Normally, as a critic, we are exempt from the cost of seeing a movie. Normally, we get in for absolute zero when we attend a press screener of a film. However, since Dimension, for what appear to be highly mysterious (and controversial) reasons, cancelled the screener of Scream 3 I had to pay.
This is one movie that I did not waste my money on.
I saw this film in a theatre with about 700 other people, and the place was full to overflowing. Watching Scream 3 was reminiscent of watching a full-blown cult screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. People were dressed in full Mr. Ghost Face regalia (albeit without the knife), and the audience clapped, cheered, jeered, and chanted at practically every moment of the film.
To imagine the theatre I was in, imagine the theatre in the first ten minutes of Scream 2, remove the homicide, and multiply by ten.
In a lot of ways, seeing the movie in such a setting is probably for the best: I would have felt like such a silly ass loudly rooting for the killer in front of the rest of Cleveland's press contingent. My generation was raised on slasher flicks: they're our genre and our domain, and seeing Scream 3 with people of my generation was a refreshing switch from eating Thai food at the Ceder Lee cinemas with the rest of the critics.
Of course, it wasn't just the overwhelmingly "this is campy, and I like it"-atmosphere that made me enjoy the film... Scream 3 wasn't half-bad either.
Seeing as Dimension has already handed down their edict up on high from the Greenwich Village thrones of Bob and Harvey Weinstein that no one shall tell the details of Scream 3, and since I don't want them to have an excuse to bar the Internet critics from their next the-NSA-couldn't-break-this project, I will not tell you much. What I will tell you is this.
Mr. Ghost Face is at it again. I obviously won't tell you who Mr. Ghost Face is, only that he has had a few upgrades. One, he can imitate people's voices (this is revealed within the first scene), and two, this guy packs a second knife (not revealed until later, but I thought you should know). This time he's killing the cast of Stab 3 in the order in which they die in the movie.
Only one problem. Stab 3 and Scream 3 have comparable security levels, so Stab 3 has multiple drafts of the script so that no one quite knows who is going to be next. Of course, Mr. Ghost Face is going after whoever is left from the original cast (by now we have whittled it down to Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Liev Schreiber, and Neve Campbell) while he is at it.
By far the campiest of the Scream trilogy, Scream 3 is undeniably fun. It isn't even structured so that it is guilty pleasure. It is structured so that it is following the rules of a sequel, not a trilogy, and thus everything is much more elaborately planned. The pace is quicker, the jokes are funnier, the IQ of the movie drops by at least 20 points.
Scream 3 chooses as the target of its insults not the horror genre but the Hollywood system. Stab 3's cast is wonderfully postmodern (each person corresponds to a member of the surviving original cast), but plays its insults to actors, actresses, directors, and producers instead of to serial killers, shower scenes, axe murderers, and chesty victims.
Ehren Kruger is able to step into the voice of Kevin Williamson without missing a beat, but is sadly not quite able to pull off a script without plot holes. The biggest thing that Scream 3 has going against it is the plethora of plot holes that exist in this film.
But this is camp, and we don't care.
In the end of Scream 3, when all is said and done, you are left with the feeling that you have just roasted marshmallows, made out in a drive-in, skinny-dipped in the lake, and done all of the other things that are both incredibly youthful and asking for it should you happen to find yourself in a serial-killer situation. The film is youthful. The film is Gen-X. But above all, it's fun, and it doesn't ever pretend to be anything more.
Which is scarier? The knife or Courtney's 'do?