Michael’s review published on Letterboxd:
Scream 3 is widely regarded as the worst instalment in the franchise, however in terms of worst entries in horror franchises, Scream 3 is better than most. There are definitely some issues, but I had a lot of fun with it.
For a first in the series, Ethan Kreuger is writing the script instead of Kevin Williamson, and you really do feel his absence. The meta commentary is a little mixed, it’s not as smart as the last couple of movies. It takes on certain things like the abusive system and politics of Hollywood. The Stab movies were introduced in Scream 2 but I think Scream 3 utilizes them a lot better in the plot given that it’s set in Hollywood. However, sometimes the commentary is a bit too on the nose and silly at points. There is also a certain subplot that has either aged well or aged poorly in the movie, considering that Scream 3 is a Harvey Weinstein movie. At the very least, it makes the plotline a little more awkward and uncomfortable now. The plot is still entertaining and has good humour, even if they lean into that a little too much at times. The main trio with Sidney, Gale and Dewey as usual were the highlights and I liked how it continued their stories. However the movie does lack the wittiness and cleverness of the movies that came before, and is a very generic affair. It falls into the tropes that it tries to parody, which is never a good sign. There are some questionable story decisions too, particularly with some reveals at the end of the film. However the biggest criticism I have is for a particular aspect that bugged me for the whole film. I can buy that each Ghostface wears the same costume, mask and voice changer that gives them the voice of Roger L. Jackson. However, this Ghostface also has another magical voice changer that makes them sound like literally any character that they want, and I really didn’t like that. With all that being said, I really like how Scream 3 ended the movie with its last scene.
There are some solid performances and enjoyable characters. The main trio in Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette deliver as always, Gale and Dewey are front and center, but I also think this movie really rounds out Sidney as a character too. As for the newcomers, they weren’t really the best, just sort of okay. However, Parker Posey was one of the highlights of the whole movie, playing an actor who was cast as a fictional version of Gale in the newest installment of the Stab franchise.
Wes Craven directs this well, though in terms of direction and technical elements, Scream 3 is probably the worst in the franchise. There are some good set pieces, even if they aren’t on the level of the first two movies. But really, there weren’t many standout scenes, and none of them really bordered on being scary or suspenseful. The music is reliable as ever, with Marco Beltrami again doing well with the score.
So unsurprisingly, Scream 3 is the worst of the franchise but is still pretty decent. While the meta commentary was very hit or miss and some of the story decisions didn’t work out, the cast and some of the set pieces were solid, and I still enjoyed watching it. Plus it ended on a note that would’ve been a fitting conclusion for the franchise if they didn’t continue it nearly a decade later. At the very least, there’s some enough good stuff here to make it worth watching.