Scream 3

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The duty of a trilogy's final act is to go back to beginnings. "The past is not at rest," one of the already-dead says on a video tape. Intimate knowledge of the other Screams, particularly the first, is important to understand what on earth is going on.

The figure in the black cowl, with Munch's scream mask and an unlimited number of shiny new hunting knives, is the bad guy. But who? And why? Three of the original cast members are still breathing. Sidney (Neve Campbell) is the daughter of Maureen Prescott, whose slaying started the whole thing, way back in high school days. Now, she lives in the country under an assumed name, with the soppiest guard dog you've ever seen, because she knows the killer is still after her.

Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox Arquette), the brazen, bitchy reporter, who made her name writing a book on the Woodsboro murders, is a TV celeb news anchor. The dim cop (David Arquette), who lived through two teenage massacres, has become technical advisor on a horror movie, Stab 3, which purports to tell the Woodsboro story all over again.

The location for Scream 3 is Hollywood, where detectives say things like "very Hannibal Lecter", as if film history is taught at police academy. The incestuous nature of the script (Ehren Kruger - no relation), in which Parker Posey plays Gale in Stab 3, English actress Emily Mortimer plays Sidney and a much better looking Matt Keeslar plays Dewey, the dim cop, takes on the absurdity of an afternoon soap opera. Posey, particularly, enters into the spirit of the farce.

Wes Craven, who has directed all three, knows his way around. The humour is never allowed to knock the fear. Campbell plays straight, which is essential, as Sidney is the key to the mystery. Too many people are murdered. The plot twists itself into knots. The identity of the man in the rubber mask - or is it a woman? - remains a secret, not that it matters much. Everything is hokum, after all, except death. What matters is that Sidney stays alive. To care at all means that Craven has done his job well. He has.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Scary and sassy slasher sequel.
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Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Ehren Kruger

Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Patrick Dempsey, Parker Posey, Scott Foley, Deon Richmond, Emily Mortimer, Lance Henriksen, Jenny McCarthy, Matt Keeslar

Year: 1999

Runtime: 116 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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Scream
Scream 2