My History With the Film:
By the time Scream 3 came out in 2000, the whole slasher revival had already worn out its welcome. The excitement that the original Scream generated had died off and the cast had moved onto different things. Still, there was money to be made with the franchise, and so Scream 3 was made and like the previous film, I caught this one on VHS.
I remember being excited that Jenny McCarthy was making her big acting debut since I’d grown up watching her on Singled Out. The film welcomed back Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, along with director Wes Craven which gave fans hope that this film would operate at the same level as the previous two films. Unfortunately Kevin Williamson was not back to write the script and the film never reached the heights of the first two movies. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it just didn’t quite reach that bar of excellence that the first two films hit.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Someone is murdering the cast of Stab 3 and Sidney, Dewey, and Gail find themselves in Hollywood trying to escape another killer.
What I Liked About It:
-I missed Woodsboro, but Hollywood made for an interesting backdrop for the film.
-The gang was back together and I was happy with how their characters had evolved from the first film, for better and worse.
– While I was thrilled with Sidney’s mom backstory, I thought the whole seedy 70’s Hollywood nightlife side was interesting, especially when being viewed from a Hollywood production.
-The chase scene through the set of Sidney’s house from the first Scream was great.
-Seeing Randy back in some form was a nice, unexpected moment.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The whole re-writing history part was a little absurd and the killer’s motive was weak.
-The supporting cast was very hit and miss and not very likable at all. Patrick Demsey was totally out of place in this movie. He was hired the night before his first scenes.
-I love the self-awareness and fun that Scream 1 and 2 had, but this film had none of that. Instead they used quick cameos such as Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, and Carrie Fisher to try and act hip and cool. It didn’t work.
-I liked how they brought Randy back, but I didn’t buy his sister just walking onto a movie studio lot that was supposed to be on lockdown because of the killings.
-While crucial to the plot, the whole voice changer that actually records and re-creates other people’s voices was a little to sci-fi for my liking. This might be my biggest hangup of the entire film.
-I hate that the music didn’t seem as consistent as the previous two films. Dewey’s Theme was missing as well, which seemed like a missed opportunity to really connect the movies. In fact, the music in the entire series seemed to go downhill with the first Scream having the best score and the Scream 3 having he worse despite having the same composer.
-Due to leaks of Scream 2’s script, three different endings were filmed and no one was told which one was going to be used.
-Neve Campbell’s contract allowed for her to be on set just twenty days, so her screen time was cut quite a bit and the supporting characters were given more to do.
-Kevin Williamson was working on a Scream 3 script that involved Stu (Matthew Lillard) surviving his stabbing in the first film and orchestrating a series of killings from prison on high school students. However, after the shooting at Columbine High School, Miramax wanted anything to do with a script involving high school violence.
-Kevin Williamson did an outline for the script, but screenwriter Ehren Kruger ignored all of it, and chose instead of write the script as filming occurred sometimes turning in pages the day of filming. It was so un-Scream Wes Craven had to do rewrites to make the character act like they did in prior films. And that is probably why this film doesn’t work nearly as well as the first two.
– In Fangoria 189, “Scream 3 deals very much with the reality of one’s life and the way the media tends to treat reality as a sensationalist object.”
Scream 3 is not a bad movie… it’s just not a good movie either. It’s a very serviceable slasher film that continues the Scream legacy without treading any new ground or even harkening back much to the original. It was clear that Kevin Williamson’s wit and charm was missing from the script and I think that is what makes us love Sidney, Gail, Dewey, and the gang so much. I like to believe that in an alternate universe Kevin Williamson wrote a Scream 3 script and it was glorious!
Despite its shortcomings, I still enjoy Scream 3 and give it a healthy three out of five and say it’s a must buy for fans of the series, or a rental for the rest.