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Film / Scream 3

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Scream 3 (2000) is the third film in the Scream franchise.

After being targeted by Ghostface twice, Sidney has gone into complete isolation. The Stab film series is gearing up to film its final chapter in a trilogy, until another Ghostface surfaces who proceeds to kill off the cast. Gale Weathers investigates, discovering that the events are somehow linked to Sidney's late mother Maureen Prescott. Sidney returns to confront Ghostface and face her past.


This film provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: In-universe. Cotton Weary was supposed to only cameo as the first victim in Stab 3 but can still be seen on posters for the film as if he would be a major character.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: John Milton to his son, Roman.
    Milton: You don’t have to do this, Roman. Just tell me what you want. I can make it happen. Any picture. Name your budget. Script approval. Final cut!
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Subverted. Roman holds hands with Sidney after she stabs him in the chest in an apparent attempt to connect with her for once, but then rises back up and lunges at her with his knife.
  • Alliterative Name: Jennifer Jolie (and her real name Judy Jurgenstern) and Steven Stone.
  • Arc Welding: The killer, Roman, reveals that he was the one who originally convinced Billy and Stu to start killing, making him directly responsible for the events of the first movie and indirectly responsible for the second.
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  • Asshole Victim: John Milton.
  • Award-Bait Song: Does Is This the End by Creed count?
  • Big Bad: Roman was the one that convinced Billy and Stu to become killers in the first film, and was indirectly responsible for Mrs. Loomis wanting to avenge Billy's death, plus Mickey, Jill and Charles fame-seeking motivation for being the next Ghostfaces. Furthermore, Roman was the lone Ghostface killer in the third film, so one could arguably consider him as the Biggest Bad for the series, at least for the original trilogy.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Subverted when Ghostface throws his knife at Dewey, and it hits him on the handle side. It still hurts enough for him to fall down the stairs.
  • Bookcase Passage: Provides the entrance to Milton's secret home theater.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Sidney arrives on the Stab 3 set, she notices that all the house models resemble her old house and Stu's house. She then spends some time studying the replicas. For Stu's house, she takes great notice in the garage door, and for her own house, she sits in the replica of her bedroom, remembering her conversation with Billy.
    • Moments later, Ghostface attacks her, and at one point, the chase sequence resembles Sidney's first chase sequence back in the original film.
    • Roman fakes his death just like Billy did.
  • The Cameo:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • After Ghostface discovers Sidney's home location and harasses Sidney on the phone, Sidney proceeds to arm herself with a revolver that she keeps inside her desk. Because this occurs so early in the film, it is easy to forget that when she borrows a gun from the police station, she actually has two guns, not one, at that point. Thus, when Ghostface forces her to throw away the pistol discovered by the metal detector, she is able to keep her revolver and use it against him.
    • The Bulletproof Vest that Sidney uses in the finale is first seen in the police station when Ghostface once again calls her.
    • This little dialogue says it all.
      Kincaid: (hands Dewey his pistol) Take this. Get the son-of-a-bitch! Dewey does get him.
  • Child by Rape: Roman to Maureen. Heartbreakingly, it's why she wanted nothing to do with him when he showed up, and his anger over this essentially set the events of the film series in motion.
  • Continuity Drift: Several of the things, such as the killer managing to pop up shortly after Roman's presumed death, only really make sense if there are two killers. This is because there was — in the original draft, Angelina was Roman's accomplice.
  • Dawson Casting: Happens in-universe. Sarah is 35 years old, but her character in Stab 3, Candy, is only 22. Subverted in reality as Jenny McCarty, who plays the role of Sarah was born in 1972, meaning in 2000, she would have been either 27 or 28. Scott Foley is the same age as Jenny McCarty, yet his character Roman is celebrating his 30th birthday.
  • Death by Sex:
    • Lampshaded by Randy, who taped a video prior to his death just in case, and blames what became his eventual death in the last film on the fact that he had sex with a girl in the video store.
    • One of the most egregious instances ever: Angelina gets killed seconds after revealing that she slept with the producer to get the role. Damn, do the rules strike fast! Doubles as a Death by Irony, since Angelina played Final Girl Sidney in Stab 3, and yet she herself failed to follow the rules that Final Girls are to obey (but then again, so did Sidney herself in the first film).
