MRR MOvie Review: Scream 3

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The third film in the Scream film series opens with Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) living a life of quiet seclusion in Northern California, her whereabouts unbeknownst to everyone but Dewey (David Arquette). After a killing spree begins to terrorize the set of Stab 3, a non-fiction film based on the Woodsboro murders, Sidney decides to travel to Hollywood to not face her fears for the final time. After learning more about her mother's tragic death, Sidney is able to put together the final pieces of the Scream mystery.
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Movie Review: Scream 3

-- Rating: R
Length: 116 minutes
Release Date: February 3, 2000
Directed by: Wes Craven
Genre: Horror, Mystery

"Scream 3" is the third movie in the "Scream" franchise by Wes Craven. It is also the last movie in the series, making it the final installation that can answer questions about the killer and murders from the previous movies. In this continuation of the story, the characters have moved on to new jobs and homes. Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) even takes on a new name to prevent potential murderers from finding her. However, this horror series features a killer who is out to get every last member of the fictitious "Stab 3" movie, and he or she is particularly focused on Sydney.

In "Scream 3," audiences will appreciate the tying up of loose ends from the previous two installments. A sense of closure allows the series to end without leaving viewers confused or wanting more. Unlike the previous two movies, this third film is not as gory, making it suitable for anyone over 18. It is still a slasher flick, though, and there are plenty of bloody moments and slit throats.

The movie is set primarily in Hollywood, giving it a celebrity feel. New characters have been added-possibly just for the massive body count-and old characters return. Audiences may appreciate the growth of the returning characters, as they develop during the film. The characters play movie stars, almost like a role within a role, and this is amusing since the film is primarily mocking horror films and the horror-film franchise.

Although this is a horror flick, many comedic moments will entertain the audience. Unlike gory movies of the past that dwell on blood and guts, this movie franchise has also incorporated comic relief and relaxing moments to give audiences a break from the horror. Viewers will primarily follow the three returning characters while they try to discover who the murderer is, so references from the past two films may come up. Viewers will need to see "Scream" and "Scream 2" in order to understand what is going on in some scenes.

"Scream 3" had a different writer than "Scream" and "Scream 2," so expect a different approach. This film lacks wit and playfulness, an area where the other two movies excelled, and it is not nearly as terrifying. It features a lot of suspense and mystery, which also eliminates dialog and interactions between the characters to some degree. Characters seem to interact less than in the previous two movies, but this is probably because this movie focuses on the mystery of the killer and not the relationships that had to be defined in the first two films.

The main characters in "Scream 3" are Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courteney Cox Arquette), which dissatisfied some audience members. Earlier films are notably focused on Sydney, since she's the one that Ghostface is after, so the shift to two characters who aren't at the center of the murders seems unusual. This may be to give the actors more face time or expand on their characters, but it does take away from the story plot of the franchise, which is the killer's focus on murdering Sydney.

On a positive note, "Scream 3" excels as a thriller, and audiences can never really be sure which actor will die next. There is little order to the killing, which keeps viewers on edge during the film. One major benefit of this third installment is finally understanding the reasons behind the murders that occurred in previous films and finding out who the killer is after all this time. Unlike the previous films, the scares in "Scream 3" are short, jumpy moments, rather than the blood-and-guts-everywhere scenes that churn stomachs in the theater.

While the characters are the same, one potential issue is the new writer who scripted them differently. Characters who previously were vivid and unique may seem different in this film; viewers typically expect favorite characters to be the same throughout, growing naturally through the films. The new writing causes some of the characters to seem underdeveloped; this is due to a lack of focus on characters and more attention on setting the scenes. Returning characters also have less emphasis on their roles; it's unusual, but somehow still provides the emotional impact that an audience would expect from a horror film.

"Scream 3" is overall a positive ending to a brilliant horror franchise. Viewers will appreciate being able to conclude the series while tying up loose ends and still staying a little spooked.

Rating: 3 out of 5