Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

As anyone could have predicted, the final "Scream" sequel seemed to go back to where the series started, but in fact deviated even further from what made the original so good. Gone almost completely from the film is any self-aware joking about horror movies or sequels: The first two opened with great prologues that spoofed horror-movie conventions with a barrage of references, but the third film's prologue is a straightforward scene in which a major character is stalked and attacked, with no humor or insight or purpose other than its own minimal entertainment value. There's still miles of territory the "Scream" films could have covered in their half-academic, half-parody exploration of the genre, but the third film gives up and goes through the motions of typical horror, with mild results. On the plus side, by taking itself so seriously, it has perhaps the most scary incarnation of the "Ghostface Killer" (I always wondered what the Wu-Tang Clan made of him), and for the first time there's not the self-defeating sense that Sidney Prescott could stand up to him with her wit alone, but a sense that the characters really are up against something that's not playing by the rules. Granted, the film overreaches in trying to establish its villain as supernatural, a ploy we are not going to fall for, but in the process it does make its villain seem a lot more powerful than his/her predecessors, and that gives it a certain gravity. Even if the humor is not on the level of the earlier films, there's still good material with a self-mocking Jenny McCarthy and the grin-inducing silliness of Parker Posey. It's just a shame that knowledge of horror sequels doesn't save this one from being the same boring rehash that most of them are.

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