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. Jennifer punches Dewey for being concerned about Gale instead of her after the bombing of Jennifer's house. Gale punches her in retaliation.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Cotton.
  • Dumb Blonde: Sarah, who mistakenly believes that Psycho's famous shower scene was in Vertigo instead.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: With the death of Roman, who orchestrated the events of the first movie and by extension, the second, Sidney is now able to live happily and without fear, and to finally properly heal. At least until ten years later.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Subverted (possibly even inverted). Roman's motivation for killing everyone was because his mother disowned him and ran off to start a new family.
  • Flipping the Bird: Gale does one of these when Jay and Silent Bob bump into her and Jay, mistaking her for Connie Chung, asks her about Maury Povich.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The sudden appearance of Randy's previously unmentioned sister foreshadows the sudden appearance of Sidney's previously unmentioned half-brother as the killer.
    • Likewise, in Randy's videotape, Randy talks about trilogies and how "true trilogies" are about going back to the beginning and discovering something that wasn't true from the get-go. When he notes examples of "true trilogies", he uses Return of the Jedi, the film where Luke discovers that he has a secret sibling. This point is driven even further with the cameo of Carrie Fisher, who appears as an actress who nearly got the Princess Leia role.
    • Milton admits to Gale that Maureen Prescott may have been raped at one of his parties. He was right since the killer is one of Maureen's own children, a Child by Rape.
    • About halfway through the film, Jennifer is worried that she'll die next because Gale Weathers - whom she's playing - dies following Sarah Darling's character Candy in the script. However, she reveals before her murder to Ghostface that Gale was the killer of Stab 3, implying she faked her death. This Ghostface, Roman, faked his death in order to throw the group off his scent.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Roman does the "framing yourself" variant, just like Billy before him: leaving behind evidence so the police will focus on him after Sarah dies but then look elsewhere.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: The Ghostface Killer gives his past rejection by the world as the reason for his murderous rampage during his Motive Rant to Sidney. However, Sidney has heard this story too many times from previous killers to care, and calls Ghostface out by pointing out that it's just an excuse for their own sadism.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Half of Steven Stone's fate; the other half is being stabbed multiple times.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Sidney's half brother Roman Bridger, the killer of this film, is ultimately shown to be a self entitled Psychotic Manchild who directly or indirectly orchestrated the killing sprees of the first three movies. His reasoning to do so is because Maureen rejected him for being a Child by Rape, and a reminder of her trauma. After Sidney survives two killing sprees, at the expense of nearly having her life ruined by them, Roman goes on a final one in a bid, because he thinks he is owed Sidney's fame and life.
    • At face value, John Milton appears to be a representation of Horrible Hollywood. Then it's revealed that he participated in Maureen Roberts' gang-rape, traumatizing her into promiscuous behavior. The gang-rape also resulted in Roman Bridger, making Milton indirectly responsible for all the events in the series. This marks him as one of the few Asshole Victims in the films.
  • Horrible Hollywood: The third movie in the trilogy reveals that the entire series was the result of Sidney's mother Maureen Prescott's failed attempt to become a Hollywood actress, only to be forced into a Casting Couch gang rape by unscrupulous Hollywood producers.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: It's Roman's birthday.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Milton claims to not recognize the name "Rena Reynolds," saying that he's had hundreds of actresses work for her. Gale points out that no one ever said she was an actress.
  • The Ingenue: Angelina. It's all just an act, though. Underneath this persona, she's actually a foul-tempered bitch who slept with the producer to get the role of Sidney in Stab 3.
  • Ironic Last Words: Milton's last words are bargaining with Roman for his life by offering the final cut. Something Roman says he already has, making his offer useless.
  • Jerkass: Steven Stone.
  • Kill It with Fire: Tom Prinze is killed when he uses his lighter to try and read the script, only for the house to blow up thanks to Ghostface tampering with the gas.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Liev Schreiber (as Cotton Weary) has a cameo at the beginning. He is talking on the phone with his agent, complaining that the only gig he could get is a cameo at the beginning of Stab 3.
    • Also, the Stab 3 cast can't predict their characters' fate: the script is being kept under wraps to avoid it being leaked on the Internet. This happened during the production of Scream 2, and may have lead Craven & co. to change that movie's outcome: in a leaked version, Derek and Hallie were the killers.
  • Lighter and Softer: De-emphasized explicit violence in favor of humor, due to being made post-Columbine.
