Scream was a horror film nerd heaven, with pop culture references flying faster than sharp knives. The twist? Having the two craziest characters, BOTH be the killer. That was nice but they did as much scenery chewing as body stabbing even before the big reveal. Ultimately, the real villain was the press, pushy reporter Gail Weathers, who annoyed everyone trying to get her "big story," but winds up saving the day in the end and then cashes in on her fame in Scream 2.
All the classic horror movies are represented; Psycho, Halloween, Friday the 13th, to the point the final confrontation in Scream is scored by the music from Halloween because that’s the movie playing in the background when all the plasma hits the fan. But it does poke at the trope that the killer seems to be in two places at once, because here he’s two people.
I noticed one unusual thing about their take on the killer; while the Jasons and Michael Meyers of the movies were unstoppable supernatural lugs who just bulldoze their way through the mayhem, Ghostface is a klutz. He’s easily flipped, thrown and knocked out. A beer bottle to the groin stops him cold. He slips, crashes and stumbles. So at least the victims seemingly have a chance which adds to the suspense.
And to keep this meta-verse going, there is an actual college film class where they get into the whole “sequel” thing and its rules.
The big shocker for me was the film nerd was killed in this installment, leaving me ask how they were going to do the whole “self-aware meta-thing” in Scream 3, having killed off all the film nerds.
One thing I noticed; it’s weird that by Scream 3 Sydney is the only character who bothered to put in a security system.
I’ve been amazed at the recognizable actors that make up the cast of each of these films, but the cameos and familiar stars that pop up in Three skyrockets.
It turns out Ghostface is a real back stabber, that seems to be his signature move, stabbing people in the back. I would think with all the ribs and things back there that would be an issue, but no.
Burning question: how is the Gail/Dewey thing a thing? Slick TV reporter and klutzy cop. Neither are that likeable, even if by this point they aren’t suspects any more. But, seriously, how does Dewey become the reliable one?
Oh, that film nerd kid they killed off in Two? He returns via video tape in Three to explain how trilogies work; that all the previous rules go out the window, including the idea that no dead characters get to show up again in the third movie. And somehow he knew there would be a third episode.
One of the things you watch over the various films is seeing how Cortney Cox’s plastic surgery is progressing. Oh, come on, you were all thinking it.
While Scream 2 played around with theater, Three goes back into movies big time. While recreating the first movie on a movie set the movie simultaneously “changes everything you think you know,” and neatly retro-fits the facts of this movie with the premise of the first while pulling out the long-lost relative twist.
And Dewey’s mustache finally comes in.
As the anniversary of the original killings approaches, we’re back in the hometown and Dewey is sheriff now. Go figure. The movie explores the idea of “Local celebrity victim”-hood, a term the movie actually uses. And seriously, they still sell that Ghostface costume in stores?
They bring in a cousin for this movie, who’s the daughter of Sidney’s slutty mom’s sister. So, another previously unknown family member. And lots of pop show biz references. Weirdly, these characters are watching Shaun of the Dead and laughing at one of the unfunny parts.
The Scream movies dance a fine line between having characters that are suspects as well as being annoying possible victims worth killing. Even trickier when you realize how many new characters they have to introduce in each film.
It must have been tough coming up with the “new” rules for the next generation of horror films, which is why they have to introduce a whole after-school cinema club just to discuss the premise and its possibilities.
While I’m wondering about things; Just how big is this little town? It takes forever for cops to get from one location to another. Also, it is weird how few people bring guns to this knife fight.
In the end, the movie goes all Bonnie and Clyde, with a male and female team as the killers, which is a logical twist on the twist of the first movie. And the movie is a real indictment of celebrity culture and reality TV. It’s like the Kardashians made a horror movie.
The Scream franchise does something that’s evident in George Romero’s Living Dead movies. It’s not just a horror film, it’s commenting on society. While Romero used his movies to call out racism, consumerism and nationalism, Scream started as simply a reflection on the horror genre (and maybe its effect on the youth) but the follow-ups dealt with commercialism, the nature and obsession with fame, celebrity and show business, from books to theater to movies to streaming. It’s been announced Scream 5 is due out December 2021. I can only assume it’ll be about podcasts and VOD “murder shows.”
But in the end, the main takeaway from these movies is that Sidney sure knows a lot of psychos.