BurtonMacReady’s review published on Letterboxd:
Generally the most maligned of the films in the Scream franchise, it was actually the one I’d never seen. I saw SCREAM and SCREAM 2 countless times before I was even ten because of how much my older brother and older sister watched them plus the fact they used to play on MTV seemingly weekly around then. I saw SCREAM 4 on a date in high school when it first came out but had forgotten to check out the third one beforehand. I somewhat recently rewatched the first two and I figured with the new one out now, I should finally watch this one for prep.
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad film; it’s just not that good. The basic plot and mystery is pretty average slasher but it has virtually non of the ingenuity of the first two. Nothing it says about film trilogies and being the third entry really makes sense and everything sociological it tries to say was already said better in the first two. The use of a voice changer that can reproduce seemingly any voice in the history of man felt like a cheat.
However, this film is also fairly weird and the parade of strange moments help carry it. Right off the bat Liev Schreiber refers to himself as “100%” Cotton Weary. Then Courteney Cox has one of the most ill-fitting haircuts ever seen. Jay and Silent Bob show up. Roger Corman shows up. Parker Posey is in this movie (and delivers the best performance). Patrick Dempsey is in this movie. Jenny McCarthy is in this movie. Emily Mortimer is unrecognizable in this movie. There’s a mashup of the Scream theme and Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” over the end credits followed by a Creed song. You get the idea.
So between the amusement from all that plus a couple really good sequences by Wes Craven, namely an opening tour of the studio lot and fake Woodsboro set early on (also set to “Red Right Hand”), there’s enough to keep you interested. This is not on the level of the first film or the second film but there’s been worse sequels in history. Will be interesting to revisit the fourth one, which I haven’t seen since that first viewing, and comparing.