Three years after the second installment, Craven is back, but Williamson is not, nor is Nick Cave. And it shows. The first mistake of the film occurs when Cotton Weary is bumped off during the opening sequence. What a drag! For a series that distinguished itself with evolving characters, it was a wrong move right off the bat. What we're left with is a Neve Campbell far underused, a plethora of unsympathetic, expandable sub-leads and a plot involving Arquette and Cox in a tedious investigation that uses dreary plot twists to tie the series together. Truth is, we don't care to revisit the events of the first film, nor do we need extra exposition about Sidney's mother. Moving backwards is not moving forward, despite what Randy tells us (in a cameo that looks tacked-on at best). Wasting Lance Henriksen, Carrie Fisher, and yes, even Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith in bit roles just to gloss the cast over is not moving forwards. In the end, with a finale far more ridiculous and vain than the second film's, we are left to wonder if the "Scream 3" venture was not as ill-advised and irrelevant as that of "Stab 3", which the film shows as utterly artificial. Craven's direction is on par, but it does little to salvage a scenario that showcases not one bit of the tongue-in-cheek humor, excitement or movie-induced teenage psychosis that made the series great, but only lame settings and plot devices (pinnacle of which is the doppleganging voice box). As if things weren't bad enough, there now seems to be yet another sequel in the making. Williamson is back onboard, meaning we might get something not completely awful. Nonetheless, I just feel that thirteen years after the original "Scream" rejuvenated the slasher sub-genre, there is little else to upgrade upon. Tired as we are of its inescapable conventions, it would literally be a tour-de-force if they could pull it off.