Stuff I Watch in October: Scream 3 (2000)

scream 3

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Scream 3 (2000)

scream 3

DIRECTOR: Wes Craven, who was clearly winging at this point.

WHAT IS IT?: The third film in the Scream franchise before we got an unfortunate and unnecessary fourth film which I don’t even acknowledge as existing, as well as two seasons of an MTV version which were so unmemorable, MTV rebooted it — and it still wasn’t very good.

THE PLOT: A few years following the events at Windsor College, a new Ghostface surfaces and murders Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) after Cotton refuses to give up the location of Sydney Prescott who, in the interest of sanity and self-preservation, has gone into seclusion, living off-grid at an undisclosed location and works, anonymously, as a phone counselor for abused women.

At first, Sydney stays where she is — but as the bodies begin to pile up and Ghostface finally manages to find out where she is, Sydney comes out of exile, re-uniting with Gale (Courtney Cox-Arquette), Dewey (David Arquette) and teams up with LAPD Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey) to find out just who it is behind the mask — only, this time, the answer to that question may unearth long-buried secrets pertaining to Sydney’s mother and her own past.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: Reviews were mixed. Roger Ebert called the characters transparent while a UK media source ripped the film because they were of the opinion that Wes Craven was ripping off his own New Nightmare. However, two other critics noted that it was a fitting end to the story of Sydney Prescott and that it was more clever than it had any right to be.

WHAT DID I THINK?: I have mixed feelings about “Scream 3”. On the one hand, it’s entertaining as hell. The movie feels larger and there’s a larger story at play which pretty much resolves the pesky mother angle and explains why Sydney’s home life was so screwed up…if you care, that is.

scream 3

I also like that the film “goes back to the beginning” a’la Return of the Jedi forcing Sydney to re-live her past and, eventually, the future, something Randy points out in his posthumous video tape he’s passed on to Sydney, explaining “the rules to a trilogy”.

One of my other favorite things is that, while Roger Jackson continues to provide the anonymous voice of “Ghostface”, the new gimmick of Ghostface using a voicebox which emulates the voice of anyone adds a bit of unpredictability to the proceedings.

However, the movie is not without its flaws.

First, after Scream 3 has a fantastic opening sequence involving the murder of Cotton Weary (something I did not see coming since the mythology of series sort of set him up as something of an important character), the movie settles in with an update on Sydney — and then checks in on her every now and then while people we don’t know or really care about get murdered left and right. It feels like Sydney isn’t really all that involved in her own story and that sort of takes the viewer out of the movie.

Second, the killer is mostly predictable this time around and you might figure it out halfway through the thing. Sure, they make up for that by giving you the ultimate reason for the killer’s motivation, but it’s lazy when the person has maybe a few lines the entire film and barely shows up like Mickey did in the last film.

Lastly, the film barely has any mileage left. Sure, Wes Craven is back and Ehren Kruger comes in to take the place of Kevin Williamson at the word processor, but the movie strains credibility more than once (the aforementioned Randy tape JUST IN CASE, the voice modulator that emulates voices on-the-fly, the killer faxing in script pages while the characters run around like wild rabbits in fear for their lives, and, REALLY? A Jay and Silent Bob cameo for no reason?) plus all those extraneous characters…and it’s most likely a good thing that Craven wanted this to end here…which, unfortunately, it didn’t…but that’s another story.

One of the more interesting things here was that this pre-dates #MeToo and the entire Jeffrey Epstein saga by about 20 years and Lance Henricksen plays a movie mogul who admits to throwing wild sex parties for Hollywood producers so that “actresses can get ahead”. I might add that Harvey Weinstein was a producer on this film, same as he was on the other two films and it’s almost as if somebody was trying to tell us something.

Anyhow, I do like Scream 3 but you can tell everyone involved was getting somewhat tired of things.


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