With the departure of original screenwriter Kevin Williamson, Scream 3 lost everything that was special about the series: its groundbreaking meta-narrative, its loving deconstruction of genre, its all-around genial nature (between the killings, of course). Returning director Wes Craven and the central cast – Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette – do their best to keep things going, but they’re saddled by an Ehren Kruger script that’s little more than a limp Hollywood satire. This time the action takes place on the set of Stab 3, the fictional horror franchise that was inspired by the murders in the first film. So the self-referential setup is in place – each main character meets the actor who plays them in the movie – but not the ingenuity or wit to take advantage of it. Scream 3 is what the original Scream would have been without Williamson: a spoof that’s actually a bad example of what it’s satirizing.
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