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 really enjoyed the original and was excited that they made a sequel. It didn’t hurt the original was one of my favorite films at the time. I really liked that they also brought back a lot of characters as well. To get into this, the official synopsis is two years after the first series of murders, as Sydney (Neve Campbell) acclimates to college life; someone donning the Ghostface costume begins a new string of killings.
This sequel is quite interesting in that it really 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. A couple, Maureen (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Phil (Omar Epps) are going, even though she doesn’t like horror films. Phil loves them. I like that Maureen gives her reasons to hate them are valid, African-Americans don’t normal survive long and woman aren’t portrayed the best either. They both are murdered, which is 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 her fears become true as well.
Prank calls are up again for Sydney as well with the film coming out. Her roommate is concerned, Hallie (Elise Neal), that they need to change their number again. When she hears about the murders she seeks out her friend, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), who is in film class. There are some famous people with him in the class, Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) and Joshua Jackson. They are having a debate about the murders and sequels to films.
The killer starts to stalk Sydney and there are patterns to the murders that involve the events from the original film. Sydney starts to wonder who it could be. She starts to wonder if it is her new boyfriend, Derek (Jerry O’Connell), or the man she thought killed her mother, Cotton Weary (Live Schreiber). Things don’t get easier when Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf) and other reporters hounding her. Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is also there to try to help her.
This film is interesting in continuing the meta aspect and expanding it to how sequels to films change the rules that the previous film did. As a horror film fan, these are pretty spot on. They normally are bloodier, higher body counts and expand on the story that was set forth in the previous film. We get all of this for the film. There is a reveal that I won’t spoil here 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.
On the other side though, I love what the reason that the killer was going to use as their excuse. It plays off what the previous film was trying to refute, but it was something that we saw in the news. I think they might have a chance to get away with what they are doing. 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.
The film is paced very well, much like the previous one. The running time is again close to two hours, but it doesn’t feel like it. The mystery is also good for this one, 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 dimension. It isn’t all that believable that no one would notice who the person was. The other one though was really good. I do like how the film ends as it fitting.
Acting for this film I thought was pretty solid, much like the previous film. Campbell I think 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 much stronger in this film. I like what she does for the ending as well, even though her head is messed with for part of it. Neal is fine as the friend. Schreiber is good in his minor role that he has. 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; their characters have some growth that is good. I also want to shout-out the cameos by Gellar, Olyphant and Jackson.
Much like the previous film, the effects look good in this one. They went practical again and it looks real. The knife wounds look like the person was really cut. There are also some gunshots that happen, that aren’t covered up too much and actually look like it could have happened. I have to give the film credit for that.
This film does lack a little bit from the previous in the score. I do like some of the selections; they bring back one of the songs from the first film that I thought fit very well in this one. I do think that this soundtrack fits the scenes and definitely never hurts it. It just isn’t as good.
Now with that said, even though this one takes a step back, I think this film is still really good. I’m not the biggest fan of one of the reveals to this film, but I like how it adds to the story. I do think this is a sequel adds on what the previous film did. The pacing as well as the effects of this film is great. The acting is good. Score of the film isn’t as good, but I still don’t have any issues with it. Overall I’d also say this is a really good film and if you like the first one, definitely give this a viewing. Its meta nature makes it definitely self aware and good for people who are non-fans of the genre.
My Rating: 9 out of 10