SCREAM 3 US teaser poster
4 stars

"The Third and Final chapter in the trilogy that made you laugh, and made you Scream."

directed by: Wes Craven
starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey, Jenny McCarthy

(back of video blurb):
       " It aint out yet!"

slash with panache?

       (review by The Blue Iris)

       Here it is, the end has arrived. After an amazing first film and a sequel I can barely remember (except THEY KILLED RANDY), I had high hopes for this "final" installment (please God). SCREAM 3 would have to be really stupendous to make us forgive them for (KILLING RANDY) some of the bad moves from SCREAM 2. I made sure to avoid reading anything about the third film beforehand so I'd go in and be able to form my own educated opinion. And also try to forget that they KILLED RANDY. Jenny Mc Carthy- a doomed thespian?

       And at first, I was very happy. I turned to my beloved and said "It's back! They did it right again this time!" It was scary. It was funny. It had suspense. I was sucked in to the story again. And, despite what I may have thought, I was curious to find out "What happened to our favorite characters?" (The ones NOT killed off in the sequel...)

       Without giving away anything shocking (or what this movie considered "shocking"...more on that later), Gail Weathers is now the anchorwoman for a tabloid show...oh wait, she's STILL the anchorwoman for a tabloid show. It's just a bigger, even sleazier tabloid show. Her book about the Woodsboro murders has been turned into a film, STAB, its sequel, and now a trilogy. She and Dewey are no longer together--sort of.

       Dewey is now in Hollywood working as a consultant on the last part of the STAB series. He's also acting as a sort of bodyguard/companion for the star of the movie. Parker Posey plays Gail Weathers in STAB, and at first, she's really a riot. She does a wicked impression of Courteney Cox doing Gail, complete with chunky, cheesy blonde frosted hair and then eventually turning into a dimwitted, spoiled actress. She plays the part well. In fact, she often is the best thing about whatever movie she's in. But I found myself wincing after a while, every time she opened her mouth--hmm, sort of like the Matthew Lillard character from the first film. Ah, I guess there's always got to be one character we're begging will get offed--and who outlives their welcome by a good hour or so. Eventually, the real Gail and Dewey bump into each other on the set and sparks fly--romantically, although not comedically. I think the writer and director imagined having the film set, the real and fake Gails, and the dopey love interest collide would cause some sort of slapstick HIS GIRL FRIDAY-type banter. I didn't find it funny, it was just flat.

Just when she thought it was all over- Sidney (Neve Campbell) returns to scream again!       Ok, that leaves us with our heroine, as always. Sidney has now secluded herself in a heavily secured house with a less-than intimidating dog. She works as a telephone counselor for women and all seems well until the murders start happening again. Then she starts thinking she can see the ghostface killer and even the ghost of her mother. Here is where the movie starts showing its weaknesses. The "haunting" by Mrs. Prescott just doesn't work. It leads to some creepy THE WOMAN IN BLACK inspired moments, but it drags the whole movie down while simply making it longer than it should have been. The conceit they give as to how she can hear the "voice" of her mother is so unbelievable and yet so much of the story rides on it, well, it feels like we've entered a science fiction film. This is also where the film starts it's homage to Scooby Doo. It never stops. So, there was definitely too much going on here--I guess they didn't want to sacrifice a decent plot thread, but this just slogged the movie's pace and the whole thing ends up suffering.

       Ok, what's good about this movie? It starts off with a fairly chilling first scene. There were a few jump-out-of-your-seat moments and it definitely makes for an intriguing beginning. But they grab us by the collar and then later present a story that's so deathly boring, we don't really care who lives, who dies, and who the identity of the killer is...

       After the opener, we're reintroduced to the main characters and to the story line. Basically, (and I'm forced to leave out A LOT) the actors starring in the third STAB film start getting murdered in the order they die in the script. At least at first--then there's a good inside joke that there were three versions of the script, and someone different dies third in all of them--including Gail Weathers--so no one is sure who's going to get it next. (The real SCREAM 3 script did have three different versions so no one would know the big shocking secret. The big LAME shocking secret...wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.) This would have been a sufficient mystery. But NO...they invent backstory for Sidney's mom and motives that they just decide to spring on us now. We're helpless as the complicated story goes back and forth from the 60's to the present, with characters being interrelated, etc. Why do we need so much motive? Wouldn't it be great if there weren't one? Or at least, not such a complex one? This isn't Star Wars, it's a slasher flick...

Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox) meets up with her alter-ego (Parker Posey) for a good scare!       Eventually all three main characters converge on Hollywood to investigate the series of murders of the cast. The first half of the movie is really like a party-cameos galore, lots of fun inside jokes, lots of jokes--period. It zips along beautifully. You'll spend a lot of the time you're not being scared out of your seat trying to "Name that Celebrity". Speaking of Star Wars-ok, I won't ruin it. Just keep your eyes peeled. I'm sure someone will fill out the IMDb trivia section with all the surprise guests eventually (and report that Sidney's security code is really the box office gross of the first film, or something that only truly obsessive fans would know). For now, it's like a slasher version of "Where's Waldo?"

       There's also a creepy set piece in the middle in which Sidney stumbles onto the set of STAB and is horrified to see the crime scene from the first movie lovingly recreated in her own house! For old time's sake, she's chased throughout the house/set by the killer. This would have been quite enough to make us's clever, creepy, and well-done, but there will be another, more mammoth and completely unnecessary "chase through the house" scene later. This is why the movie lumbers along, like the unwieldly beast it has become.

       After a surprise appearance by another beloved (and *irreplaceable*) character, the movie goes from well-paced fun and suspense to a cinematic train wreck. I've only ever wanted to leave a movie once before, but I really wanted to leave this one. I realized they'd screwed up--big time. Nothing they did could save it either. And even the need to know who the killer almost wasn't strong enough to keep me in my seat...almost. Obviously I stuck around for the whole mess. I really should have left when I had the chance.

Gail and Dewey (David Arquette) find out that someone has eaten all the Scooby snacks!       Without boring you with the middle half details, just know that it was like watching a really long, boring episode of Scooby Doo, without Scooby. Gail finds a clue! The police detectives show up! A bunch of young people go to a spooky mansion! Yes-this episode takes us to a "haunted mansion" straight out of Hanna-Barbera-complete with sliding doors and secret rooms--but there's no way out. Well, there's the exits of the theater...but if you stay, you're forced to watch these people do exactly what they shouldn't do. They physically pair off and wander the house. They shoot the killer in the chest and not the head. They act like morons. And the fun is gone...the slasher flick cliches are all there, but not the fun of the first movie. After a while, the audience I was watching it with let out groans every time someone said "Let's split up and look around!" It was painful to watch.

       Finally, they have a chance to redeem themselves with a brilliant surprise ending to put a cap on the whole thing. To make up for the mess they've made of it-and the ending unbelievably preposterous and insulting, well, it made me want to scream myself. Poor Sidney just looks on rather perplexed, as well she should. She probably didn't buy it anymore than we should. Why do they feel the need to cop out on us? Give us some credit, Wes. ANYTHING would have been better than who they chose. I mean, having the DOG be the killer would have been more entertaining and less patronizing. I honestly wish Kevin Williamson had returned for this film. He should have finished his brainchild...we deserved more than what we got.

       There is an epilogue, and I will say it has a pretty cool wedding proposal in it, so if you guys out there are ever at a loss for words, take a cue from...well, I'm not giving that away either! Do I recommend it? Only if you're a really big SCREAM fan and simply can't live without another dose of our good friends from Woodsboro. It really does have a wonderful first half but then it becomes mind (and body) numbing later. Am I being too hard on it? Maybe. Maybe I'm still mad at them for KILLING RAN...ok, ok, I'll stop.

BODYCOUNT 10     female:4 / male:6

       1) Female stabbed
       2) Male stabbed
       3) Female stabbed
       4) Male stabbed and bashed in the head
       5) Male blown up
       6) Male stabbed and thrown over balcony
       7) Female stabbed
       8) Female stabbed
       9) Male has throat slashed
     10) Male stabbed and shot