Scream 3: Oh, God, We're Doing This Again?
Article by Aaron Haughton
Scream 3 broke in the new millennium with an exciting new "whodunit" slasher mystery that sought to close out one of the greatest horror trilogies of all time.
That's called sarcasm, kids...
The movie opens and makes a boring wrong turn almost immediately. Three years after the events of Scream 2 (that's three year and it's the third film, GET IT?!), we are reacquainted with Cotton Weary, who is now a syndicated television show host in LA called 100% Cotton (DO YOU GET IT?!?!).
Anyways, in typical Scream fashion, Cotton receives a phone call from Ghostface who threatens to kill his girlfriend if he doesn't reveal the location of Sidney. Of course he doesn't tell the caller her location; although, it would make for a shorter film and an overall better experience. While Cotton is rushing home in LA traffic, Ghostface terrorizes his girlfriend using a voice recorder that sounds just like Cotton -- an interesting aspect that isn't fully explored in an meaningful way. When Cotton finally gets home, his girl is barricaded in his office and afraid of him, but there's no interesting twist here. Ghostface appears and kills them both, which is a very interesting way to start the film.
The film quickly nose dives from there with very little elements of intrigue. In fact, it ends up becoming exactly what it initially set out to poke fun of, falling back on the haunches of old formulas and clichés. The twists and turns in this installment are eye rolling, and the major reveal of the killer is delivered a little too early and their motive is laughable. Lucky for the film's characters, they get tipped off by the posthumous Jamie Kennedy, who gives them the new set of meta rules for a trilogy, comparing the franchise to Star Wars and The Godfather.
The meta aspects of the film, which were once a source of the franchise's freshness, become stale and used a little too heavily as a crutch. All throughout the film, the writing acknowledges its recycled horror elements, but obviously lacks the self-awareness to really change up the its formula. The film further acknowledges its apparent lack of originality through the producers comments on the killer and his killings, saying things like, "Very Hannibal Lecter, very Seven." As if knowing about these films, copying them and calling it out makes it okay. Not to mention we have a deranged director who's killing the characters playing the characters in his movie within a movie. I mean, how genius is that?!
In a lot of ways, Scream 3 ends up being a more ridiculous version of Wes Craven's New Nightmare with regard to meta, but the film manages to land a few laughs. The scene where Dewey distrusts Gale on the phone after discovering that the killer has a voice machine with all their voices on it is a good example. The scene makes the audiences react by causing them to question why Dewey would fall for such an obvious bit, and then it hits you with the comedy of him questioning Gale in a moment of crisis and why he shouldn't believe her. This is then followed up with the killer throwing a knife at Dewey and hitting him with the handle, which is a nice twist to the expectation of horror films up to this point. Of course, it falls right back into the yuck-yuck humor with Dewey falling down the stairs.
Which brings us to the climax, a longwinded wrap-up full of characters clumsily falling over objects, knocking themselves out, and getting pummeled with breakaway chairs. Oh, and let's not forget the wonderful twist with the bulletproof vest, which is so stupid it's not worth talking about. After all is said and done, our "favorite" characters get away by the skin of their teeth thanks to Jamie Kennedy's posthumous advice. Thank god he had the sound mind to make that video before being murdered; talk about convenience!
In the end, it's hot trash with a few laughs, and a Jay and Silent Bob and Carrie Fischer cameo, which goes to prove how hard the studio was trying to distract you from the crummy writing with some truly great laughs.
And that's the honest truth, kids.
What do you think? Are you a fan of Scream 3? Do you agree it's hot trash? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments below, and as always, remember to viddy well!