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Craven thrills
Wes Craven takes the reins in the third
installment of what we can only hope is just a trilogy

"Scream 3"

Reviewed by Carlos deV

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As one character says, in the third installment of a trilogy, all bets are off. Perhaps that's why so few of them are really that successful, both artistically and financially.

David Arquette Talk show host Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), the man accused of the murder of Sydney Prescott's (Neve Campbell) mother (and later exonerated by the events of the first movie), is brutally killed in his apartment, and of course intrepid (and irritating) journalist Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox-Arquette) is on the case. Soon, cast Courtney Cox-Arquettemembers of the third movie of a series of movies based on the events in "Scream" (talk about art imitating art) are beginning to turn up dead, in the exact order that they are bumped off in the script. Former deputy-turned-technical advisor to the movie Dewey Riley (David Arquette), in his own laconic way, is out to protect his friend Sydney, as well as rekindle a romance with Gail, with whom he has broken up twice. Sydney, for her part, has secreted herself in an isolated, rural home with lots of high-tech security. Still, even Dewey can't protect her from the visions of her dead mother.

Jenny McCarthy Much of "Scream 3" is pretty formulaic and is just the kind of movie, ironically, that the original "Scream" poked fun of. Although the movie deviates from the tradition of murdering a lovely young starlet before the opening credits (a la Drew Barrymore and Jada Pinkett), they do manage to send Jenny McCarthy to join the Choir Invisible, getting a hearty "Amen!" from critics everywhere.

Neve Campbell Still, director Wes Craven knows how to yank out all the stops, but the loss of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who penned the first two "Screams," is keenly felt. This one doesn't have the hipness quotient, the humor, or the insight into horror movies that Williamson has. I didn't guess who the killer was, but by the time the identity of the killer behind the Edward Munch mask is revealed, I pretty much didn't care.

Although not bad by the standards of horror movies, "Scream 3" belongs in the clutches of the robots of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," which puts it far beneath the standards of the first two movies. That's a little too much painful irony for my taste. It's just as well Craven decided to bury the franchise now, since the corpse is smelling mighty bad.

Theater or Video?
Sheer living room, popcorn entertainment.

DVD notes
A pretty impressive package includes outtakes, a montage of backstage footage from all three movies, a music video featuring Creed, commentary from Craven and other crew members, cast interviews and bios, as well as some deleted scenes. There's an alternate ending, but be warned it doesn't differ a whole lot from the version that made it to the big screen.

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See cast, credit and other details about "Scream 3" at Internet Movie Data Base.