Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 7/18/00
Series - 2000 (2000) - Dimension (Buena Vista)
review by Dan Kelly of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/B+
Specs and Features
117 mins, R, widescreen (2.35:1), single-sided, RSDL dual-layered
(layer switch at 1:24:54, at the start of chapter 22), Amaray keep
case packaging, audio commentary with Wes Craven, Marianne Maddalena
and Patrick Lussier, outtakes, behind the scenes from all 3
Scream movies, deleted scenes
with commentary track, alternate ending with commentary track, 14 TV
spots, theatrical trailer, international trailer, Creed music video
for What If, cast & crew
bios, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (29
chapters), languages: English and French (DD 5.1), subtitles:
English and Spanish, Closed Captioned
3 is the supposed final installment in the highly
successful horror franchise that was launched in late 1996. Like
most horror sequels, it starts to show its age with time, and this
one is an adequate end to the series. The advertising barrage that
preceded the release of the movie promised that it would provide
answers to some of the questions that remained surrounding the death
of Sidney's (Neve Campbell) mother. It would be unfair of me to say
exactly what the questions and answers were, but I will say this -
they aren't questions that were unanswered after the first two
movies, but ones that were made up specifically for this film.
A few years after Sidney's college days end, she is now living
under an assumed name in northern California. She works for a social
service agency on a women's crisis line, but she is so paralyzed by
fear and anxiety that she does her work from home. Meanwhile, in Los
Angeles, work has begun on Stab 3,
and things are beginning to get a little scary on the set. Dewey
(David Arquette) is hired as an onset consultant, and acts as a sort
of bodyguard to Jennifer (a very funny Parker Posey), who is the
Stab 3 version of Gayle
Weathers (Courtney Cox Arquette).
It seems the killings have started again, and this time they are
mirroring those in script for Stab 3.
When Sidney learns of the killings, she heads to Hollywood to find
out about her mom's past and to aid Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick
Dempsey) in his search for the killer. There are a host of cameos
and bit parts by some well-known stars and up-and-comers in
Scream 3, including Jenny
McCarthy, Matt Keeslar, Jamie Kennedy (reprising his role as Randy
for one last time), Heather Matarazzo and Carrie Fisher to name a
few. To reveal any more about the plot of the movie would be unfair
to those who haven't seen it, since part of the appeal for many
viewers are the story developments, both feasible and impractical.
But in my opinion, while a lot of Scream
3 was satisfying, an equal amount was disappointing.
New Scream writer Ehren
Kruger had a lot to live up to when writing the script. Kevin
Williamson's self-referential brand of writing is so much a part of
Scream that it wouldn't be the
same movie without it. Kruger is Hollywood's new wunderkind, but I
didn't completely like his writing style in this (nor did I like his
first screenplay, Arlington Road).
The reasons are the same - he relies very heavily on conveniences
written into the plot. These plot devices are so surrounded in
smartly written dialogue, fantastic circumstances and traditional
horror genre exploitation, that viewers may not often notice them.
Most of the humor he has written into this film falls flat or is
only mildly funny, and the characters lack the same edge they had in
the previous two films. As with Scream 2,
the identity of the killer is arbitrary, and there's no possible way
to guess who it is or why he/she/they are the killer(s).
What I did like was Craven's direction of the tense action
sequences. As usual, they are done with a great deal of style, tight
editing, and of course, jumps and scares. Admittedly, there was zero
suspense... but I think that's not entirely Craven's fault. The fact
that he managed to do this film and Music
of the Heart (two very different films) in such a short
period of time is also commendable. Neve Campbell is once again
strong and sensitive as Sidney. It seems that she has really grown
into the role and knows her character inside and out. She puts a lot
of strength into Sidney and lends believability to her actions and
Maybe I'm being a little hard and putting too many expectations on
Scream 3. It is, after all, a
slasher film. That could be the problem. It feels like the
filmmakers try to instill in the viewer the belief that it is
something more than a slasher sequel. "It's not a sequel - it's
part of a trilogy!"... as if the term trilogy offers more
credibility to the process of filmmaking. I like some critic-proof
horror movies (like many of the Friday
the 13th and Halloween
sequels) because they don't take themselves seriously, and they are
nothing more than an excuse for people to jump and scream.
Scream 3 is too serious for
its own good.
On DVD, Scream 3 sports a
pretty striking anamorphic transfer. Colors and flesh tones are
rendered faithfully with no bleed or other interference. Black level
is incredibly strong but never too dark, and shadow detailing is
also nice. I did notice a few problems with the transfer in some of
the scenes where there is fog or haze present - you see a bit of
digital compression artifacting. But that aside, this is a really
good looking DVD. I can't express to you how happy I am that Buena
Vista is now seemingly committed to anamorphic enhancement. It truly
does make a difference in their product. On the audio side of
things, we get a nice, immersive Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The sound
field is active, with a very strong and well defined bass response.
Discreet use of the surround channels is executed to maximum
advantage and the dialogue is always distinct. The 5.1 French
language track is also quite good.
Strictly in terms of numbers, there are plenty of features on the
disc. They are mostly good, but a lot of what is provided on the
disc feels too much like promotional fluff. For instance, did we
really need 14 friggin' television commercials? One, two, or maybe
even three is okay, but this is overkill. Along with those
commercials, there are also the domestic and international trailers.
I prefer the international version, but they're both here for your
viewing pleasure. The behind-the-scenes featurette is basically a
six-minute "warm fuzzy look" at all the films in the
series - promotional EPK kind of crap. I learned absolutely nothing
from it, and it was only marginally entertaining. An unadvertised
extra consists mostly of a minute-long clip of the already included
Creed music video. Let's hope this is the last Creed video on a
Dimension Collector's Series (the Halloween:
H20 DVD also had one).
The rest of the features are good, but are standard features on a
special edition. There are deleted scenes (two of which are slightly
differing versions of the opening scene), which are nice to have
(but which were wisely left out of the final cut of the film). Ditto
the alternate ending, which drags on just as long as the one that
ultimately made it into the movie. A small set of outtakes shows the
lighter side of things on the set of the film. Wes Craven and
company (including longtime producing partner Maddalena and editor
Lussier) provide an entertaining commentary track that stays pretty
focused with what is happening on screen. Craven is generous with
his thoughts and experiences, and often encourages the others to
share their wealth of knowledgeable about the filming of
Scream 3. They continue their
commentary on the deleted scenes and the alternate ending, as well.
This is easily the best of the extras. I am also very glad to see
that Disney is now using the subtitle features for foreign language
translation as well as their traditional English for the hearing
impaired. All in all, the features are an entertaining batch.
If you liked the film, you'll definitely want to pick up the DVD.
It was made with fans of the film and the entire series in mind.
It's a nice effort and the DVD looks and sounds great. Keep in mind
however, that a box set of the entire series (including a
never-before-released Scream 2:
Collector's Series and a fourth disc of extras), is in
the works for a September release. If you're really a fan, you might
want to just rent this film now, and then buy the set later...