Scream 3 (2000) Movie Review

Randy’s back! Well, not exactly. Having been killed off in “Scream 2”, Jamie Kennedy (“The Specials”) makes a cameo return as Randy, the former video store clerk, horror movie expert, and the coolest Ghostface killer victim ever. His character shows up on a pre-recorded videotape to shed light on the situation that the returning characters are now facing.

Sidney (Neve Campbell) is living a solitary existence in the hills of Los Angeles when a spree of new Ghostface killings brings her out of hiding. At first Sidney is hesitant to return, leaving the investigation and chase to contested ex-lovers Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), who are drawn back into the fray when a new Ghostface killer starts killing off the cast of “Stab 3”, a Hollywood movie about the Woodsboro murders. Who is this new killer and why is he/she/they trying to draw Sidney back into the spotlight? Better yet, why did they kill Randy off in the last installment?

More comedy than thriller, “Scream 3” is once again directed by franchise honcho Wes Craven, but the screenwriter this time around is Ehren Kruger (“Imposter”), who knows enough about the previous two films to keep this third from going off the deep end — or is that going too much off the deep end? This third and last installment is all about making you laugh at the silliness of Hollywood, its actors, and this thing called show business; but there is still some room for somber characterization, mostly whenever Campbell’s Sidney is onscreen. After all, while everyone else can joke about what’s transpired in the previous films, they didn’t have the same harrowing experience as poor Sidney, so her moody disposition makes perfect sense.

As mentioned in the film by way of the resurrected Randy, “Scream 3” is the end of the trilogy, so that means all the old rules are cast aside and nothing that came before can be counted on this time around. New truths are revealed and the pasts of some characters are re-invented in an effort to give reason to this sequel. Of course it makes sense just enough to justify the killing spree, but really, does it even matter anymore? At the end of the day, the killer’s motives are just a couple of throwaway lines for the actor to spit out while standing over Sidney with a knife ready to slash.

Joining the cast of the soon-to-be-dead is former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy, playing an actress who is 35 “and tired of playing 21 year olds”. Patrick Dempsey (“Sweet Home Alabama”) provides the hunk role as hunky detective Kincaid, but like all the cops in the trilogy with the exception of Dewey, Kincaid is rather useless despite his best efforts. (Handsome guys just don’t last long in the “Scream” trilogy, I’m afraid.) Emily Mortimer (“The 51st State”) shows up as an ing’nue actress playing the Sidney role, even though on one believes she’s as naïve and innocent as she claims to be.

Of the would-be-victims, the best has to be Parker Posey (“The Sweetest Thing”), who is an actress playing Gale Weathers in the movie-within-the-movie. Posey is on fire, rattling off one funny line after another. Too bad she had to go by way of a knife, as did everyone else whose name isn’t Sidney, Dewey, or Gale. Then again, that’s life in the Teen Slasher biz.

It’s probably a good decision to kill off the franchise with “Scream 3” and thus make this a trilogy rather than a series of endless sequels. I mean does anyone know why Jason of the “Friday the 13th” films still goes around killing people? My point exactly. As it stands, “Scream 3” is more of an inside joke than an actual movie anyway, so a fourth installment would simply have to become a gross parody of itself in order to work.

Kill it now, before it gets worst.

Wes Craven (director) / Kevin Williamson (characters), Ehren Kruger (written by)
CAST: David Arquette …. Dewey
Neve Campbell …. Sid
Courteney Cox …. Gale Weathers
Patrick Dempsey …. Mark Kincaid
Scott Foley …. Roman Bridger
Lance Henriksen …. John Milton

Buy Scream 3 on DVD