Okay, so I’ll just come right out and say it – I love this movie. I love it, love it, love it. I have yet to see why people don’t like it, maybe you guys can explain it to me. But I liked it so much, that I saw it in theaters three times, and no, I wasn’t attempting to go for Scream 3, 3 times, or anything clever like that. It just happened that way. I like this one more than Scream 2, but also wayyyy more than Scream 4, which, let’s face it, kinda-sorta sucked.
So, we open with Cotton Weary on the phone, on the 405 Freeway in Hollywood, stuck in traffic. He’s talking about his most recent role, a cameo, in Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro. He gets a call on his other phone, and at first it appears to be a woman, a fan, actually of his new talk show, 100% Cotton (ooh, clever!). She can’t believe she called the wrong number and it turned out to be a celebrity, until she reveals she is a “he”, Ghostface, in fact. He tells Cotton he’s at his house, watching his girlfriend, Christine, in the shower. Cotton panics, and gets out of the traffic by going another way, cutting off cars and nearly crashing in the process. At his apartment, Christine gets out of the shower and gets dressed, when the stereo comes on, playing Creed. She think it’s Cotton, especially when she hears his voice. Suddenly, Ghostface appears and chases her. After locking herself in a room, she hears Cotton’s voice again, telling her it was just a Stab game, but he really wants to rip her insides out. It’s not Cotton, of course, as he is just now arriving home. Christine attacks him, thinking he was really attacking her, but after she whacks him upside the head with a golf club, Ghostface appears and stabs her in the back. Cotton attempts to fight him off, but he’s overpowered, and stabbed in the chest twice. Ghostface had wanted to know where Sidney Prescott was, but he refused to tell (I admire loyalty). I was really sad, actually, that Cotton died. Because, well, first of all, he proved himself to be a good guy after all, despite the fact that he was a fame-seeker and very arrogant at times. Second of all, did you see him wearing that tan and white outfit, walking down the hall with the andiron? Helloooo! Sorry, had to say it, it’s a fact.
Next day, in Sidney’s world, she has now moved out to the country, with her loyal and adorable dog, Cherokee, and has her house locked and chained to the nines. Understandable, of course. She works for the California Women’s Crisis Counseling center, helping young, troubled women from home. She also calls herself, Laura, to the outside world. At the same time, Gale Weathers is giving a lecture on how to break into the news business, and she is hassled by a student in the audience, played by David Arquette’s real life brother. Outside, she is confronted by a policeman, Detective Mark Kincaid, LAPD, played by Patrick Dempsey (prior to his McDreamy days), who tells her that Cotton and his girlfriend were murdered. She is stunned, but even more so when the cop shows her a picture of Maureen Prescott, at a young age, that was left at the crime scene. Back on the set of Stab 3, the cops (Kincaid and his sarcastic partner) continue to investigate whether or not the murder has anything to do with the film. We are introduced to John Milton, the producer (Lance Henriksen), the director, Roman Bridger (Scott Foley, fresh off his stint on Dawson’s Creek, and portraying resident advisor Noel on Felicity), and actors Angelina Tyler (Emily Mortimer), Tom Prinze (Matt Keesler), Sarah Darling (Jenny McCarthy), Tyson Fox (Deon Richmond), and Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey, who is brilliant, by the way). Gale shows up, and comes face-to-face with Dewey. Apparently, they had not spoken in some time, and aren’t exactly on the best of terms. She is also accosted by Jennifer (playing the role of Gale), who is obsessed with her, and soon finds out she can be a real bitch.
Jennifer and Dewey have been getting along famously, much to Gale’s chagrin, and Jennifer says Dewey’s told her a lot about her real personality. Tom Prinze plays Dewey’s character, who also gives Gale the business about talking trash about people on her pop culture show. The other castmates talk about how “Tori Spelling and David Schwimmer didn’t wanna come back”, and Angelina, who won the talent contest to find the new Sidney, is broken up about the deaths, but Tom gives her hell for some reason. Tyson’s character is, he says, an homage to Randy, “named Ricky, who works at the video store!” Gale is kicked out by the producer, even though she is technically working with Kincaid on the case. She runs into Jay and Silent Bob outside, who think she is “that t.v. news chick, Connie fuckin’ Chung”, which is HILARIOUS. Later that night, Sidney has a conversation with her father, who is concerned for her mental health, and she says that it’s better that way, so she cannot be found. She takes a nap, and dreams that her mother is standing at her window in a nightgown, calling out to her. This part is really creepy, but also sad, considering the back story. The next day, Sarah is called into the studio to talk to the director, but she is called and stalked by Ghostface, who uses Roman’s voice to trick her. She is eventually killed at the studio, after being smashed through a window and stabbed in the back.
