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Believe it or not, I don’t like writing bad reviews much, but what can I say? Wes Craven’s Scream 3 is disappointing. Putting aside a certain character’s hair in the movie, let’s look at some problems it has, be they large or small.

Yes, Ghostface is back to kill again, which is to be expected. The usual question will emerge: Who is the killer? We’re also supposed to wonder about the motive. As these sequels pile up, those questions get harder to even ask, and suspension of disbelief becomes more of a looming presence. After all, just how many times can Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) be targeted as part of a mass murder campaign, by various assailants, all for related-yet-different reasons? Also, how many times can these plots still involve Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber)?

Unfortunately, Scream 3 doesn’t successfully address all of these concerns. Basically, I had a harder time suspending disbelief and just enjoying the movie. Granted, you can tell they tried to make it work, but it was becoming a tired formula by this point.

The simple reality is, ideas tend to get old after a while. For example, back when Squeaky Fromme attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford, it was probably more shocking in 1975. Nowadays, though, people are so jaded by shootings that they almost shrug them off at this point. At a certain point, it’s almost unfair to expect people to stay in perpetual shock over tragedies. A similar dynamic holds true for this movie.



Like all Scream movies, part 3 has to reveal Ghostface, then “expose him” at some point. Yes, he introduces himself in an interesting way, as we see he can alter his voice to seemingly match any character he wants. That is sort of a cool ability. However, it’s truly one of the few elements to the mystery that kept my attention. Other than that, the characters seem oddly almost disinterested in the events surrounding them. Could it be they’re written to be too far in on the joke?

Self-Awareness Stretching Thin?

Wes Craven’s original Scream helped rejuvenate modern horror, partly by giving us the self-aware horror movie. While it was never my favorite franchise, I can respect damn near anything for being influential. Also innovative: Ghostface almost has this vibe of the “Anti-Hero” of slasher villains. There’s something “underdog-like” about him, and at no point will the average viewer see him as a near-invincible killer like Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers. It makes the movie seem more real, and we may even identify with the killer more (as freaky as that sounds).

Scream also made fun of itself. The other characters are almost self-aware “stock” characters. For example, Dewey Riley seems like a bit of an everyman, and an underachieving cop. while Gale Weathers is the self-serving, roving reporter. All of the other characters are there to supplement what kids now call “tropes,” and we recover from these elements understanding this idea was somewhat innovative at the time. We are also in on the joke. That can work once, maybe twice, but it can easily be stretched thin as a concept. Scream 3 just seems like a movie that didn’t need to happen. It has nothing new to say.

More Reasons it Falls Short

Sid walks into the movie at various points, characters angrily confront somebody, they fight Ghostface, and that about sums up the whole affair. Like in the original Scream, there are sordid details about Sidney’s mother and father, and, again, we’re supposed to believe that this would result in numerous murder rampages. Unlike, say, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, where the killer emerges from a nightmare world into reality, Ghostface somehow keeps emerging from long-buried sexual dalliances, to oddly hold people accountable for them who really were not involved. That becomes a very odd pattern, especially if you really try to piece it together.

However, if you don’t even care about the truth behind the murders, Scream 3 has basically failed to do its job. That would describe my experience with this movie. It was not more disturbing than the original two, nor more fun. In fact, there’s another odd factor here which takes away the suspense: There’s never a sense that Sidney can’t solve the mystery and crimes in time to save her life. There’s little tension.


I Don’t Remember Any of the Kills

Here’s the critique that’ll really hurt overall fans of the Scream franchise. I don’t remember any kills from Scream 3 very well, and I just watched it. That’s unfortunate because let’s face it: That’s one of the few elements that might have helped saved the movie. I’m a bit puzzled as to why there aren’t more creative, messed up kills here.

For example, how about someone gets her eyes ripped out and stuffed in her bra? It’s a terrible, shocking idea, and the suggestion might’ve resulted in protesters at screenings…but would it have been a memorable scene? Yes! I feel messed up for suggesting it, but scenes like those are what put Giallo movies on the map. Some of those movies are genuinely on the shitty side, but we remember them because of their creepy, innovative, outright offensive and outlandish kills.

