Review: Scream 2 (1997)

Directed by: Wes Craven | 120 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Laurie Metcalf, Elise Neal, Jerry O’Connell, Timothy Olyphant, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liev Schreiber, Lewis Arquette, Duane Martin, Rebecca Gayheart, Portia de Rossi, Omar Epps, Tori Spelling

In the mid-1990s, a new, successful screenwriter suddenly emerged in Hollywood. Kevin Williamson instantly became a millionaire with “Scream”, the film that revived the horror genre and was praised by the press and public for its self-relativizing ability. It was also the first film to feature characters who knew all the clichés of the genre, which provided a refreshing comedy. “Scream” was an unexpected hit, bringing in $ 100 million in the US alone. Of course there had to be a sequel, something that was already pointed out in the first part (“These days, you’ve got to have a sequel”). Williamson reportedly wrote “Scream 2” in just three weeks. Horror veteran Wes Craven took the director’s chair again and the cast members who survived the first part also agreed to cooperate. A new hit was in the works!

“Scream 2” kicks off on the night premiere of “Stab,” a film based on the eponymous book by pulp journalist Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) about the events of Woodsboro, two years ago to the day. When a young couple (Jada Pinkett-Smith and Omar Epps) is butchered at the cinema that night, it’s clear there’s another killer out there, imitating the Woodsboro murders and targeting Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). For two years she lived a quiet life at Windsor College, studying drama and finding a new friend (Jerry O’Connell). Randy (Jamie Kennedy), who survived the Woodsboro murders like Sidney, is studying at the local film academy. However, the past continues to haunt them, because soon more and more people in their environment are being murdered. Will they outsmart the killer again?

Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) and Williamson once again form a fine tandem, who, just like in the first “Scream”, do not take the horror genre too seriously. And that is precisely the strength of the films. The script is again packed with numerous references to the horror genre (and even “Top Gun”), this time focusing on the sequel. Traditionally, as film nerd Randy points out, there are always more victims in sequels, ending up in even more gory ways. And that’s what you can expect from “Scream 2”. “Sequels suck”, in which other sequel would the characters be so self-relativating? Anyone who has seen the first film (which is recommended, but not necessarily necessary) will also discover numerous references between the films. Just like the first part, the opening scene is again the strongest of all. The tone has been set immediately. The fragments from “Stab”, for which well-known actors such as Tori Spelling, Luke Wilson and Heather Graham have contributed, also show the self-mockery of the makers in an excellent way. Unfortunately, the ending of “Scream 2” is not as strong as that of its predecessor; it all comes across as silly and unbelievable. It’s a shame because the rest of the film can certainly measure up to ‘Scream’ in terms of level, although this second part is less surprising because those who have seen the first part already know the tricks.

As said before, the stars of the first part are rising again. Neve Campbell has already had a lot to endure as Sidney and this is no different in this film. She plays her role convincingly and portrays a realistic character with which you as a viewer empathize. Courteney Cox once again plays the role of Gale Weathers, the shrewd reporter who goes to work ruthlessly for a scoop or a controversial interview. Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is also present. Not a sheriff anymore, but a crippled security officer trying to protect Sidney and Gale. Unfortunately David has a lot less talent than his sisters Patricia and Rosanna and always comes across as very clumsy. Again. You wonder what Cox, who was proposed by him during the shooting, sees in him. Jamie Kennedy provides the comic relief as Randy. Supporting roles include scream queen Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jerry O’Connell, Elise Neal, Laurie Metcalf, Timothy Olyphant, Liev Schreiber and Rebecca Gayheart.

“Scream 2” is less surprising than its predecessor and has an unbelievable ending. But the movie is by no means as bad as most sequels. This is mainly due to the wonderful script full of self-mockery and references to other (horror) films. Incidentally, the “Scary Movie” series, which is another parody of this parody, takes these things to the extreme, where all of those movies become very bland. Fortunately, “Scream 2” is not a silly comedy, but a horror film full of scary moments. It is nice to see the familiar faces from the first part, because they are the ones who give you as a viewer something to hold on to. “Scream 2” is hardly inferior to “Scream”. Those who see the second film first and then the original may even like it better. As a horror movie, don’t take “Scream 2” too seriously, and you’ll have a very entertaining night of horror!

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