Even before the opening 10-minute segment is over, it’s obvious that “Scream 3” is the type of movie that the first two lampooned. The screenplay by Ehren Krueger, taking over from Kevin Williamson, is a sloppy, try-hard and eyeroll-inducing facsimile of Williamson’s much superior work, and it’s clear that Wes Craven is barely interested in the proceedings: The tone has taken a turn toward sitcom-ready punchlines and an unfortunate, cartoonish vibe that undermines any chance at suspense. Neve Campbell delivers a strong performance but its severity is at odds with the rest of the movie, but Parker Posey seems to having a lot of fun as a neurotic actress, and she steals every scene she’s in. The climax is largely forgettable and rather misogynistic, while the identity of the killer is underwhelming and improbable. There’s a great sequence about halfway through where Campbell is stalked on a set replica of her house from the first movie, and it suggests a stronger movie that unfortunately doesn’t materialize.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)