I know phrases like “this was the most X entry in the franchise yet!” get tiring after a while, but by this point I’ve seen all four Scream movies and can fairly safely say that Scream 3 is the most meta yet. For those who don’t know, “meta” is not just Facebook’s rebranding, but short for “metafiction,” or the idea that a piece of fiction reminds the audience that it is indeed fiction. The Scream franchise has always been a look at the horror genre as a whole, but now the focus goes to examining unnecessary sequels. It’s slightly more subtle than The Matrix Resurrections, for reference, but I’ll get to that another day.
In the universe of Scream 3, the Stab franchise is up to Stab 3 and has run out of actual murders to base things on. Filming hits a snag when murders happen with Ghostface clearly hunting Sidney, who had gone into hiding. People dying brings her out into the open–also the fact that the killer eventually knew where she was–and the mystery fully kicks off. There were a lot of new characters this time around who did very little other than be suspects, so I’m just going to cut to the chase and say that the killer was Stab 7‘s director, Roman Bridger (Mr. Scott Foley), who is actually Sidney’s older half-brother. A recurring plot point of the franchise has been that Sid’s mom slept around, and it turns out that started during an ill-fated attempt at getting into movies, producing the abandoned Roman. It was Roman all along, actually! He was the one who filmed Sidney’s mom sleeping with Billy’s dad, giving the boy tips on how to kill Sidney. But it didn’t work, because it never works, and in the end Roman is dead and Sidney is alive, believing all this is finally over. She wishes.
Oh, and Courtney Cox and David Arquette were there once again. They even sometimes helped!
It feels weird to say one person was behind all the misery in Sidney’s life, especially when the movie goes out of its way to set it up. Randy–oh, he’s still dead, but he recorded a tape to be watched in the event of his death and if there were more murders–explains that the third film in a trilogy breaks a lot of the establish rules, often revealing new truths that change everything. A little ham-fisted, but whatever, that’s the story and we’re sticking to it.
There’s also a lot of weird humor in this that almost made me tag it “comedy.” Gale and the actress playing Gale in Stab 7 (Parker Posey) have to get information from Carrie Fisher, only it’s NOT Carrie, but a woman named Bianca who looks EXACTLY LIKE Carrie Fisher. Because she’s played by Carrie Fisher. Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) have a brief cameo, which now makes me wonder if Scream is in the same universe as Dogma. And the one that rubbed me the wrong way is a joke near the end about the actress who was playing Sidney in Stab 7 (Emily Mortimer). She won a contest to take over the role from Tori Spelling and is a nice girl who seems kind of sheltered. But everyone assumes she slept with one of the producers. Then at the end of the film it’s revealed she’s actually mean and slept with one of the producers. Hilarious. This was also, in my opinion, the least good in the franchise (so far, having not seen 2022’s Scream).
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