Scream 3 (2000)

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Released 3-Oct-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
Audio Commentary-W Craven (Dir), M Maddalena (Prod), P Lussier (Ed)
Alternate Ending-+/- commentary
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer-2
Music Video-What If-Creed
Featurette-Behind The Scenes Montage
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 111:48
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:32) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Wes Craven
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring David Arquette
Neve Campbell
Courtney Cox
Patrick Dempsey
Scott Foley
Lance Henriksen
Matt Keeslar
Jenny McCarthy
Emily Mortimer
Parker Posey
Deon Richmond
Patrick Warburton
Case Village Roadshow New Style
RPI $34.95 Music Marco Beltrami


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, the usual Scream picture credits for the cast.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

The original Scream has gained a cult following since being released on home video, proving that its success at the box-office was no fluke. In creating a homage to slasher films, writer Kevin Williamson combined a natural talent for characterization and plotting with the intent of reviving the genre conventions he grew to love after seeing Halloween at an early age. His screenplay, then titled Scary Movie, was the focus of a bidding war between the major studios. Miramax eventually won the property by promising Wes Craven as the director. Blessed with a generous budget and a superb young cast, the "smooth" production was a guaranteed hit with audiences, which in turn triggered the inevitable sequels.

Once again scripted by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, Scream 2 was a respectable follow up to Scream. Having covered all of the genre references in the first movie, Williamson was left to devise a second story with half the original characters and a bucket full of recycled motifs. Darker and less spontaneous that its predecessor, Scream 2 just managed to milk the formula enough to sustain a feature-length movie, although it could not avoid the congenital defects inherited by all sequels conceived with exploitation in mind instead of passion and inspiration.

While Scream 3 contains specks of passion and dabs of inspiration, thanks largely to Neve Campbell and a fresh writer, its successes are not enough to overturn the law of diminishing returns. The jump scares and whodunit games are drawn out to ridiculous lengths, which are admittedly staples of the first two films. When the care factor for the characters is minimal, however, such gimmicks wear thin mighty fast.

Neve Campbell's portrayal of Sidney Prescott, a genuinely sympathetic character and perhaps the strongest female persona in horror from the last decade, is the sole reason why the Scream sequels deserve any artistic merit at all. Work commitments limited Campbell's involvement to 20 days, and it shows. After her opening scenes as a care worker for California Women's Crisis Counselling, Scream 3 takes a tedious detour to establish the plot and introduce new faces. We endure this chaff for an hour before Sidney involves herself in the new killing spree, which has links to her mother's B-movie acting career.

Set in Hollywood, the main story concerns the production of Stab 3, and for a while it's not clear which sequel is more ill-advised, Stab 3 or Scream 3. Writer Ehren Kruger does deserve credit for some surreal shifts in perception as the actors and plots of both movies grind against each other, as in the case of Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox Arquette) and her counterpart Jennifer Jolie, played by a juiced-up Parker Posey. As the cast of Stab 3 are killed in the order their 'real-life' characters died in, Sidney, Gale, and deputy Dewey Riley (David Arquette) try to figure out who is on the rampage this time.

While these remarks all constitute a valid enough appraisal, the average teenager couldn't give a toss about artistic merit or plot structure. Shocks, goofy humour, and a fast narrative are the only requirements. Scream 3 and the slasher movies it lampoons were always designed for the teen market, and on those grounds it performs admirably. A scare or murder occurs every 10 minutes, there are several suspicious, quirky characters, and the ending delivers the requisite violent showdown. However, without the wit and subversion that made Scream a modern classic, this sequel once again falls short of generating any real fear or surprises. For that kind of substance, watch the film that started it all: Halloween.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

No matter what shortcomings the movie may have, Roadshow Entertainment have done a another great job porting the Region 1 Buena Vista DVD to Region 4.

Like the prequels, Scream 3 was shot with anamorphic lenses on 35mm and framed at 2.35:1. Indeed, Wes Craven has become adept at composing for this wider ratio, which he had only used on one other movie before Scream. This terrific 16x9 enhanced transfer continues the level of quality we have come to expect from Roadshow, and ably shows off the lush cinematography.

Sharpness is very good throughout. The Dimension Films logo at the start is the clearest that I have ever seen it. Shots of Sidney's rural escape on a sunny day show off a myriad of wood textures and foliage details in high contrasts, as do the scenes of the Stab 3 studio lot. A glimpse of LA at 29:21 captures many pin-point details in the middle and far distance. Hair strands and facial nuances on close-ups were also rendered superbly.

