I remember being completely underwhelmed by “Scream 3″ when I saw it in the theater when it released in 2000. It was not a “Phantom Menace Level” failure but I quite liked the first two films and the cast for the 3rd had me amped for it. When Bishop and David Puddy cannot save a film for me you know it is in trouble.
So why would I choose to revisit a mediocre sequel when I have so many unseen films rotting on the Netflix Instant Queue vine?
Well I wanted to see if the film played better with significantly lower expectations and I wanted to watch an actress pause so much in one scene that it made my affinity for using commas, ellipses and semicolons seem normal. If you need that type of staccato delivery there is only one actress to go with: Neve Campbell. Truth be told I am also a big time mark for Liev Schreiber so even though ( SPOILER) I knew that his character Cotton Weary gets whacked in the cold open, I figured I would give it another shot.
Like a cheap, sharp wine left uncorked this turkey simply became cheap, sharp vinegar.
“Scream 3″ starts out promising enough. The cold open, as with the ones from the prior two, has plenty of tension and provides some nice scares. But it is all downhill from there. My biggest issue with the film is the shoehorned a retcon of Sydney’s mom’s past. In order to be able to make meta-commentary on the film industry and trilogies the film is set in Los Angeles so as to provide the back story that Sydney’s mom was a bit player in exploitation films.
It gets worse and more convoluted from there.
- Jay and Silent Bob show up for a cameo and it just falls flat.
- Randy Meeks (Jaime Kennedy’s character from “Scream” and “Scream 2″ [where he met his demise]) shows up in a video explaining the rules of a trilogy. It is a pale version of his rules from the prior films and just feels too forced here. He was a great character who was whacked for shock value (he survived a brutal stabbing in the first installment) that was meant to show that the sequel meant business. The character deserved better. The actor? When he signed on for “Son of the Mask” he lost my empathy for good.
- The ending is brutally bad with rumors of reshoots galore easy to imagine. The identity of Ghostface makes little sense even when mixed with the aforementioned convoluted retcon.
The film is bad enough that I will not seek out the much reviled “Scream 4″ (Neve Campbell pause) until it shows up on Netflix Instant and (another Neve micro-pause) only after it shows up on some algorithm’s suggestion.
Available on Netflix Streaming