My Theory On Why Scream 3 Falls Short

I could take heat for suggesting this, but I think Wes Craven wasn’t so much about shocks anymore near the end of his life. In fact, there’s a sense he might’ve been bored with the horror genre, like he may have felt confined to it. I can understand that. Sure, I think it’s fun to see an obnoxious character’s hand in a blender or have them get mauled by a mountain lion, or what have you, but I don’t watch horror exclusively, either. If your heart’s just not in it, it’ll probably be reflected in the movie.

Maybe I shouldn’t say the movie is a failure, but it falls a little short. In terms of its action, an element I like is the “hunter becomes the hunted” dynamic, where Sidney is basically running after Ghostface at times. Still, that’s not a unique “survivor girl” fare. The only other element that’s striking is when characters stumble upon a secret door, which makes it so much more “Scooby-Doo” (though no one in Scooby-Doo was ever dismembered, or even drenched in blood).

Beyond that, most of “Scream 3” is about Sidney Prescott being oddly attached to her mother’s (real or imagined) shortcomings. In the movie, she even works as a crisis worker, talking people out of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. That was sort of a nice angle. However, it also wasn’t enough to sustain my interest in this movie. Why did I write so much about it then? Because Wes Craven was so good that even his lesser movies tend to make me think.


What are your thoughts on Scream 3? Am I being too brutal on it? Scream at me in the comments!

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  1. Nicole Luttrell

    July 15, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    You are not wrong! The only good part was the first ten minutes, because Liev Shriber was in it. After that you can turn the movie off.

    • Wade Wainio

      July 15, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      Like I said, they could’ve at least partly salvaged it with interesting, shocking kills. I even watched a video of all the kills to make sure I wasn’t missing something…turns out I was right to say they weren’t interesting, either.

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Movies n TV

The Beach House, a Film Review

The Beach House (2019) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, and Jake Weber.



The Beach House (2020) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown. This film stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. As of this review, this film is only available on Shudder.

Desperate to rekindle their strained love, Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) escape to a beach getaway. They soon learn to find that family friends of Randall’s father, Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryann Nagel), also had a similar idea. After getting used to each other, a mysterious fog engulfs the town. Unfortunately, they realize too late the danger they find themselves in.

A woman with her mouth agape. Behind her is a dark background. Next to her reads, "The Beach House." Below is a scenic beach with a mountain in the distance.
The Beach House Alternative Cover Art

What I Like

Body horror gets under my skin, and The Beach House certainly lives up to the standard. There’s something magical about creatures terraforming your body to their preferred environment, turning humans into nothing more than conscious prisoners in their own flesh. While I wouldn’t consider this film the most traumatic or unsettling example, it utilizes wonderfully grotesque scenes.

Aside from the body horror, the film drops a few Cosmic Horror–or Lovecraftian–vibes that go together perfectly. Another favored genre of mine, this combination ensures the odds are overwhelmingly against our human leads.

Beyond the grotesque, visuals might not overwhelm but certainly succeed in their goal. Several scenes provide an intentionally tranquil experience that contrasts with the grotesques and improves their effectiveness.


In terms of performance, each actor hits their mark. While some roles require less effort, each contributes to the plot as intended. The standout performance goes to Liana Liberato’s Emily, who acts as co-lead. She simply has the most to work with and lives up to the part.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

As “body horror” should indicate, this film will hit hard for the more squeamish viewer. While horror by nature has some amount of grotesque, body horror brings that grotesque to the next level. While I don’t particularly find The Beach House hitting harder than its competition, it certainly respects its chosen genre.

Woman looks shocked or horrified. Bushes or trees make up the background.
Liana Liberato as Emily

What I Dislike or Considerations

A few scenic montages may hit or miss depending on your interpretation. While I have my own theories, that speculation goes beyond the scope of this review. Many of these scenes overlap more philosophical conversations and musings that may annoy or add layers. This strategy seems a common practice in Cosmic Horror, which forces characters to rationalize the irrational.

