SCREAMtober: ‘Scream 3’ (2000)

Sequential Cinema is a look at film series throughout cinema history from blockbuster franchises to smaller and international fare.

The new Millenium has started with Scream 3 closing out its trilogy three years after the sequel. It’s a film marred by the tragedy of the Columbine Massacre. The original idea of Woodsboro High School kids obsessed with the Stab movies as the killers. Instead of a ripped-from-the-headlines story came a story in the heart of Hollywood. Ghostface is ready to become a star on the marquee in a conclusion to a trilogy that is a messy but fun miss.

Scream 3 shows that the Stab movie franchise is three films in with Return to Woodsboro. Cotton Wheatly (Liev Schriber) is set to cameo in the film. Yet, Ghostface kills his girlfriend Christine (Kelly Rutherford). Ghostface also takes Cotton is also taken out to pasture. This murder proves two things: Ghostface has gone Hollywood and anyone is up for grabs.

Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) are ex-lovers now. Dewey as a technical assistant on Stab 3. The cast consists of Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey) and Angelina Tyler (Emily Mortimer) as Gale and Sidney. Sarah Darling (Jenny McCarthy) also is a soon-to-be victim.

Along for the ride are two other actors, Tyson Fox (Deon Richmond) and Tom Prinze (Matt Kessler) fear for their lives. The director Roman Bridger (Scott Foley) gets pissed the murder is now putting a hold on his production. Studio head John Milton (Lance Henriksen) trying to prevent another incident.

Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey) is on the case trying to find who this new Ghostface is. To help is a returning Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). She’s come out of hiding away to help face Ghostface head-on once again. Ghostface has found her and she will stop at nothing to end them.

Sarah Darling (Jenny McCarthy) hides away from Ghostface among a rack of Ghostface costumes (which is a terrible strategy, to be honest). Source: Paramount Pictures

Yet, lurking is a family secret. This involves her mother Maureen complete with strange visions and dreams. A posthumous video appearance by Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) tells them to connect this third string of murders to the previous ones. This Ghostface is making it personal showing no end in sight to ending this trilogy once and for all.

Luckily, the series continues because Scream 3 is a hot mess. It’s a dumb movie with bright spots such as Parker Posey knowing what movie it is by being over-the-top. Yet, it’s such a weird-ass way to end another wise great series. It steers away from the conventions of horror into trilogy traps. 

It departs so off the main path that it feels like a parody of itself. The mystery itself is only solvable via one clue and some context. Yet, the end reveal is not rewarding with the distinction that this mastermind has been in on it since the get-go.   

Spoilers for a 20-year-old film: It’s Roman. He is Sidney’s half-brother who was born to Maureen. She had the stage name of Rina Reynolds starring in B-movies. Unfortunately, she was gang-raped and became pregnant with Roman. Roman sought revenge after his mother shunned him at the door.

Roman Bridger (Scott Foley) is Ghostface this time around, and this time, he is serving kills family-style. Source: Paramount Pictures

With that, he filmed her having an affair with Billy Loomis’ father. The footage made Billy (along with Stu) commit murders. The plan was to kill the mother and get to Sidney and those in the way. 

The fact itself is unbelievable. The suspension of disbelief for this reveal is out the window. It’s the shrug emoticon of reveals. It also ignores 2 outright. It’s a cliche of the trilogy trope, not a satire or parody. It plays it straight which is the worst crime a Scream film can do.

The lack of Sidney in the film also makes the reveal less impactful. That is more due to Neve Campbell’s schedule rather than anything the film could do. For that, I do not fault those involved. The story does lose a wealth of impact as she is hardly involved. Instead, Dewey and Gale carry the brunt of the film. Both of them make a good duo as a foil to one another.

If you count Courtney Cox’s massively fucked-up haircut, it’s a trio.

Ghostface went wild as fuck with the deaths having a high kill count. Every single one of the Stab 3 actors dies. Sarah and Angela get the most basic kills out of them. rumor has it that Sarah is a satirical take on Sarah Michelle Gellar who might have asked too much of Craven. She’s killed in Roman’s office at the studio. Tyson’s stabbed and thrown off from a window (a la Gellar). Jennifer’s killed via stabbing as well, this time behind a two-way mirror.

The most ridiculous death comes with Tom Prinze. He gets blown up in an explosion. Ghostface blew up a whole house in an attempt to get all the actors, Dewey and Gale at once. Instead, the rest leave as Prinze lights a lighter causing the gas to explode the house they resided in. Holy hell, it was so unnecessary and unexpected.

Cinema. Source: Paramount Pictures.

[Sidenote: Patrick Warburton also dies. This is the most criminal act those as Ghostface could ever do. By default, this makes Roman the evilest Ghostface.]

Scream 3 may be dumb, but I cannot deny it’s a fun watch. Even if it’s silly and non-sensical, it goes for the jugular on weirdness. Sidney has visions of her mother calling out to her. The Stab 3 cast as a whole are odd parodies and out of place.

Jay and Silent Bob show up for no real reason. Carrie Fisher also shows up to help forward the plot. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

Scream 3 isn’t the best of the series. The next film is a return to form in my opinion. 3 is the foul ball off a franchise that still manages to swing for the fences. However, for those that wish to catch it, you’re in for a wild treat.

Final Verdict: 2.5 out of 5
SCREAMtober: 3/4 Complete

Next time, we go eleven years into the future with Scream 4 aka SCRE4M. A whole decade later of Ghostface-free mayhem, they return to Woodsboro. Prepare for more death, more satire, and more Hayden Panetierre (Hell yeah!) to close out the series right this time. Till the next sequence.

PS: I planned this series before I learned that Scream (2022) was actually given the go-ahead. That film will be covered when the film hits VOD and Blu-Ray, not when it hits theaters in January.

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