  • Lost in a Crowd: The killer conceals their location by hiding in a rack of Ghostface costumes. Which Sarah Darling found out the hard way.
  • Made of Iron: Randy's "trilogy rules" state that, at the ends of trilogies, the killers become supernaturally strong and tough, and can only be killed through decapitation, cryogenic freezing or other extreme means. As it turns out, he's partly right. The killer is able to survive multiple gun shots, because he's wearing a bullet-proof vest.
  • Matricide: The Ghostface who turns out to have been The Man Behind the Man for the one from the first movie reveals that he arranged for his biological mother to be murdered by his accomplice because he was revolted that he had been born of rape and deemed her a whore.
  • Murder Simulators: One of the producers of Stab 3 notes how violence in cinema has become a touchy subject recently; the unstated-yet-obvious cause of this is the fact that, a year before, the Columbine massacre took place. They also speculate that Cotton's murder may have been by a deranged fan.
    Milton: Detectives, there's no reason to presume that Cotton's death had anything to do with this movie, is there?
    Detective Wallace: He was making a movie called Stab. He was stabbed.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Played straight in this film in which the killer is not the obvious Angelina, Milton, or Kincaid but instead is the mild-mannered Roman, who was last seen dead in a trunk. Funnily enough, Angelina was one of the killers in an early script.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: In the beginning, Sidney is revealed to be living as a recluse, convinced it is the only way to stay safe from psychotic killers from coming after her, and killing those around her. She lives in the middle of nowhere, locks and sets an alarm on her gate before locking and setting the alarm for her house. In the end, she leaves her gate open behind her, and doesn't set the alarm for her house. When the wind blows the door open, she looks at it and walks away.
  • The Other Darrin: In-universe, Stab 3 sees the replacement of Tori Spelling as Sidney with Angelina Tyler and David Schwimmer as Dewey with Tom Prinze.
  • Plot Twist: Roman faked his death. In addition, Roman reveals that he is related to Sidney and that he motivated Billy and Stu to kill Sidney's mother.
  • Promiscuity After Rape: Roman blames his father for Maureen's trampy behavior, believing it's the result of her having been gang-raped at one of his parties.
  • Rasputinian Death: Tyson, who is stabbed, forced into a foot chase, lands on his neck when Ghostface pulls up the carpet, slammed into a glass cabinet, and finally thrown off a balcony.
  • Reality Ensues: Throwing a knife at someone is harder than it looks. There's always the possibility that the blade won't land correctly.
  • Red Herring:
    • After Ghostface detonates Jennifer's house, Angelina notably disappears and only reappears after Ghostface disappears, something the other survivors acknowledge. Later, Sidney finds her holding the Ghostface costume in a bathrooom stall. In addition, she once again disappears before Ghostface attacks Sidney on the set. However, in an earlier script, Angelina indeed was one of the killers.
    • Milton also becomes a red herring due to his past affiliation with Maureen Prescott.
    • Detective Kincaid is implied a number of times to be the killer. After Ghostface manages to find Sidney's location and harass Sidney on the phone, it is implied that Ghostface found Sidney's phone number through Dewey's phone, which Kincaid borrowed on one occasion. Later, Sidney also discovers that Kincaid kept a suspiciously in-depth file of her. To make matters worse, Kincaid leaves the police station right before Ghostface attacks the other characters in the mansion and makes a dubious reappearance after Ghostface disappears from Sidney's sight.
    • Kincaid's partner, Detective Wallace, is also this. Since the previous films had a Big Bad Duumvirate, it is natural to assume that if Kincaid is Ghostface then Wallace is very likely the second Ghostface. Sidney even asks Kincaid where his partner was when Kincaid meets Sidney at Milton's house just after Ghostface disappears.
    • Downplayed in the case of Jennifer. The film hints that Ghostface got Sidney's number through Dewey's phone, and Jennifer was one of the few characters who borrowed Dewey's phone before Ghostface called Sidney's number.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • Randy has a previously unmentioned sister named Martha, who arrives on the Stab 3 set to give Sidney and co. Randy's tape for surviving horror trilogies.
    • Speaking of previously unmentioned siblings, the killer is Roman Bridger, who is Sidney's half-brother. However, in this case, it is justified as the one person that did know his true identity, Maureen Prescott, wanted to start a new life and to forget the past, which included Roman.