It’s hard for me to understand how secretive or known this event is supposed to be in the film’s world. Individuals know something outside of the town, with evidence implying governmental knowledge. This information creates a contrivance–perhaps, even a plot hole–because the characters had to reach this isolated town without any opposition.

One of the visuals didn’t exactly grab me. While I won’t go into too much detail, an effect looked too visually similar to a common animal that barely survives rain. It’s hard to be threatened by that. It also doesn’t exactly match up with some of the other visuals. Even the creatures that look similar to it still look different enough to provide a more alien assumption.

There are moments when the infected chase our main characters by crawling at them. While the context works, with injured characters helping to sell them, I can’t help but find these scenes amusing as opposed to frightening. Yes, it’s certainly visually different from the plethora of zombies out there, but it’s also less frightening than zombies that leisurely walk to their targets.

Final Thoughts

The Beach House combines cosmic and body horror to create an uncomfortable film that tests its characters. For those who enjoy these genres, it will certainly entertain you, but I doubt it will frighten you. I imagine the mood to watch it again might strike me, but I’m not entirely certain it will stand the test of time. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

If this movie suits your fancy and you want more, Honeymoon seems an appropriate recommendation.


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Movies n TV

Every Secret Thing, a Film Review

Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on Laura Lippman’s novel.



Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener. This R-rated film stars Diane Lane, Danielle Macdonald, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks. Based on Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, the film adaptation is accessible through MAX and DirecTV.

When a little girl goes missing, Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) spirals into an all too familiar tale. As pressure mounts, Alice Manning (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie Fuller (Dakota Fanning) become the leading suspects. The strained frenemies unravel under the attention and reminders of their shared past.

Laura Lippman stands out at the top of the cover, over a black background. Every Secret Thing appearing over a pool
Every Secret Thing Book Cover

What I Like

The film unravels in a non-chronological structure but makes it easy for the viewer to follow. It helps that the age difference clearly divides the younger actors, who change actors. One casting choice resembles their older counterpart, and the acting reflects a strong direction for their shared role.

Unreliable narration remains expertly communicated with scenes that change perspectives depending on whose perspective we view them from. This choice adds a reason to view the film twice, providing extra ambiguity for some of these events.

The camera gets up close and personal to an uncomfortable degree, which almost certainly presses the actors’ performances. This choice places the viewer in the character’s perspective and limits us from others’ perspectives to add extra credence to these biases.


Every Secret Thing provides a spiraling mystery that unravels with several twists and turns. Assuming the novel provided the outline, this film executes these points and keeps a consistently engaging experience throughout the runtime.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Child abuse and neglect remain the central plot points of Every Secret Thing. Little of this abuse appears in scenes, but there is no escaping the danger children are in throughout the film.

Self-harm and suicide are shown throughout the film (once in the case of suicide) through one specific character. It isn’t glorified or romanticized nor addressed with particular sensitivity. For those sensitive to these subjects, it might be triggering.

Racism, the assumed motive for the bi-racial victims, plays a small role in the film’s narrative. However, character motives remain more complex, but going further spoils some elements. This film decision does create the reality that bi-racial children are the victims of child neglect and abuse in the film with little additional context. It does invite uncomfortable speculation, but speculation it would be.

Sexual assault is another concern for viewers, specifically statutory rape. This issue seems particularly mismanaged, considering the survivor remains an antagonist. One can be both survivor of assault and an antagonist of a film without needing to discredit the assault. While little appears of this issue, and the manipulation angle can indicate a perspective shift, it’s hard to refute how the film wants to represent this attack.

Daughter resting on her mother's shoulder. Both are in the back of a car.
Diane Lane as Helen and Danielle Macdonald as Alice

What I Dislike

Loosely tied to the above point, one character seems mentally off and purposely so. This point doesn’t inherently create an issue, but there seems to be a choice to make this character a mastermind. Perhaps this is better addressed in the book, but the execution is far from perfect here.