Dewey and Gale go to a restaurant to talk, where he tells Gale she’s selfish, and she tells him she couldn’t stay in Woodsboro, but she does care about him. They discuss Sidney and the murders, and he tells her that the Woodsboro police station was broken into, but he already removed her file. They think someone involved in the movie is after her. Jennifer pages Dewey, needing him. So, Gale follows him to her house, where he lives in a trailer on the property. They are told about Sarah’s murder, and postulate that the actors are being killed in the order they die in the movie. Jennifer is freaking, because apparently, Gale’s character dies next. Jennifer has started smoking again, and leaps into the arms of her bodyguard, Steven Stone (Patrick Warburton). Gale gives Dewey crap about living with Jennifer, and he tells her he’s her “rock”. Haha, oh Dewey! They go with Kincaid to the studio, where his partner, Wallace, gets pissed about a news anchor joining an investigative team. He even quips, “In that case, I’m gonna go dust for fingerprints with Jane Pauley”, haha. There is a new picture of Maureen at the scene, and Roman is taken in for questioning after Sarah’s roommate said he called her before she died, which he denies.
Later that night, Sidney is called by Ghostface, who mocks her mother’s voice, and tells her to turn on the news. She is shocked to see that another cast member was killed, and that the movie has now been shut down. Back in Hollywood, the cast mates have gathered at Jennifer’s house, along with Dewey. Tom is drunk, and starts tearing up the script because he is pissed. Gale begins to lurk around outside, jealous of what might be happening between him and Jennifer. Steven catches her, and brings her inside. She and Dewey discuss Maureen’s pictures, and that she can’t find anything that happened to her around that age in the photos. They discover that the pictures were taken at the same studio. Meanwhile, in Dewey’s trailer, Steven is snooping around, and is called by Ghostface. He is attacked, though he does his best to fight back. In the house, everyone gathers together and becomes paranoid. They see Steven stumbling towards them, and then he falls down dead. Everyone freaks and runs back in the house, then the lights go out. They run outside by the pool, and receive a fax. Tom goes in to read it, and it’s a script page, detailing what is happening at that very moment. Tom looks around for something to read the last fax with, that answers who the killer will grant mercy to. As he flicks his lighter, the page reads, “whoever smells the gas”, and suddenly, the house explodes. Dewey, Gale, Jennifer, and Angelina all jump over the balcony and roll down the hill. They are all separated, but end up back at the road by a car. Ghostface appears to attack Gale but is shot by Dewey. Jennifer gets jealous of them, and punches Dewey, so Gale punches Jennifer. At least Gale didn’t get hit this time! There’s also another picture of Maureen left at the scene, with the message, “I killed her”, on the back.
The next day, Kincaid is convinced that Sidney knows more than she says, and tries to force Dewey to get ahold of her. She actually ends up showing up on her own, telling the group that the killer found her. She hugs Gale, which is heartwarming, after all the tension between them over the years. Sidney wants to see the place in the pictures of her mother, and is upset that she has no idea what it all means. So, they travel to the film lot, and bump into Martha Meeks, Randy’s sister, who had come to show them a videotape her brother made at Windsor College. He gives a heartfelt speech, making us miss him even more. He also lists the three rules for the “concluding chapter of a trilogy”:
1) The killer is going to be super human. “Stabbing him won’t work, shooting him work, basically in the third one, you gotta cryogenically freeze his head, decapitate him, or blow him up!”
2) Anyone including the main character can die, “this means you, Sid!”
3) The past will come back to bite you in the ass, “whatever sins you think were committed in the past are about to break out and destroy you”
He sadly wishes them Godspeed and the tape ends. Gale goes off to look for some answers on Maureen’s back story, and Jennifer shows up, proclaiming to cling to her until the killer is found since it’s really Gale and friends they’re after, not the actors themselves. They go down to the Sunrise Studio archives and find out her stage name was Rina Reynolds, and that she had small roles in three horror movies produced by John Milton. Hmm, the plot thickens. At the studio, Sidney encounters Angelina in the bathroom, who tells her she wanted to make her proud of her in the film, had it finished filming. Sidney then goes snooping around, and finds herself on the movie set, bringing back all kinds of haunting and disturbing memories, of Billy, Stu, and her mother, probably because the set is a mirror image of her house, with Dewey’s police car and everything. Sidney enters her room, and begins hearing noises. For some reason, the killer knows she is there, and attacks her. It was really messed up, because the killer hid under the coroner’s sheet in her mother’s bedroom (on set), and used her voice to taunt Sidney. After a struggle, everyone shows up, including the cops, who find nothing. Kincaid and Dewey believe Sidney, even though they are worried about her mental health.
