had this comment that stayed with me: "While driving, Kate Hudson tells paralyzed John Hurt to 'hang on!' With what? His piercing stare?" (Mike does like horror, by the way, but he can be pretty brutal when he doesn't like one.)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )