Directed by: Wes Craven
Distributed by: Dimension Films
Written by Nick McCann
At release, “Scream” was a snowball gaining momentum and mass every second. It marked a major revival for slasher horror, popularized meta-humor, and gave cinema yet another memorable on-screen menace. Success like that usually means a sequel, but this would prove daunting. Script leaks would plague the production on top of a rushed schedule. Although the film reflects this in spirit, what we’re left with is a movie that hits just a little more than it misses.
We take the mystery murder fest to college as our characters are targeted by a copycat killer on campus. Just like in the first movie, there is a self-awareness to the material that extends in multiple avenues. Racial representation, media influencing violence, and even the nature of horror sequels get the treatment this time around. Although the film maintains its level of fun alongside a good pace, certain scenes leave me scratching my head at their execution or straight-up inclusion. The third act reveal becomes a little deflated, but it’s hard to deny the continued fun of wondering who dawns the mask and calls on the phone.
Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy return like they never left, with high energy and multilayered performances. Their characters give off a feeling of natural progression, savvy of the situation while overcoming new emotions as a result of their survival. Props to the writing for keeping that in check, even when new material came in on the day of shooting. We also get new faces in the forms of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Timothy Olyphant, Laurie Metcalf, and Jerry O’Connell, among many others. Despite the occasional bad line or questionable direction, they are in tune with the material and fun to pick out of the litter.
The case can definitely be made that a great technical presentation makes most things easier to take in. As the movie itself directly calls out, the body count is higher and the kills are more involved. A fairly haunting opening kill in its own right sets it all up well for nicely done kills and chases. Attention is still paid to being disturbingly real compared to what our characters watch on TV. Make-up effects still push the graphic nature of that fact, ensuring most everyone will be covered in blood by the end. The music is still on point, mixing Marco Beltrami’s score with a host of alternative hard rock tracks. Personal bonus points for weirdly using Hans Zimmer’s “Broken Arrow” score many times (something that shouldn’t fit in as well as it does).
There may be some familiarity or overall inferiority, but “Scream 2” is yet another fun ride that maintains the feel of before. This is a fine example of a flawed movie that can still be enjoyable for better or worse thanks to a dedicated lineup of talent. The characters are fun, the body count still rises, and it attempts a natural progression of its core ideas. When the focus is on these elements, it’s worth some bumps in the road. Whether your favorite “Scream” or not, it is far from wasted time.
“Scream 2” Trailer