Friday, May 31, 2013

Scream 3 Movie Review

Because the first Scream ushered in a new era of cheap Hollywood slasher films, it just feels wildly out of place to find yourself watching Scream 3 attempting to be all self-referential and ironic about the tropes of the genre after a slew of other films started repeating the formula unironically. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger took over the responsibility for penning this entry from original creator Kevin Williamson (but Wes Craven returned to direct). What he did, I suppose in an attempt to freshen things up, was to set the slashing amid the making of the latest “Stab” film (you might remember that’s the series based on the murders that took place in the first film.  So we get treated to lazy jokes about Hollywood and actors and directors and screenwriters that pale in comparison to the satire of, say, The Player or Wag the Dog.

Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has wisely gone into hiding in a secluded wooded enclave from which she counsels distressed women over the phone. Meanwhile in Hollywood, Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) is terrorized by the Ghostface killer of the previous films. Then the action moves to the movie set where Parker Posey plays an ingĂ©nue starlet portraying Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox reprises as the real Gale also) and Emily Mortimer plays the Sydney character. David Arquette returns as Dewey, this time serving as a technical adviser on set. Lance Henriksen is the Craven-like director and Scott Foley plays the screenwriter of the film-within-a-film and ostensibly the alter ego of Williamson. And for a bit of smoldering good looks there’s Patrick Dempsey as the homicide detective on the case. Just about every one of these people is pegged as a potential suspect at some point or another, but the ultimate reveal is horrendously dopey.

While Craven managed to muster enough old school tactics from his arsenal to generate a couple moments of tension and suspense in the first sequel, this time he just seems kind of bored, along for the ride and a decent paycheck. Scream 3 is devoid of any semblance of inspiration that spawned the series to begin. Kruger even resurrects Jamie Kennedy in a video confessional he was supposed to have taped before his demise in the previous installment, instructing everyone about what to expect in the “concluding chapter of a trilogy.” This includes complicated back story heretofore not alluded to. Sure enough, you can check that box as you’re watching. Simply pointing out every generic plot development is not enough to make your film ironic. Kruger didn’t learn the lesson well. Scream 3 is just lifeless, much like most of the characters by film’s end.

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