scream | scream 2 | wes craven | kevin williamson | neve campbell | courteney cox | david arquette | sequel | slasher | meta | mystery | united states | sarah michelle gellar | joshua jackson | timothy olyphant | jamie kennedy | laurie metcalf | liev schreiber
Film: Scream 2
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette
I first watched this film when it came on VHS. I enjoyed the original and was excited that they made a sequel. It didn’t hurt the previous was one of my favorite films at the time. Something that I appreciated was that they also brought back a lot of characters as well. This is one that I’ve seen quite a few times throughout the years. There was a long stretch where I hadn’t. I did see this with an ex-girlfriend and some of my friends. Jaime didn’t know if she had seen this so we watched together.
Synopsis: taking place two years after the first series of murders as Sydney (Neve Campbell) acclimates to college life, someone dons the Ghostface costume begins a new string of killings.
This sequel is quite interesting in that it takes the meta feel to the next level. The events for the first film have been made into a movie. A sneak peek is being shown at a theater by a college. We follow a couple, Maureen (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Phil (Omar Epps), as they go, even though she doesn’t like horror films. Phil seems to love them. I like that Maureen gives her reasons to hate them which are valid to an extent. Black people don’t normal survive long and woman aren’t portrayed the best either. Being a bit more seasoned, I don’t fully believe these now, but it isn’t completely wrong. This couple is murdered, which gives an interesting look at the horror audience that the theater goers think it is a publicity stunt. They are cheering for the deaths on screen and for the death that is happening before them. It takes them time to realize it is real. Going back to the meta, it is ironic that Maureen’s fears become true as well.
We then shift over to Sydney in her dorm. We see that she gets a lot of prank calls. It appears they’re getting worse with the film coming out. Hallie (Elise Neal) is her roommate and is concerned, to the point of seeing if they need to change their number again. When they hear about the murders, Sydney seeks out her friend, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), who is in film class. It there is that we get an intriguing debate about sequels with Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) and an unnamed character played by Joshua Jackson. What sparked it is the idea of blaming the movie for what happened at the theater.
The killer then stalks Sydney and there is a pattern to the murders that involves the events from the first. Sydney starts to wonder who it could be. There are possible suspects all around her like her new boyfriend, Derek (Jerry O’Connell), or the man she thought killed her mother, Cotton Weary (Live Schreiber). Randy even considers people like her new roommate as potential suspect. Things don’t get easier when Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf) and other reporters hound her. Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is also there to try to help her.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introducing our characters. Where I’ll start is that I find this as an interesting continuation of the meta-aspects and expanding how sequels change the rules that the previous established. As a horror film fan, some of the things Randy said are spot on. They normally are bloodier, higher body counts and expand on the story that was set forth in the previous film. At least the good ones do. We get that here. There is a reveal that I won’t spoil for those that might not have seen it. I did find this to be a little bit unbelievable though. It was good that Sydney points this out, but I do believe they were on the screen together at one point, so I don’t get how it doesn’t happen earlier. It could be a plot-hole, but after this viewing, I’m not sure I can hold it against the movie.
On the other side though, I love what the reason that these killings are happening. There is an excuse that plays off what the previous film was trying to refute, but it was also something that was prominent in the news. Heck, we still see it at times as a defense. Personally, I disagree with the argument, but the killer doesn’t even believe it outside of an excuse. It also is interesting that they want to go to trial for their 20 minutes of fame. This is even more relevant today as I think that is partially the reason for a lot of mass killings we see.
Shifting away I’d say that this is paced well, much like the previous one. The running time is again close to two hours, but it doesn’t feel like it. The mystery was good, even though I didn’t care for one of the reveals. For deepening the story of the franchise, I do like it as it adds another level. It isn’t all that believable that no one would notice who the person was. The other one though was good. I do like how the film ends as it is fitting. I’d even say here that the cinematography was good. This was well shot.
Moving then over to the acting, I thought was solid. Campbell is great in her role. This adds another dimension to her as she was a survivor from the last film. She doesn’t know what to do or who to trust, but she is stronger from what she’s already endured. I like what she does for the ending as well. Neal is fine as her new best friend. Schreiber is good in his minor role that he has. I thought that was creative to bring him back and then build on it. Kennedy is great again as he is me in my friend’s group and I love his knowledge of the genre. It is good to have Cox and Arquette back as their characters growth that is good. I also want to shout-out the cameos by Gellar, Olyphant, Jackson, O’Connell, Rebecca Gayheart, Lewis Arquette, Portia de Rossi and Marisol Nichols. I’d say the acting was good across the board.
Then the last things to go into would be with the other filmmaking aspects. I’d say that the effects looked good once again. They went practical again and it looks real enough. Since this is a slasher, they stick to kills mostly done by a knife. I’m fine with that as it is the iconic weapon for Ghostface. As for the soundtrack it lack a bit in comparison to what the original did. I do like some of the selections. They bring back one of the songs from the first film that I thought fit in well were used. I don’t want you to think this hurts the movie. It just isn’t as iconic for me.
In conclusion, even though this one takes a step back, I think this is still good. I’m not the biggest fan of one of the reveals to this film, but I like how it adds to the story. As a sequel, I do think it builds on what the original did which is what I want. The pacing as well as the effects of this film are solid. The acting is good. I don’t have issues with the soundtrack, it just didn’t stick out as much. Overall, I’d also say this is solid and if you like the first one, then give this a watch. Its meta nature makes it self-aware and good for people who are fans of the genre as well as those who might not be as much.
My Rating: 8 out of 10