Shadow detail was fine, or rather, it looked natural. On my Loewe TV the picture had a thick inky quality, which I assume is due to Peter Deming's cinematography. The effect was similar to the way David Fincher's films appear on DVD, which also feature solid, impenetrable blacks.

Colours were perhaps a touch oversaturated. Red tail lights on cars showed some colour bleed, for example at 50:31 on the Ford four-wheel drive. My TV does have a mild problem with smearing reds, so this may not be a transfer fault. Nevertheless, the image became more natural when I dropped the colour levels a few notches. Pumping the colours up to give a sickly sweet, larger than life aesthetic is one possible thematic reason for the oversaturation. If that sounds important to you, then leave the colour level as is, although flesh tones were less sugary with the colours muted; that is the only reason I decided to tweak them.

The source materials must have been pristine, because I noticed no film artefacts at all, and film grain was virtually non-existent. There were no compression artefacts either.

The well-placed layer change at 75:32 occurs during a brief, silent moment in the dialogue. It's good to see that Roadshow did not use an artificial fade-to-black here. In this scene it would have destroyed the tension.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Accompanying the great video transfer is an equally vibrant Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack compressed at the higher 448 Kilobits per second rate. A two-channel Dolby Digital track is also provided.

The dialogue is slightly lower in the mix compared to other recent movies. This was not really a problem, since the flow of the action kept the sound effects and actors' speech from clashing. The trouble spots seemed to be isolated to the start of the movie; my notes made no mention of the problem after things got rolling. There were no distortion or synchronization problems, and ADR was obvious at times when characters spoke as they moved away from the camera.

Marco Beltrami wrote the music scores for all three Scream films. Not surprisingly, his contribution to this sequel continues themes, melodies, riffs, and shock cues employed before to create an instantly familiar musical backdrop. Sound fidelity is excellent, with a wide front stage and impeccable separation. Nick Cave's rendition of Red Right Hand 2, featuring new lyrics written for the film, sounds better than ever. The generic rock songs thrown in to populate the subsequent CD soundtrack are also mixed brightly.

The surrounds are used, sometimes arbitrarily, to distribute various musical stings around the viewer. This is cool if you like constant activity, but distracting if there seems to be no point beyond clumsily enhancing the atmosphere. Primarily, the surrounds are reserved for directional sound effects, which are flung around all parts of the room with a maniacal fervour. One of the best examples occurs when Sidney stumbles through her reconstructed bedroom on the set of Stab 3. Snippets of dialogue from the first film pan 360 degrees around the soundstage: a haunting and poignant moment that pushes your speakers' imaging capabilities to the limit. Screams and sudden noises ambush the viewer from all directions.

For some bizarre reason, low frequency content was limited. This may be more apparent if your front speakers do not handle frequencies lower than 50Hz too well. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track was warmer because the bass was not trapped in one discrete channel, although it was less directional than its 5.1 cousin.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu (16x9 Enhanced)

The introductory animation makes excellent use of Dolby Digital 5.1 sound as it shoots the main menu options from the left and right 3D space. Immersive 5.1 audio also accompanies the lower level menus. Roadshow have done well to create a simple yet dynamic menu system. I especially like the way the menu cursor positions itself on the next option after viewing the previous one. Full marks.

Dolby Digital Canyon Trailer

The trailer is actually framed at 2.35:1 on this disc to match the feature ratio. I always imagine that the bird flying 'behind' the viewer gets crushed by those falling rocks, but then you hear him whistling triumphantly at the end. Someone pass me a slingshot...

Audio Commentary (Wes Craven-Director, Marianne Maddalena-Co-Producer, Patrick Lussier-Editor)

This commentary is as good as the Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson commentary on Scream, if not better. All three participants provide non-stop details covering every aspect of the rushed production. Some examples: the opening scene with Cotton Weary was reshot on soundstages; the script was started only a few weeks before production began, and the writing continued on set; the promotional photos of Sidney's mother in her younger acting days were real; Wes Craven cleverly times his cameo for the same shot that Jay and Silent Bob (Clerks) appear as studio tourists. The commentary team also point out continuity errors, critique performances, and mention last minute plot changes. You could not ask more of a commentary track. Absolutely priceless.

