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Wes Craven: The Scream years part 4 – Scream 3 (2000)

There would have been a three year hiatus for Ghostface to reappear again on screens following the successful sequel. This time around Wes Craven returning as director without his writing collaborator Kevin Williamson, (those duties now fell to relative newcomer Ehren Kruger who had previously worked on Arlington Road) would thrust Sidney Prescott further down the rabbithole and dreamland to create his slasher trilogy. And what better place to set their playground in, than the place where ‘dreams are made’, Hollywood. It’s a great choice and plays nicely into the metaverse that was initially set up in the original and its sequel with the Hollywood version of the Woodsboro murders film series, Stab.

Once again the film hits hard by writing off a previous character, Cotton Weary (Liev Schrieber) still capitalising on his fifteen minutes of fame and about to cameo in the next feature in the Stab series before succumbing to the return of Ghostface’s killing frenzy.

Here we are introduced to a new character in Detective Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey) who calls on Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox) to aid him in his query into the murder and its possible relation to the previous murders. When Gail arrives on set, she discovers that Dewey (David Arquette) has been working on the film as an advisor and once again their on/off relationship sparks off. It’s not until another Stab 3 cast member is killed that they realise that a possible serial copycat killer is in their midst. Time to call on Sidney Prescott once more, who has become a recluse since we last saw her and helping abused women via a phone helpline, turning the instrument that fuelled her trauma into something good.

The charm of this movie is through the way Craven and Kruger play with the hollywood versions of the Scream characters and the way that their larger than life selves search for their own gain in the midst of the killings. It is inevitable that they will meet their maker at some point along the way. The casting of these characters is also on point, notably Parker Posey as the fictional Gail and Emily Mortimer as the fictional Sidney. A mention should also go to Lance Henriksen as the Director of the movie John Milton, who is always stoic in his performance.

Along with this was the return from the grave of fan favourite Randy Meeks, albeit by the genius of a home movie, from which he spits the lores of film trilogies to the survivors. Sorry to wax lyrical about Randy. What can I say? I guess for some reason, I identify with the guy 😛

Once more though, it is in the final act and the reveal that things get a little lost on me with the reveal of a characters’ plan that they were behind the whole thing from the very beginning. A little far-fetched, yes, but the fun is in the journey, the number of kills, Dewey getting brutally wiped out and left for dead again, and both Sidney and Gail kicking ass along the way.

The third instalment may not have been as well received compared with its predecessors, falling victim to the last instalment curse, but it still reaped its fair share at the box office, hinting that Ghostface wasn’t down and out yet. In fact, it would be a decade before the masked killer would rise again, bringing with him the director that launched his profile for what would be the last time for Craven.

  • Saul Muerte

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