This film, like the previous two Scream films, is excellent at taking the mick. A bit-part actress whom no-one has ever heard of plays a bit-part actress whom no-one has ever heard of, reads her own murder in a script and gets murdered.
The film set of Stab 3 is the setting – wasn’t this Scream 3? The problem by now is that we know Wes Craven is going to send up the genre he’s spent most of his life filming in, just like he did last time, and the time before that. We know Neve Campbell is going to snivel at everything and we know the murderer will be someone we’ve never heard of after we’ve been given all the wrong clues. But now, when scary music bursts our eardrums and a camera sneaks up behind someone, we just laugh, amused that the horror genre has finally been transcended and merged with comedy. It just isn’t frightening anymore.
Like one character in the film tells another, the rules are different for a trilogy, you can forget all the sequel stuff. For a trilogy we must go back to where we started, just like Return of the Jedi; an appropriate analogy, as Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) makes a cameo appearance. This doesn’t mean that Drew Barrymore will necessarily be resurrected, taking a shower a la Bobby Ewing, but it does mean that the truth will out. What we also know of Craven suggests that the end of the trilogy is not by any means the end of the series.
He’ll find some trickery to film Scream 4 if he fancies, with more Munschesque figures with voice decoders chasing terrified damsels around dark houses (but only after they’ve split from their co-hunted, for people are never murdered in pairs in Scream films).
For all that, Scream 4 will probably be just as frivolous and absurd, with more twists than an Agatha Christie novel. With this series, it is hard to remember why anything happened, or even to care, and with each passing film it becomes easier to disregard all the characters, the ‘plot’ and the C-rate actors. Who ultimately would care which of them got chased with a knife – or indeed who was doing the chasing? This is pure entertainment, and it works. Buy some popcorn and switch your mind off. ‘Nuff said.