tek's rating: ½

Scream 3 (R)
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Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 2000, but I didn't see it until 2019. (I watched it on the night "Us" opened, just because they're both horror movies.) Following the events of Scream 2, Sidney Prescott has gone into hiding, using a fake name and doing a work-from-home job as a crisis counselor on a hotline. But it's a little while before we see her. The movie begins with Cotton Weary, who now stars in a successful talk show, getting stuck in traffic. He receives a call that is supposedly a wrong number, but the woman happens to be a fan. However, it soon turns out that the caller is a new Ghostface, who used a voice changer to sound like a woman. He demands that Cotton tell him where Sidney is. He's currently in Cotton's home, and will kill his girlfriend, Christine (Kelly Rutherford), unless Cotton answers his question. Cotton refuses, but rushes home to try to save Christine. However, Ghostface used the voice changer to sound like Cotton, so by the time he gets home, Christine thinks he was the one trying to kill her. Anyway... Cotton and Christine both end up dead.

Gale Weathers has written another book, and she's now the anchor of a show called "Total Entertainment" (which I assume is a knockoff of Entertainment Tonight), after she failed to land a job on "60 Minutes II." She's approached by LAPD detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey), who wants her to help with his investigation of the murders. (His partner, Detective Wallace, doesn't seem happy about Gale's involvement... or about anything, really. But he's of no real importance to the film.) Anyway, they go to the set of the movie "Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro," the production of which may be shut down because of the murders. (I guess "Stab 2" must have been based on the events of "Scream 2," but Stab 3 seems to be complete fiction.) The movie's director, Roman Bridger (Scott Foley) desperately wants production to continue. The movie's producer is John Milton (Lance Henriksen), but... I don't want to say anything about him. We also see a few of the actors from Stab 3. (Apparently all the actors from the first two "Stab" movies had declined to appear in the third movie.) Sidney is now being played by Angelina Tyler (Emily Mortimer), Gale is played by Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey), Dewey is played by Tom Prinze (Matt Keeslar), a new character named Ricky Wafford (an homage to Randy Meeks) is played by Tyson Fox (Deon Richmond), and a new character named Candy Brooks is played by Sarah Darling (Jenny McCarthy). (Cotton was supposed to play himself in a cameo, but I don't think he had done that yet, when he was killed.) Another person we see around the set is Jennifer's bodyguard, Steven Stone (Patrick Warburton). And the real Dewey is a technical consultant on the film.

And, um... I'm not sure how much else to say. I guess I should mention that every time Ghostface kills someone, he leaves behind a photograph of Sidney's mother, Maureen, taken at a time in her life before she met her future husband and they had Sidney. So it's clear that whatever's going on now is tied to Maureen, and that time period about which neither Sidney nor her father know anything. And of course, Sidney eventually shows up on the set. And Randy Meeks makes an appearance in a video he had recorded sometime prior to being killed in the second movie. The tape is delivered by his sister, Martha (Heather Matarazzo). Also, at one point Gale and Jennifer meet a former actress named Bianca Burnette (Carrie Fisher), who now works in the archives at Sunrise Studios, where "Stab 3" is being made. (Man, there are a lot of cool actors in this movie. Even Jay and Silent Bob make a totally random cameo.) And of course lots of other stuff happens, but I don't want to spoil any more of the plot. I thought it was a pretty decent movie, and not a bad way of ending a trilogy. (Of course Randy's video message is about exactly that.) Although by the time I saw this, there had already been a fourth movie, eight years earlier. (I really do want to see that, eventually, but it's not on the 3-DVD set I have of the original trilogy. So I don't know when I'll get to it.) Anyway, I guess this isn't quite as good as the second movie, and not nearly as good as the first. I'd say I thought more highly of it than some critics apparently did. But I didn't feel there was anything revolutionary about it, as there was with the first (and to a lesser degree, the second) movie. It felt more like an ordinary (but good) movie sequel, however well-made and well-cast. Randy's message about trilogy finales seemed to me like a halfhearted attempt to stay on brand with the meta self-awareness of the franchise. But if you're not looking for anything game-changing, it's definitely fun.

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Scream franchise
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