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Final chapter of 'Scream' is lackluster


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Photo Dimension Films Parker Posey, Coutney Cox Arquette and David Arquette star in Wes Craven's "Scream 3." The film opens in theaters today.

By Graig Uhlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 4, 2000
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The four rules for a trilogy, as told by the late Randy Meeks in a video tape he left behind from the last "Scream" movie, are as follows:

The killer is always superhuman. Bullets and stabbing won't kill him.

Anyone, including the main character (yes, even our dear Sidney) can die, and the body count is always higher.

Past secrets are revealed in an excess of exposition and back story that changes the way we perceive everything that came before.

Basically, all bets are off - none of the rules apply. Nobody knows what is going to happen.

Unfortunately, "Scream 3" tries to use these rules as validation for its patchwork plot and weak attempts at characterization

In the latest installment of the series, the characters lose their original essences.

This is most likely due to the fact that "Scream 3" was not penned by its creator Kevin Williamson, but by Ehren Krueger ("Arlington Road" and the upcoming "Reindeer Games").

It's a new voice for the film, and the "Scream" series suffers for it.

This is not to say that Williamson could have done any better. "Scream," whose reinvention of the horror genre has already been eclipsed by "The Sixth Sense" and "The Blair Witch Project," no longer seems revolutionary and even seems obsolete.

"Scream 3" takes place several years after the last installment ended. Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox Arquette) and Dewey (David Arquette) have broken up.

Why? Apparently, none of the characters know - nor are they interested in hearing the former couple's snippy bickering.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has gone into hiding in some country backwoods, and is furiously devoted to her security system. She is also haunted by the ghost of her mother, who visits her in visions connecting to the past.

Why Sidney has these visions remains annoyingly unresolved. Director Wes Craven seems to have just randomly stuck them in for some unnecessary cinematography.

The film takes place in Hollywood on the production back lot of "Stab 3," the fictional movie-within-a-movie, based on the events of the first two installments.

Despite the high number of deaths, most of the killings are contrived and fail to inspire any real fear or tension.

It is too obvious. Scary music foreshadows the impending death of the busty blonde girl.

The only truly chilling sequence is the final scene. Although it takes place in a cheesy mansion equipped with secret passages, there is a genuine sense of building suspense and tension, culminating in the film's revelation of the killer or killers.

The random solution fits perfectly within the film's horror flick guidelines. Although it is not as incredulous as "Scream 2," the ending doesn't reach the sublime revelation of the original.

"Scream 3" is not a horrible movie. It delves far too much into exposition and the tired relationships between characters and relies too much on its own obsolete formulas to produce horror.

Still, there are moments when this film meets the standards of the first "Scream," making even Neve's pouty, angst-ridden acting tolerable.

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