After the fiasco, Gale and Jennifer catch up to Dewey, and they all go to confront Milton about Rina Reynolds (Maureen). Roman and Milton are talking about how he was questioned, and that he’s worried it might ruin his career. After the three barge in, Roman leaves to go to the house to celebrate his birthday. Milton denies it at first, but then admits that she was a bit player in his films, and she used to go to his house to “meet men”. Those men could get women parts if “they made the right impression”, meaning that Rina was either raped or severely taken advantage of, which is really sad. At the station, Sidney and Kincaid discusses movies and trilogies, and also her mother. Dewey, Gale, and Jennifer are driving when they receive a call from the killer (pretending to be Sidney), telling them she’s going to John Milton’s house. So, they head there, and meet up with Roman, Tyson, and Angelina. Milton and Sidney are nowhere to be found. Angelina and Tyson go snooping around, as do Roman and Jennifer, while Dewey and Gale “wait” for Sidney. They discover the killer’s costume and voice changer in a closet, and realize the killer is there or nearby.
Meanwhile, Jennifer finds Roman stabbed to death in the basement, and Gale finds her, and they take off running. They try to convince Angelina to come with them, but she gets scared and runs the other way. Not before telling them she screwed the producer to get the leading role, though. She is stabbed to death shortly after, and Gale and Jennifer, who now seem to be friends, or at least more understanding of one another, take off to find Dewey. The four remaining – Gale, Dewey, Jennifer, and Tyson – all end up in a bedroom upstairs, when Ghostface rushes in and attacks. Jennifer finds herself in a secret passage after falling against a false wall, and Dewey is slashed in the arm. Tyson is chased downstairs and stabbed, and eventually killed when he is thrown over the balcony onto the concrete below. Ouch. Jennifer, in the secret passage, ends up behind the mirrors in the same bedroom, but isn’t seen by Gale or Dewey because they are one-way mirrors. Ghostface attacks and stabs her, as Dewey shoots out the mirrors trying to save her. Going back downstairs, Gale tries to call for help, and is pulled into the basement by Ghostface. They fall down the stairs, and he is knocked unconscious, so she is trapped. She calls Dewey, but as he comes to get her, Ghostface awakens, throws a knife at him, which hits him in the forehead blunt side up, causing him to fall as well. Now, they’re both trapped.
Sidney, who really is still at the police station, gets a call from the killer, telling her to come to Milton’s house, threatening Gale and Dewey’s lives. She gets there, and is forced to use a metal detector on her person to make sure she has no weapon. She does, a small gun, and is made to throw it in the pool. She goes inside to find Gale and Dewey tied up. She tries freeing them, and is attacked. However, she pulls a fast one, pulling another gun from her boot, and shoots him several times. Kincaid shows up, and for a split second, everyone thinks he is the killer, because he has a quite suspicious smirk on his face momentarily. But Ghostface shows up, and kicks the shit out of him, and Sidney gives chase to lure him away from her friends. She ends up in the screening room where her mother was taken advantage of by the movie industry men. Turns out, this is where the killer wants her, and he has set up some home movies showing her mother before and after several trysts, with Cotton Weary, and Hank Loomis.
