It’s been over two decades since Scream 3 and the shocking opening since the first film. The first few minutes saw the murder of Christine Hamilton and the one and only, Cotton Weary. The latter was mainly used as a prime suspect in the original Scream that detailed Sydney falsely accusing him of killing Maureen Prescott. Now, Scream 3 gets a lot of flak because it lacks the satirical flair that the other films in the franchise have, but this was genuinely a surprising and memorable moment. To recap, Cotton gets an unsuspecting call from a woman with a sexy voice. Mind you, Cotton already has a girlfriend so it’s weird that the writers opted to make him a bit of sleazeball at this moment. Cotton isn’t the most likable character in the franchise, but you at least understand why he is the way he is. I get that he’s representing your typical Hollywood-type douchebag, but this character beat was the wrong direction to go in. Cotton has a sympathetic backstory of being falsely accused of murder just because he was at the wrong place at a bad time; I understand the first and second movie playing the killer blame game as Cotton’s history makes him the perfect candidate for wanting revenge against Sydney, but now that his name has been cleared, making him come across as a cheater negates the emotions I should feel. Granted, I feel bad for the girlfriend, but was this moment supposed to make me dislike and cheer for Cotton’s eventual death?
Other than the odd choice of making Cotton a scumbag for the first few minutes, the scene is actually pretty gripping. The constant taunting of Christine is masterfully done, and you instantly feel sympathy for the woman caught up in a scary situation. We may not know anything other than the fact that’s she’s Cotton’s girlfriend, but the fact that she’s an innocent bystander in this entire mess makes you gravitate towards her. The scene of Cotton rushing home is also well done, but again, the wrong direction that the writers took moments before makes it hard to root for him. After being the prime suspect of the first two films, it would’ve been nice to make him seem like a decent being. Of course, no one wants to see Christine murdered but Cotton seemed open to cheating on his girlfriend with a mysterious stranger with a sexy voice.
Still, once you get past that little negative moment then the scene builds up nicely once Cotton gets home. Having Cotton acting heroic is a nice touch as it does make you forget about his intentions earlier, and intriguing questions linger as Cotton explores every room in his house. Is Christine dead? Where’s the killer? Is the killer dead? (Likely not) The fact that Christine is still alive is a nice touch, and it makes sense that she doesn’t trust him. The mind games played by Roman (spoiler alert, he’s the killer) was great and Roger Jackson – the man who does all of the voices in the Scream phone calls – is perfect at conveying character and emotion through his voice. Christine dying wasn’t a shock, and it was all laid out in a way that was logical; however, then Cotton dies. That leaves us with the question, did Cotton really deserve to die? Unfortunately, horror movies have this nasty little habit of bringing back characters from previous films and killing them off. Again, Cotton wasn’t exactly a likeable presence in these films, but his story is truly interesting. It’s a route that was only explored to point the finger in his direction as the possible killer. It’s a shame because we don’t get much of the good side of Cotton Weary. We understand his anger and frustration over being imprisoned for something that he didn’t do, but he was more so a creep. So, it’s really hard to feel bad for Cotton in that sense even though the writers try really hard to make you feel bad for his character. It was a nice and honorable thing for Cotton to not give up Sidney’s location, highlighting the fact that he isn’t too bad of a guy. The opening of Scream 3 isn’t particularly bad at all. In fact, it’s actually really good, but it robbed us of the most intriguing side character in the third film. Despite the waves of emotions, Cotton had a solid sendoff, it’s just a shame it wasn’t in a better film.