[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004UGALGI][/pullquote] It could be said that when you look behind the production of Scream 3, it was doomed from the start. This has, unfortunately been proved true. For one thing, Kevin Williamson, the person who had created and given life to these characters, was not back to write the screenplay. He was directing his debut, Teaching Mrs. Tingle. However, he said that he did want to write the finale. In fact, he stressed it. Instead of halting production and waiting for him, Dimension Films got Ehran Kruger in to write. This was a massive mistake, as only Williamson knew these characters well enough to write them.
Kruger had to write a film about characters he had not created. Second, many of the actors such as Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox had moved on to further their careers and had been quite successful, so getting all the right actors back would prove to be much more difficult as they hadn’t signed on like they had done with Scream 2. Neve Campbell was the biggest casualty, as she was filming another movie at the same time, meaning she was only on set for twenty days. So, right off the bat, Scream 3 was a mess. And it really shows.
The film opens with Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) and his girlfriend being brutally murdered by Ghostface because Cotton would not tell him the location of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey) meets with Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) to discuss the murders prompting her to travel to Hollywood, where she finds Dewey Riley (David Arquette) working as an advisor on the set of “Stab 3”, the third film in the film within a film series based on the Ghostface murders. After Ghostface kills the “Stab 3” lead actress he begins taunting Sidney by phone, having discovered her phone number, forcing her out of hiding and drawing her to Hollywood.
The problem with Scream 3 can be seen in the very first shot. The Hollywood sign. They have a massive, high budget shot of the Hollywood sign. The thing that made the first and second films scary was their closed-off locations. It’s scary to think there is a killer in your neighbourhood. It’s scary to think there’s a killer in your school. It’s not scary to think there is a killer in a fictional studio filled with fictional actors making a fictional film. It’s taken that big step into the fictional world that the other films avoided. Scream had always set itself up to be set in the real world. When everything’s fictional it’s not nearly as scary because the audience feels no danger to themselves. This helps in no part to some unbearable cameos from fictional characters like Jay & Silent Bob (Although this did land Wes Craven a cameo in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back).
The writing is completely inconsistent in tone from the other movies. The other films were humorous, but they were, at heart, horror films. This feels much more like a horror-comedy, and a bad one at that. David Arquette and Courtney Cox’s performances are uncharacteristically bad, especially with Cox, who seems to be playing Monica Gellar from Friends doing an impression of Gale, rather than actually being Gale. Jamie Kennedy returns as Randy Meeks as a cameo and his scene is by far the best scene in the film.