A newspaper montage reveals essential information which feels oddly misplaced. Practically the entire setup for the film appears through this montage, which creates the necessity to read these headlines in the minimal time given.


As a horror, nothing but the events are haunting. Children being abused or kidnapped always haunts, but the terror of this remains secondary to the mystery. While the mystery is nice, this film won’t particularly scare the seasoned horror fan.

Final Thoughts

Every Secret Thing unravels a mystery of opportunism, selfishness, and deception. While the movie won’t haunt the viewer, it certainly unravels a mystery that shocks them. The nuanced and deceptive characters add a layer of engagement that creates a unique experience, but I doubt this movie will linger in my mind.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Quid Pro Woe



We’ve now reached episode six of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And after the last episode, this one did not disappoint.

We start with Wednesday attempting to contact Goody Addams. Last episode, if you’ll recall, Morticia explained the difference between a psychic dove and a raven. Since Goody Addams was the last raven psychic in the family line, it’s got to be her that trains Wednesday. 

But her seance is a failure, and Wednesday is interrupted by a magazine note shoved under the door. It says to meet someone at a crypt for answers. 

When she gets there, it turns out that her friends have put together a surprise birthday party for her. Before she can cut the cake, however, she has a vision.

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

Goody Addams tells her that she must find a specific gate. After some investigation, Wednesday discovers it’s the gate to the old Gates house. 

Wednesday goes to investigate, but she isn’t the only one. She is nearly discovered by Mayor Walker. He is also investigating the Gates family, even though they’re all reported to be dead. He leaves a message for Sheriff Galpin and is almost immediately run over by a car.

This incident is enough to get Wednesday’s town villages revoked. Though this seems like an empty punishment since the whole school is on lockdown. Someone burned Fire Will Rain on their front lawn. 

Wednesday isn’t one for believing the rules apply to her. She has it in her head that she’s meant to save Nevermore Academy, probably from whatever descendent of Crackstone who’s still around. So she has no problem lying to Enid and Tyler and convincing them to help her sneak off campus and explore the Gates house further.

This, of course, is an incredibly informative trip. The kids find a hidden altar to Crackstone, as well as the missing body parts from the monster’s victims. They also find evidence that someone’s been staying in the house. Someone who’s staying in what looks like a little girl’s room.

Before they can find anything more, the monster finds them. They barely escape, and go to the sheriff with what they find. 


Of course, the house has been cleared out by the time Sheriff Galpin arrives. Furious that his son was almost killed, he tells Wednesday to stay away from him.

Because that always works, right?

Galpin isn’t the only one angry. Enid is fed up with the way Wednesday has been treating her. And so she leaves their room to bunk with someone else, leaving Wednesday alone. 

This episode was well done. The discoveries at the house were exciting, and I’m almost sure I know who’s behind the murders at this point. Overall, this was a good ramp-up to the season finale. 

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday.

Finally, this episode did something I was worried just wasn’t going to happen. And for that alone, it deserves praise.

Wednesday has been incredibly selfish and inconsiderate since the first episode. She’s been rude and demanding towards Thing. She’s ignored her friends’ needs and emotions while insisting they put themselves in danger for her investigation. She has respected no one’s boundaries, even while other people have at least tried to respect hers.


And now, it’s finally come back to bite her. All of the people who have been doing their best to show her kindness and support are finally done with her bullshit.

Yes, this is a good thing! Characters are best when they’re allowed to learn and grow. When they don’t come to us flawless. When they mess up and learn from it. Especially for a show aimed at kids, this is essential.

If you’d asked me at the beginning of the season if this character was going to experience honest character growth, I’d have assured you it would never happen. Much to my surprise, it’s happening. I hope that Wednesday is going to come out of this a better person. With two episodes left in the season, there’s plenty of time for that.  4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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