Scream 3 Movie Review
Scream 3 breaks the rules of the third part of a trilogy... it is actually good. In fact, it is excellent. In fact, it is just as good with the original with slight fluctuations.
The opening scene, which has been a trademark of the last two, opens with Cotton Weary and, on the other side of town, his girlfriend in the shower. It is tradition for the Scream movies for a well-known TV personality to be killed off in the beginning, and unfortunately, I did not recognize the woman (Weary, of course, was a character in the last film). Also, as far as I knew, no opening could beat out the one in the original Scream, and Scream 3 confirmed my consensus. The beginning is not as good as the original (in fact, it is probably the worst of the three), but at the same time still delivers a great amount of tension and suspense. I, and the audience around me, reacted to the suspense, not only during the opening sequence but throughout the entire movie, with the same nervous laughter and screaming that is present at the opening of Stab in Scream 2.
The rest of the movie is pure genius. While I can find some faults where things could have been done better, the script and plot was crafted well enough to create the kind of atmosphere we've come to suspect from the Scream movies. Since the movie takes place on the set of Stab 3, a B-grade horror flick based on the original movie, Wes Craven and Arlington Road screenwriter Ehren Kruger (any relation to Freddy?) are able to spoof the horror genre while at the same time creating a truly horrific film. The scene where Jenny McCarthy is hiding in the room full of Ghostface costumes and the killer is in there as well is one example, and another is where the script is being created as they read via fax machine.
This movie is scary. I only really jumped once, and not even at a real killer segment, but the movie is still scary. This one has a lot more false scares, but it also has a ton of real scares. Wes Craven beats out the first two combined by creating a sense of tension at all times, whether the characters are surrounded by two dozen people or even sitting in a police station.
The ending is great. Taking place in a large mansion with secret stairways and one-way mirrors, the setting is a great place for lots of people to get butchered and create a sense of tension. The segment is long and well done, and is suspenseful the whole way through. In Scream 2, once the killers were revealed, some of the scariness was lost, as was the suspense. Not so is the case in Scream 3, as a battle ensues even after the mask has been taken off. I might have done without the final scene, where Craven basically wraps things up and provides a sense of hope (what really makes the conclusion of the film any different from the others? The surviving characters act as if they are finally free of their misery, yet there is no reason why they should think any differently from the last two that the killers are really gone for good.), or at least thrown in one last twist (like the ending Kruger wrote for Arlington Road, for example).
By the way, the short scene with Randy was well done and brought back one of the best characters ever to get killed off in a way that is neither cheesy nor pointless.
I love this movie. Scream 3 is just as good as Scream (not as good of beginning, but more suspense throughout) and much better than Scream 2, which is also pretty good. Scream 3 is so good that it will probably set off another wave of bad horror clones, a la I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. That's how good it is, and I'm not being sarcastic.
Two week prognosis:
This is actually several months after the release, but the more and more I think about it, the more and more I realize how silly this film is compared to the last two. The characters haven't learned anything, the script isn't very smart, and there isn't a single memorable scene in the whole film. The movie is no where as good as it could be. Furthermore, they aren't even brave. SPOILER: None of the returning cast members (with exception to a minor one) die. Still, I think the really important part of the film is that it is scary.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.