  • Retcon:
    • Roman is responsible for inspiring Billy and Stu to start killing other people. On a similar note, he is Sidney's half-brother, meaning Maureen Prescott already had a child before Sidney was born.
    • One of the original scripts for Scream 3 would have revealed that Stu was still alive after the events of the original Scream.
  • Rich Sibling, Poor Sibling: Roman sees this as having occurred between him and his half sister Sidney, which is why he stalked her, encouraged Billy and Stu's killing spree, and went on one of his own because he was a Child by Rape who was given up to the foster system and rejected by Maureen, his and Sidney's mother. It's a case of an Informed Attribute and Informed Poverty as Roman is a successful film director in the present.
  • Secret Keeper: Sidney is living as a recluse, convinced it's the only way to stay safe. The only people who know where she is are her father and Dewey.
  • Series Fauxnale: This film was meant to be the concluding chapter of a trilogy. Instead, a fourth film was released eleven years later.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The killer Roman explains that he is Sidney's half-brother, and fires off as to why he committed the murders. Sidney then cuts him off, saying she's tired of all the bullshit that the killers she has encountered have told her, and says that all of the reasons she has heard are just pathetic excuses that the killers use to hide the fact that they kill people simply because they enjoy doing it. This leads to a rather large Villainous Breakdown.
  • Stage Names: It's revealed that Sidney's mother Maureen was a failed actress who went by Rina Reynolds. In the same scene, it's also revealed that Jennifer's real name is Judy Jurgenstern.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Tom Prinze is killed when he turns on his lighter to read a page of the script. Ghostface turned up the gas and Tom winds up blowing himself (and the house he's in) up.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Cotton.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Sarah: Guys, we are not in any danger.
    Tyson: "We are not in any danger," says Candy, page 15.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Played with. Disguised as Dewey, the killer has a phone conversation with Jennifer Jolie's bodyguard while he's looking through Dewey's trailer. When he insults "Dewey's" inability to save his sister's life over the phone, the killer responds with "That makes me... angry!" (with a definitive emphasis of rage on that last word), while bursting in and stabbing him in the back.
  • Theme Naming: A number of characters (Angelina Tyler, Jennifer Jolie, Tom Prinze) are named after real-life actors. Fitting, since the characters are actors themselves, and in Jennifer's case it's actually a stage name.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When Dewey catches the the killer by surprise, he retaliates by throwing his knife at Dewey... though it's hilariously averted as the handle side hits him square in the forehead.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Randy mentions that the rules of the trilogy mean that someone big is going to die before it's over. He's wrong though, Sidney, Gale, and Dewey all live.
  • Uncertain Doom: Jennifer is stabbed twice and thrown through a glass pane in front of Gale and Dewey, but the stab wounds don't look fatal and listening closely, she seems to be screaming after smashing through the glass but before hitting the floor, making it possible that she was just unconscious.
  • Video Will: Randy's tape, also counts as The Tape Knew You Would Say That (somehow).
  • Wham Line: From Ghostface, while unleashing its Motive Rant in Scream 3
    Ghostface/Roman: I searched for my mother, an actress named Rina Reynolds... searched for her my whole life. I finally tracked her down, knocked on her door, thinking she would welcome me with open arms... but she had a new life, a new name: Maureen Prescott! You were the only child she claimed. Sid, she shut me out in the cold forever! Her own son. (takes off the mask, revealing who they are) Roman Bridger, director... (uses the voice changer) and brother.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The film never explains how Roman figured out Sidney's phone number.
    • Roman faking his own death in a convincing manner is also never explained in the movie although Word of God states that Roman used a secret technique to stop his blood pulse.
    • Sidney discovers that Kincaid keeps a suspiciously in-depth file of her, but it is never brought up again even when Kincaid visits her home at the end of the movie. With Kincaid's innocence in mind, one can assume that it is merely part of Kincaid's police work.
  • Where It All Began: The in-universe film "Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro" invokes it in its title.
  • Wild Mass Guessing: The cast of Stab 3, since they don't have the full scripts for the movie (to keep the ending from being leaked), indulges in this while on-set. Angelina (the actress who plays Movie!Sidney) speculates that her character might even be the killer this time.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: This movie's Ghostface has a voice changer that can mimic anyone's voice, which would be fine if not for the fact that all the other voice changers in the series can only do one specific voice and the fact that the Scream series is not Science Fiction.


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