Scream 2

Year:  1997
Director:  Wes Craven
Cast:  Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jada Pinkett, Jerry O' Connell, Jamie Kennedy
Fright Meter Award Winner:  Best Horror Movie, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress

It has been two years since the bloody murder rampage of Billy Loomis and Stu Macher.  Sidney is now away at college, trying to put the past behind her.  Unfortunately, with the release of the new motion picture Stab based on the book The Woodsboro Murders by none other than Gale Weathers, a new ghostface killer begins stalking Sidney and her friends. 

Scream 2 is a rarity in the annals of horror cinema; it is a sequel that actually matches, and nearly outdoes, the original film.  True to the "sequel rules" laid out in the film, everything is bigger and more elaborate here, including the characters, death scenes, and motive.   The dazzling opening sequence, though heavily influenced by the opening scene of the 80's slasher film He Knows You're Alone is executed brilliantly and definitely has a deeper, more thematic purpose that the now iconic opening scene of the first film.  In fact, Scream 2 certainly has a more serious tone overall than its predecessor.  Virtually all self-referential jokes and comic relief scenes are replaced by a more serious, plot-driven tone.   And less than halfway through the film, when a major character from the first film is killed off, the audience knows this film means business and that anything can happen.  Craven and Williamson up the suspense quite a bit, thus providing some of the most memorable, tense scenes from the franchise.  Who does not find themselves yelling at the screen or holding their breath during the "climb out of the cop car" scene?  If Scream 2 could improve on anything, it would certainly be the pacing of the film, which unfortunately does drag in parts.   The running time is over two hours and there were certainly scenes that could have been cut that would not have affected the film at all.

For a contemporary slasher film, particularly a sequel, it really does not get much better than this.  True to the original characters and vastly entertaining, Scream 2 accomplishes what so many horror film sequels have failed to do in the past: be good films.

Fright  Meter Grade:

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