US Trailer (1:17) and International Trailer (1:34)

Both trailers are presented 16x9 enhanced and framed at 1.78:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The picture quality is quite good, though darker than the feature, and the audio is crisp.

Alternate Ending (9:43)

Not so much an alternate ending as a longer version of the current ending: footage was removed to tighten the climax. The image is 16x9 enhanced and framed at 2.35:1. The source appears to be an Avid digital video file. Audio options include Dolby Digital 2.0 rough cut production sound and a relaxed audio commentary by Craven, Maddalena, and the fast talking Lussier.

Deleted Scenes from Scream 2 (4:12) and Scream 3 (13:37)

The two scenes from Scream 2 include an argument in the lecture theatre about whether movie sequels are any good, and a trivial dialogue scene. Two versions of the opening scene from Scream 3 with Cotton Weary are shown: a longer cut later shortened, and the original sequence shot on location, featuring a rather excruciating knife-through-the-lower-leg gore effect. Lovely! Of the two remaining scenes, one was cut for pacing and the other because the characters did not show enough remorse the day after a murder.

The low resolution Avid image is 16x9 enhanced and framed at 2.35:1. Audio options include rough cut Dolby Digital 2.0 production sound and a lively audio commentary by Craven, Maddalena, and Lussier.

Music Video-What If-Creed (4:54)

Sourced from video tape and presented 16x9 enhanced (framed at 1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this clip by metal/grunge outfit Creed pumps out a heavy number with crunchy guitars and wailing, self-important vocals. David Arquette and the voice of Ghost Face make dutiful appearances. The colourful picture suffers from cross colouration artefacts and poor resolution. The audio was hard and gutsy.

Outtakes from Scream (4:17) and Scream 2 (8:57)

Fans of the Scream trilogy will love these bloopers I watched them several times. The "low resolution file system" video image is 16x9 enhanced and framed at 2.35:1. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 rough cut production sound.

Behind the Scenes Montage (6:18)

Again, fans of Scream get a tantalizing glimpse behind the scenes of all three movies, averaging two minutes each. Next year's Region 1, uncut, 16x9 enhanced Scream special edition should be fabulous. The "low resolution editing system" video image is 16x9 enhanced and framed at 2.35:1. The audio is rough cut Dolby Digital 2.0 production sound.

Cast & Crew Biographies (4)

Extensive biographies for Courtney Cox, Arquette, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Wes Craven (who has a Masters degree in writing and philosophy) are presented, along with exhaustive filmographies. This is one of the most genuinely informative set of cast notes I have seen for a while. I would have never guessed that Brian DePalma directed Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark video. Of course, that's the music clip in which Courtney Cox famously mounts Bruce's big stage.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

Both DVDs contain the same extras and similar video/audio specifications. The US disc also has a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track, no doubt for the Canadian market, and eight more chapter stops. One reader also reports that the R1 disc has outtakes from Scream 3, whereas ours does not. Anyway, since we are dealing with Wes Craven and not Stanley Kubrick, there is real no reason to get the Region 1 NTSC disc to retain the 24 frames per second timing. Go for the Region 4 disc, with its 100 lines of extra resolution.

Summary

As mentioned in the commentary, Scream 3 was rushed into production without a finished script or a complete cast. I also read that Wes Craven had to agree to direct Scream 3 before Miramax handed him his pet non-genre project, Music Of The Heart. Under these circumstances the spit and polish that made the first Scream watertight were absent. Nevertheless, with Craven and the surviving cast members involved, Scream 3 is not as disastrous as it could have been. On a personal note, I sorely missed the elaborate gore set pieces from the first two entries. This one just has people being stabbed, slashed, or shot in ways we have seen before. When you don't have the talent or means to create genuine fear or terror, you must give the audience carnage. Just my two cent's worth.

Roadshow's superb DVD boasts almost all of the goodies found on its Region 1 counterpart, together with a fine PAL video transfer and a soundtrack that brings the entire room to life.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rod Williams (Suss out my biography if you dare)
Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV-7000 (European model), using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Ergo (81cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.
AmplificationArcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier
SpeakersFront: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)

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Comments (Add)
REGION 1 AND 4 DO HAVE A DIFFERENCE - REPLY POSTED
Grrrrr! -
re GRRRR! - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)