“Sequels suck,” exclaims one of the characters in Scream 2. But, do they?
After the phenomenal run of Scream, there was no doubt that a sequel would be produced. One could only hope that the creative team behind Scream would return for the sequel to create a movie as good or better than the first. Fortunately, the creative team behind Scream has returned to work on Scream 2. Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson return to make Scream 2.
Scream 2 opens about two years after the events in Scream. The introduction, not unlike that of Scream, is a short piece that illustrates the self-mocking ways of Craven and Williamson. Drew Barrymore is replaced this time by Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps. This opening sequence had a strange effect on me. It’s one thing to scare the audience, but then it is another thing to completely creep out the audience. The opening sequence takes place in a darken theatre premiering STAB, a film based on the “true life” events of Scream, which is also based on the book by Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). The creepiness of the prologue comes from it bringing the horror so close to the audience. It took the horror of the film right into the theatre, which made me feel scared all the way through the rest of the film, and I’m pretty sure everyone will also.
After this introduction we get into the meat of the film. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is off to Windsor College. As the movie STAB opens to the public, the body count starts to mount. We are introduced to an ensemble cast of characters, all who could be the copy-cat murderer. And, from this point on, the scares are many and the body count rises quickly.
Scream 2 takes from the first in its satirical look at slasher films and its blatant tongue in cheek events. The characters are unafraid to speak their minds and the dialogue is sharp, witty and hilarious. It seems that Williamson can find humor in dialogue in any morbid situation. The dialogue is filled with pop references and is not afraid to poke fun at some of the best known people, including two of Cox’s “Friends” co-stars, David Shwimmer and Jennifer Aniston. (“That’s just my head pasted on Jennifer Aniston’s body,” Weathers exclaims as one character asks her about the nude pictures of her on the Internet.)
What about the horror part of the film? Craven is at his best here in Scream 2. There are many scary and thrilling moments including one staged in a car that had most everyone at the edge of their seats and squirming. Craven finds the right mix between gore, horror, scares, and humor with Scream 2.
Williamson redeems himself with the Scream 2 script. His last project, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, was horribly mediocre and not on the same level as either Scream of Scream 2. Some of this can be accounted for because of Craven’s expertise, but a lot of it is because of Williamson’s creativity in writing the script. The whodunit portion of the film is well done, though as the film progressed I was able to correctly guess who the killer was at the end.
Though Neve Campbell is the star of the film it is Courtney Cox who shines. Cox is cocky and very hate-able as Gale Weathers, a woman who is always looking for a good story to promote herself. Cox is just great in this role. This is not to say that Campbell is not good in her role though, she is also fabulous as Sidney Prescott, the girl who is sick and tired of all the games that are being played with her life. David Arquette, as the returning Dewey, is also really good. All around, the cast of Scream 2 is excellent throughout the film.
One thing that I noticed was that there was a bit of recycled music in Scream 2, which is a small portion of Hans Zimmer’s BROKEN ARROW soundtrack. They used John Travolta’s BROKEN ARROW theme for Dewey, which at first came off as cheesy to me, but after awhile it did work pretty well.
Craven also has fun with the first film. Using a movie in a movie technique that plays the first film for laughs. I wish Craven had used more of STAB for laughs. There are some pretty funny moments in STAB, including a hilarious cameo by Tori Spelling.
Scream 2 is definitely a sequel that does not suck. Craven and Williamson have done a great job with this movie and it is admirable that they can mix the thriller with an outright self-mocking comedy without losing the edge. They are able to scare us one second then make us laugh out loud the next. This is a fun, scary, and humorous film that shouldn’t be missed in the theatre. It will have you on the edge of your seat for most of the film. Don’t miss Scream 2.