Tuesday, January 03, 2017
Scream 2 (1997)
DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
WRITER: Kevin Williamson
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Jada Pinkett Smith
Portia De Rossi
It's now two years after the brutal murder spree that took place in Woodsboro. Sidney and Randy are now attending Windsor College. Putting the past behind them, they are suddenly thrust back into the spotlight when two people are murdered at a screening of Stab, the movie based on Gale Weathers book and events of Woodsboro. There is a masked killer who is trying to make a real-life sequel and repeat the events that took place in Woodsboro.
By the time that Scream 2 finally got a release here in Australia in 1998, my love for the first Scream was undying. I had watched Scream religiously over the year it took for Scream 2 to make its way into theatres. I had fallen in love with the characters, I could quote the film almost verbatim, and it was genuinely the moment where I had realised that I had fallen head over heels and in love with horror and slasher cinema. The sequel just cemented that for me.
Still being quite young when Scream 2 had made its way into cinemas, I begged my father to take me and a group of friends from school to see it. Several kids from my year who also shared my love of the first film. Being that the film was rated MA15+ adult supervision was required to get in to see the movie. My dad was happy to take us all to the cinema, and I finally got to see my first Scream film on the big screen. A moment that I would never forget.
When the original movie turned out to be a huge box office smash hit and revived an entire sub-genre of horror cinema, you have a lot to live up to with your sequel. The fact that Scream 2 was written, filmed and released all within a year, I imagine it had its own sceptics thinking that this was quickly rushed into theatres in the hopes that it was cashing in on Scream's success. They may have been right on all accounts, but the teaming up of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson was box office gold again.
Scream 2 for me was never going to be able to top the original Scream. It just wasn't possible. It does, however, do the unthinkable and it gets pretty damn close. As far as horror movie sequels go, its one of the greatest in my personal opinion. I think where Scream 2 deserves praise and is commendable, is that it tries to outdo the original at every step of the way. The film just doesn't sit back and play anything safe. Scream 2 really does try to raise the ante and deliver a film that is more shocking, more violent and just as scary.
What the sequel manages to do is raise the stakes. In the original, we had only just gotten to know these characters. While I liked them in the first film. By the time the characters of Sidney, Randy, Gale, and Dewey get thrown into the horrors of Windsor College. I had fallen in love with all these people so deeply that when Wes Craven kills one of them off in such surprise and shocking fashion, it completely devastated me. It was not a feeling that I had felt while watching the original film. Still, to this day, that death really hits me hard every time I see it. I see people say that horror flicks have disposable characters, the Scream series is not one of them. This is a family over four films that I grew to love.
The movie has so many great moments within the sequel that it comes very close to surpassing the original. We have an opening scene that while not as shocking as Drew Barrymore's bloody and brutal opening, it's still insanely smart. It's meta, creepy and after a few horrible massacres in cinemas across the United States in recent times, it now plays even eerier that the multiplex isn't even a safe place to go these days. The heartbreaking news van death, the reveal of the second killer, the construction site car crash, and Sarah Michelle Gellar's home alone, sorority house, chase scene.
The acting is one of the reasons why I adore this series. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and Jamie Kennedy all return in their respected roles from the original movie. Every single one of them builds on their characters that we loved so much from the first film. I loved seeing each and every single one of them grow from the events of the first movie. Kevin Williamson has again written an intelligent script that doesn't abandon character development and still manages to skewer the entire premise of the horror sequel and manages to turn all the conventions on its head.
The supporting cast is rounded out by a huge cast. Sarah Michelle Gellar while only being in the film for all of five minutes manages to do what she does best and that's being chased by a killer. Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps are great in the opening scene. Liev Schreiber is given more to work with the sequel, his character gets a lot more fleshed out. Timothy Olyphant and Laurie Metcalf look like they have the most fun with their two performances. Jerry O'Connell plays the caring boyfriend well. He's no Skeet Ulrich though.
Where Scream 2 falls short of being on par with the original is a couple of the scenes that fall back on stupid character decisions. While these scenes had to happen within the realm of the film for it to continue, it feels idiotic in the eyes of the audience. The whole scene where Sidney decides not to remove the mask after the car crash which would've revealed who the killer was is the biggest misstep. Cici not just leaving the sorority house and going to the party across the road after being harassed. These little moments weren't enough to ruin the movie for me.
Lastly, we come to the suspense and violence in the film. Randy states that the rules to a successful sequel must have elaborate death scenes and a higher death toll than the original. Sadly, the movie doesn't stick to its own proposed rules. While the death toll is higher in Scream 2, the film is less gory than the original. A lot of stabbings and a pole through the head don't rank higher than someone being gutted and hung from a tree. I personally found that Scream 2 tones down the gore and carnage. Where the movie is successful is that Wes Craven builds some incredibly intense set-pieces, the Cici chase scene, Randy taunting the killer and Gale being slowly hunted by Ghostface in the Soundproof rooms are all the works of a master of horror.
DEATH TOLL: 10
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is stabbed in the side of the face.
- A woman is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach and back in a cinema.
- A character in a movie is repeatedly stabbed on screen.
- Someone is stuck in the back and thrown off a balcony.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed and has their throat slashed in a van.
- Someone's throat is cut.
- A police officer gets a metal pole through the head.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the heart.
- Someone gets shot in the chest.
- Someone is repeatedly shot to death.
- Someone is shot in the stomach.
- Someone gets shot in the throat and head.
While Scream 2 has a few little niggling issues with ridiculous character decisions, this is a horror movie sequel that comes incredibly close to surpassing the original. In the realm of horror cinema, I still think Scream 2 is up there with the best horror sequels of all time. The movie loses none of its cleverness or wit with its self-awareness, the character development is vastly improved, and the film is just as intense. Wes and Kevin join forces again to create a worthy and intelligent sequel.