Sky Movies Crime & Thriller: Friday 25 September, 2.50am
The production of horror sequel Stab 3 is shut down when cast members begin falling victim to a Scream-mask murderer. Helping police enquiries on set is technical adviser David Arquette, the Woodsboro deputy who survived the original mayhem, and TV news reporter Courteney Cox can’t resist sticking her nose back into the bloody (but best-selling) business of death imitating pop-culture.
Wes Craven’s witty conclusion to the Scream trilogy is an accomplished comic chiller that doesn’t stint on smiles or shocks, delivering a steady stream of funny lines amid throat-clutching shocks. The Hollywood studio setting provides a perfect backdrop for the script’s knowing gags and the beautifully designed interiors lend a weirdly disorientating atmosphere to proceedings.
One of the victims attempts to fend off the killer in a darkened props room with rubber weapons while callow Stab director Scott Foley seems more distraught at turning 30 than by his cast being killed: “Variety called me a pariah,” he moans, “and I don’t even know what a pariah is.” Parker Posey is very funny, too, as Courtney Cox’s on-screen incarnation and Patrick Dempsey is intense and creepy as an LA homicide cop, showbiz division.
It’s good to hear Deputy Dewey’s Twin Peaksy theme tune again because it’s David Arquette’s puppy-doggedness that gives the Scream movies their fast-beating heart. Who is the killer? You’re kidding – this is the final part of a trilogy, all bets are off. By the way, besides being supremely stylish and scary, Scream 3 is much smarter and funnier than any of the Scary Movies. Which is the least surprising thing about it, believe me.