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Somehow I was expecting Scream 3, supposedly (let's hope not) the final Scream movie, to be the best, bloodiest, most thrilling movie yet. The hype would have you believe that, at any rate.
I'm not saying that Scream 3 isn't a terrific movie - it's certainly as effective as its predecessors - it's just not better.
Once again, Neve Campbell plays Sydney, the intended victim of the last two killing sprees (and one of the very few who survived). Also back are Courtney Cox, as snoopy reporter Gale Weathers, and David Arquette as former police officer Dewey (he was wounded in Scream 2).
And we wouldn't have a Scream 3 at all if the killer himself/herself weren't back as well. Since the killers in the first two movies were killed themselves, the new killer must be someone different.
Following the plot of Scream 2, a horror movie, Stab 3, is being filmed when the new killer strikes - again.
The question of whether violent movies bring on violence - or vice versa- is raised. Stab 3 director Paul Milton has the right idea when he says sarcastically, "So if we stop making scary movies, all the psycho killers will retire?" I agree - don't blame Hollywood for real- life violence.
But the most important question raised by Scream 3 is, of course, who did it? Who is the killer? Virtually everyone is a suspect, and, as usual the Halloween masked disguised killer remains elusive. I did, however, figure out an important part of the plot (warning, plot spoiler ahead): Sydney's mother, also murdered in the first Scream, had an illegitimate child during her two-year stay in Hollywood who she later gave up for adoption, then moved away, and married Sydney's father.
When her now grown kid tracked Mommy down, she wanted nothing to do with that embarrassing part of her past. Angry and embittered, the kid helped persuade her killers to commit the murder.
Like I said, I figured out that part. What I didn't figure out was who her kid was. (It wasn't one of my main suspects either.)
I found a few scenes unrealistic. For example, Sydney knows someone is out to kill her, yet she goes wandering around a dark, spooky abandoned movie set alone. Is it any wonder that the killer shows up and tries to do what killers do best?
In another scene, Dewey shoots the now-revealed killer in the chest repeatedly, with no results (the clever killer came prepared with a bullet-proof vest). "Shoot him in the head!" Sydney yells. What kind of a cop needs someone to tell him that? Couldn't he figure it out himself?
As for character development, don't expect any shocks there either. Everything progresses in a very obvious manner: Sydney, who is understandably terrified of leaving her well-secured house, is no longer paranoid by the end of the movie. Gale and Dewey, who have had an on-again-off-again relationship, finally decide they're right for each other and get engaged.
Don't get me wrong - Scream 3 definitely is as much a Scream as the first two films. Perhaps that's because all three movies have basically the same plot formula, with only a few variances. Nevertheless, I'm not complaining; I fully enjoyed Scream 3, and so will anyone who liked the first two. Just don't expect anything radically different. The thrills are there, the bloody dead bodies are there (although in smaller number, I noticed), and the suspense is still there. If you like that in a movie - and I do- you'll love all the Scream movies. In fact, you may want to rent the first two for a refresher course before seeing this one.