Trilogy? Why not. I mean, I did not get a say as to whether or not they were going to make a Scream 3 (2000). Why they would have asked a young idiot such as myself at that time is beyond me. Still, nary an email (a still novel technology at that time), letter, or franchise appropriate phone call did I get asking me if I thought it was a good idea to put out a third installment. Had they done so, I would have told them that the first one was enough and the second one was tired. If, after attempting to reason with these people, they insisted on going ahead with the project, I would have picked myself off the floor following a desperate tantrum and tried to convince them to do something different. Why do we have to have the same kind of killer? You would think, after a slew of murders with people wearing the same costume, governments would simply ban its sale. But, no, this imaginary exchange never took place, and we got a movie that was beat for beat no different from anything we had already seen. Imagine yours truly currently cracking his knuckles, preparing for a fight. Here. We. Go.
Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), one time accused killer of Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) mother and now talk show host, receives a phone call from the Ghostface killer demanding to know where to find Sidney. When Cotton refuses to divulge this information, Ghostface threatens to murder the celebrity’s girlfriend. Cotton makes it home in time to be stabbed to death, joining his girlfriend who suffered a similar fate. Notice anything different so far? No? Where is Sidney, by the way? She is living a semi-reclusive life, working from home as a telephone crisis counselor. The only people that know how to contact or find her are her closest friends like Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), and the police. It is the police who get to her first, and she receives the news of Cotton’s passing from Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey). Sidney then does what every person does in these kinds of movies: travels directly to the place where these deaths occurred, in this case Los Angeles. When she gets there, she heads to the set of Stab 3, which is done to look a lot like her hometown of Woodsboro. There she finds Dewey working as a technical advisor for the film, which seems a poor choice, but that is another matter. Gale also arrives, this time tracking down a lead given her by Detective Kincaid about a picture of Sidney’s mother found on Cotton’s body. When she shows it to Dewey, they recognize it as having been taken at the studio where Stab 3 is being filmed. As for the film, with the recent murders, there is talk of the production being shut down. Hence, Gale’s analog, Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey), joins Gale and Dewey in their investigations. Meanwhile, many of the cast begin to fall to the Ghostface. Truly, there is no reason to give a blow-by-blow account of any of these proceedings. It is the same gruesome nonsense of people wandering off on their own, hearing a noise, calling out for whoever it is they think might be the source of the disturbance, only to be confronted by Ghostface, and ending up lifeless in a puddle of their own blood. Wash, rinse, repeat. So, let us skip to the birthday party for Stab 3’s director, Roman Bridger (Scott Foley), which takes place in the home of producer John Milton (Lance Henriksen). Dewey and Gale attend because Jennifer, as part of the Stab 3 cast, has been invited. They also believe that John is the killer because their investigations uncover sexual abuse by Maureen while working on some of John’s films. In the course of their searching of John’s home, Jennifer is killed, and Dewey and Gale are captured. The killer then calls Sidney, telling her if she does not come, her friends will die. There is a brief struggle with Ghostface that is interrupted by the arrival of Detective Kincaid. He is knocked out, and Sidney flees to a more private room where our killer finally reveals himself to be Roman. This is not the only revelation. He is also Sidney’s illegitimate half-brother, the result of a gang rape Sidney’s mother experienced while trying to make it in Hollywood. When his own mother rejected him, he showed footage his father and Sidney’s mother to Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), which set off the Ghostface murders. If you have not guessed it by now, this is the expected villain monologue at the climactic moment in all these dumb movies. A little more struggle gives Dewey and Gale enough time to enter the room and help do away with Roman. Between Dewey, Gale, and Detective Kincaid, they all see to it that Sidney finally is able to go home in peace.
Right, so, like all my reviews (the irony is not lost on me), it is now time to talk about something Catholic in Scream 3. Discussing personal responsibility is as good as any, though it is something that also came up with Scream 2 (1997). However, with Scream 3, Roman is not blaming society or violence in the movie industry. Instead, he charges Sidney as the guilty party. In the eyes of Sidney’s mother, her daughter was the perfect child, whereas Roman was the mistake. Talk about a low blow. Sidney also points out the fact that Roman is unable to take responsibility for his own actions. It is clear that Roman is wounded by his experiences. A mother’s unkind words can have tragic results, and it is difficult to see beyond that hurt. It is also not an excuse to turn into a serial killer. God blesses us all with free will, an amazing gift that so many seem to take for granted. We are weak creatures, to be sure, but we are also given a power that allows us to differentiate between right and wrong. One can make the case that a person in Roman’s condition has lost the ability to make such distinctions. However, the converse is also true, that he did not seem to do anything to counteract his circumstances. God is the ultimate balm for such hurts. It is a statement that, like the lack of originality in the Scream franchise, is something that I have repeated in other reviews. Yet, I will continue to say it as many times as God will allow me if it means somebody finds these reviews and is transformed by His love.
What I do not love is Scream 3. I do not recommend this one either, and it is on to the next.