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Scream / Scream 2 / Scream 3


The younger are they are, the worse off

Rod Lott April 13th, 2011

To make you feel old, Wes Craven’s “Scream” will turn 15 this year.

scream

To make you feel old, Wes Craven’s “Scream” will turn 15 this year. With the latest chapter, “Scream 4,” hitting theaters Friday, the original trilogy has made its Blu-ray debut, so you can see — with greater clarity than ever — how well it holds up.

The short answer: In contrast to human aging, the younger are they are, the worse off. Each film was such a big hit that rather than rehash plots you already know by heart — or “plot,” singular, as the sequels recycle it in another setting — we figure we’d see what works and what doesn’t after a weekend of revisiting the killer franchise.


Scream” (1997)

YAY:
• The prologue with Drew Barrymore still works like a charm. It may be the best sequence of the entire series.
• Neve Campbell projects girl-next-door innocence well.
• And that scene in which Ghostface emerges from the closet behind her is still freaky.
• Rose McGowan is sassy and sexy (even if some of her dialogue is super-silly). Rose, we hardly knew ye.
• Kevin Williamson’s script is clever for nearly the entirety of the running time.

NAY:
• Some of the overdubs are horrible, like recorded-in-next-room horrible.
• Why was Jamie Kennedy such a fan favorite? His VHS-geek shtick has gone from a highlight to an embarrassment.
• Matthew Lillard overacts so much, he needs restraints. I hadn’t realized, until Blu-ray allowed it, how much actual spittle flies from his mouth and dribbles down his chin in his final scenes.
• The end confrontation is entirely too long.
• The oversized cellphones.



Scream 2” (1998)

YAY:
• The prologue’s movie-within-a-movie bit (“Stab”) remains awfully amusing, especially Tori Spelling and Luke Wilson’s bits.
• Elise Neal injects needed (and nonstereotypical) color into the main cast.
• The now novelty of seeing a pre-out Portia de Rossi and pre-wrongful-death-lawsuit Rebecca Gayheart play a sorority girls.
• Sarah Michelle Gellar’s extended scene as the sober sorority sister.

NAY:
• The prologue’s overexcited moviegoers. Crowds at free movies aren’t cordial or polite, but they don’t act like Middle East regime protesters or soccer match rioters, either.
• Um, Elise, that was quick.
• Jerry O’Connell’s cafeteria tabletop crooning, and the clapping along of his fellow collegians. As if.
• Timothy Olyphant is an excellent actor ... on “Justified.”
• The end confrontation is entirely too long.
• The oversized cellphones.



"Scream 3" (2000)

YAY:
• Jenny McCarthy’s cleavage.
• Roger Corman as a studio executive.
• Parker Posey.
• That’s about it.

NAY:
• Jenny McCarthy’s line readings.
• The cameos of Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob characters — perhaps the nadir of Miramax cross-promotional efforts.
• Try as he might, screenwriter Ehren Kruger is no Kevin Williamson.
• Skipping “Stab 2.”
• How Ghostface’s voice changer can expertly mimic all the characters’ voices.
• Courteney Cox’s hair, seemingly borrowed from the wig collection of Morticia Addams.
• Heather Matarazzo’s inexplicably shoehorned-in role.
• Jamie Kennedy’s ridiculously hard-to-swallow “return” via videotaped message.
• The end confrontation is entirely too long ... as is the whole movie.
• The oversized cellphones.


 
If you don’t already own the “Scream” films, the Blu-rays are a good buy, but port over the extras from the long-in-print DVDs, not to mention Dimension’s terribly ugly front- and back-cover art. —Rod Lott

 
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