In this new, monthly series, a Wicked Horror writer presents an unpopular opinion about a particular genre offering and asks the oft-repeated question, “Is it just me?” In this installment, Joey Keogh argues why Scream 3 doesn’t deserve the scorn heaped upon it by rabid fans and critics alike.
Scream 3 is different. People have attitude about Scream 3. Even if someone claims to “love” Scream, he/she will always over-state how Scream 3 doesn’t count. On every single “definitive” list, ranking the films (of which there are far too many considering there are only four of them), 3 predictably comes last. Every single time. Comparatively speaking, it probably is the weakest entry, but considering the four films as a unit are impressively, and consistently, strong, is it really that bad?
Objectively speaking, the Halloween, Friday The 13th, and even Craven’s own Nightmare On Elm Street, series boast far worse entries than Scream 3. In fact, Halloween 3, although a cult classic nowadays, isn’t considered canonically correct, while Friday The 13th Part VIII isn’t exactly Jason’s finest or most memorable hour.
His murder method of choice is stabbing, but in Scream 3 the scope is widened to encompass a big-budget, action movie style explosion when Ghostface blows up an uppity film star’s house with some poor guy still in it. As the flick is set on the set of the third Stab movie, wonderfully titled Stab 3: Return To Woodsboro, Scream 3 is incredibly meta, even by the series’ standards. For instance, Jenny Mc Carthy delivers a terrific monologue questioning why she has to die naked, before adopting a sexier voice to run lines with who she presumes is her director, lamenting the stupidity of horror heroines before falling victim to Ghostface herself.
Later revealed to be a scorned bastard child of Sid’s mother, Maureen, Roman is never quite believable as a cold-blooded killer. The family angle is clever, and it wraps up the trilogy (as Scream 3 was originally set out to be the final installment) quite nicely, but it’s slightly contrived and Foley takes to the frustrated director role better than he does the Ghostface costume. However, having said that, his reveal leads to a succession of quick, swift kills in the final act, during which he also takes Dewey and Gale as hostages (the first and last time Ghostface has done so) which, again, ups the scare factor.
Scream 3 gets a lot of hate, most of it unwarranted. What are the fans biggest issues with it? Is it the script being written by someone other than Kevin Williamson? The incredibly meta film-set setting? An abundance of new characters? The fact that it’s the funniest, as opposed to the scariest, installment in the series? Den Of Geek suggested in their series ranking that the humour was ramped up out of fear of any connection to the Columbine massacre, a crime that had only recently shocked the world at the time of the movie’s release. This would account for the change in tone, but Scream 3 still feels like a Scream movie.
It might not be perfect but Scream 3 does not deserve the amount of vitriol that is consistently aimed its way. We judge it harshly because Scream, Scream 2 and Scream 4 are so exceptional but, whether taken as a part of the franchise or as a standalone film, 3 is smarter, scarier and more fun than the majority of slasher movie fare. Revisit it with an open mind and you might just surprise yourself.