The killer shows up, wearing the bloody body bag from the movie set, using Maureen’s voice to taunt Sidney once more. He reveals he’s wearing a bulletproof vest, and electronically locks the doors so she cannot escape. He tells her it’s time she “came to terms with me and with mother”, exposing the fact that he searched for a mother named Rina Reynolds, and that four years earlier, he found her. He found that she had a “new life and a new name – Maureen Prescott”, and he reveals himself to be….Roman Bridger, “director, and brother”. He was likely conceived in that very room by one of those men years before, and she gave him up in favor of leaving Hollywood, prompting Roman’s jealousy of Sidney and her fame. This is obviously a ridiculous reason, because Sidney herself had nothing to do with it, and didn’t even know anything about him, or her mother’s past, but Sidney seems to attract insane, psychotic people so this should come as no surprise. I really dug the back story, because I feel there really is so much on the dark side of Hollywood that no one ever really knows about, and it’s kind of frightening, and also sad on a human level. Roman is so insanely jealous that once he tracked Maureen down, and found out about her affairs, he decided to tell Billy about it, who in turn, ended up killing her, before he and Stu “made a movie of their own”. All the events of the Scream films are all traceable back to Roman and his greed and envy. He drags out John Milton, who he wants to try to frame Sidney for killing, so he can get away with, like Billy and Stu tried to do. He slits Milton’s throat, and attacks Sidney. The ending fight scenes are really kick ass, and to talk about them doesn’t really do them justice. This whole time, Gale and Dewey are trying to figure out a way to get in the secret room, while they listen to Roman beating Sidney to a fucking pulp. Seriously, she gets beaten so badly, it made my ribs hurt. It really is brutal and violent, pure hatred on Roman’s part. This is even more crazy considering the timid roles that Scott Foley typically played in the early days.
He even shoots her twice, and we think she is dead, but it turns out she too is wearing a bulletproof vest. She gets the upper hand eventually, and stabs him twice. Once he’s down on the floor, she says “Stab 3, right?” and stabs him viciously a third time. As he lays dying, he says that he still got to make his movie and that Mom is gone forever. They grip one another’s hand tightly, as though they were just meeting for the first time in a nice setting, much like how Laurie Strode touches Michael’s hand at the end of H20 before she kills him (to me, it’s Michael, okay? Y’all know I don’t even consider Resurrection). As Sidney gets up to leave, Roman jumps up one last time, because as Randy says, “The killer is gonna be super-human”. Dewey whips out his gun and shoots him several times in the chest, before Sid yells at him, “Shoot him in the head!” He does, and Roman falls to the floor with a mortal head wound.
Weeks later, at Sidney’s house, Dewey proposes to Gale in a very sweet way, and she tells him he’s a brave man. She accepts and they share a long-awaited kiss. Sidney comes back from walking with her dog, Cherokee, and actually leaves the front gate open. She is no longer afraid. When she comes in the house, we see that Kincaid is there, and they are all getting ready to watch a movie. She doesn’t set the alarm on her door, and starts to walk to the living room. Suddenly, the door slowly creaks open, likely due to the breeze, but I think it might have been her mother’s spirit, honestly. At least, that’s what I like to think. It’s a little creepy, but Sidney just smiles, and walks into the living room, leaving the door wide open.
So, can anyone explain the hatred surrounding this movie? Because I really don’t get it. I know, I say that a lot when it comes to movies I love and everyone hates, but what’s the big deal? I found it a tad bit superior to Scream 2, but like I said, I love all three of them. Now, Scream 4 is a different story. I don’t like that one, like some people don’t like this one. It has a fantastic storyline, and I found Ehren Kruger’s (who also penned the underrated The Skeleton Key) writing to be similar to Kevin Williamson’s, and it works with the other two films perfectly. It is a believable back story, because that kind of thing goes on in Hollywood all the time – people are used, abused, and thrown away – and sometimes, the outcome isn’t good. Granted, most kids won’t turn out to be serial killers, but still, if Maureen had so many secrets before, what makes you think she wouldn’t have even more hiding in her past? I found Roman to be an incredible serial killer, albeit very selfish and evil, of course. It was definitely a surprise, maybe not that she had a brother, but that it was Roman, because we all thought he died earlier in the film.
The soundtrack is great, too. It is more hardcore than the other films, featuring songs by Creed (not that they’re hardcore, but more so than the laid-back feel of the first two films), Fuel, System of a Down, and an amazing, amped-up version of Red Right Hand. The characters were pretty awesome, too, although, I’ll admit, a little more one-dimensional that I would have preferred. But I thought it was neat that all their names had something to do with a real-life actor (Angelina = Jolie, which is Jennifer’s last name in the film; Tyson = Beckford, Tom Prinze = Freddie Prinze, Jr., you get where I’m going). I don’t know if that is the reason behind it, but hey, it can’t be that much of a stretch. The kills were pretty cool, although nothing new, but I did hate that they killed off Cotton Weary, like I said. His character evolved, and we saw in the end of Scream 2 that he may not be such a bad guy after all. The film had a good pace, funny lines, and great cameos from Carrie Fisher, and Jay and Silent Bob, not to mention the wonderful appearences by Lance Henriksen and the beloved Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks. I am at a loss to find what is not likable about this movie.