Scream 2 (1997)

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Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream 2 is (obviously) the sequel to the hit slasher film ScreamScream 2 was released only a year after Scream was released, but the film (apparently) takes place two years after the events of the first film. It stars most of the original main cast: Neve Campbell once again as Sidney, David Arquette as Dewey, Jamie Kennedy as the film geek Randy, and Courteney Cox as the ever snoopy for a story Gale Weathers. The comedy and scares are balanced extremely well the second time around and the film manages to be more entertaining and interesting than the first.

The film’s story is similar to the first: a killer is on the loose. However, the setting has changed to a college campus and town (which is something I really liked) and the movie, and it’s characters, are well aware that this is a “sequel.” The self aware humor is one of the things that made Scream so great and it’s in full bloom, once again, in Scream 2. Right from the opening scene (a preview screening for Stab, a movie based on the events of the first movie), the film is all too aware that it’s a sequel. Of course, this is mentioned by the characters, who reference the new killings as a sequel to the first killings. It’s all done way too well and I enjoyed every second of the self aware attitude this film proudly flaunted. But of course, as I saw in the first film, Scream 2 is serious and scary when it needs to be. Ghostface feels more threatening here, but he’s/she’s also shown to be even more clumsy and amateur then in the first film; this asserts the realism that was seen in the first film. The death scenes are excellent and even more frightening this time around; the editing is also better and the score is as good as always (although snippets of scores by Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman are also used). Craven’s use of anamorphic widescreen is put to better use in 2, as we see him really take advantage of the space he has for some of the more important scenes. On another note, I only saw one tipped-to-an-angle shot this time.

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The returning cast is as great as always, but there are some new faces: Jada Pinkett (Smith) shows up in the opening scene, Timmy Olyphant plays Mickey (a friend of Randy’s who is dating Sidney’s roommate), Elise Neal plays Sidney’s roommate Hallie, Jerry O’Connell plays Sidney’s college boyfriend Derek, Duane Martin plays Joel  (Gale’s new cameraman), and Liev Schreiber returns to play Cotton Weary, the man who was originally accused of having killed Sidney’s mother in Scream. Schreiber’s appearance in this film surprised me; I remember him being in Scream for about 10 seconds, but his role in this film is much, much bigger – he even gets semi-top billing in the film’s cast credits (but so did Pinkett). Since I’m already a fan of his, I really enjoyed his performance in this film – but of course, his performance (as well as everyone else’s) was great regardless. The film also has a couple cameos: Heather Graham plays the Stab version of Casey from the first film, and Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Cici, a sober sorority girl.

Things of note: I really loved the fact that anyone in this sequel could be a victim; but of course, I’ll keep the details of that to a minimum. The blend of realism and fantasy is spot on once more, with some really good social commentary thrown in; this is a satire, after all. The chemistry between Dewey and Gale is ever so fun and sweet to watch, having only gotten a small taste of it in the first film. Kennedy plays Randy just as good as he did in Scream, and he even lets us in on the rules that govern a sequel. I didn’t fall in love with the climax this time around (like I did with Scream), but it was still great with a twist I didn’t see coming; I also thought the ending was better than the first film’s. It seems that everything that I thought was (merely) good in Scream was great in Scream 2, which also means that whatever I thought was good in 2 was done better in Scream. 

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Scream 2 manages to out do the original by simply being a better overall movie. The self awareness, comedy, and satire are all excellent, the subverted cliches are as great as always, and the performances are even more enjoyable than before; but 2 also manages to be scarier and more violent then its predecessor. It proves it self to be more then just a great slasher movie, but a great movie in general.

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