Returning characters and new faces look on in suspicion in Scream 2

Hello horror fans and slasher stans, it’s Slick Dungeon here! I’m gearing up to go see the sixth installment of the Scream franchise soon but before I do that, I wanted to review all of the previous movies here. For these reviews I plan on going in-depth so if you have not seen the movies, I advise you not to read this review yet. Scream is a great slasher franchise but the best parts of it are surprising events and reveals so definitely have a watch first because reviewing without spoilers is never easy with these movies.

When I do review Scream VI, I will have a first reaction spoiler free review followed by a spoiler heavy review. For the rest of these, watch first or risk the fun of the movies being taken away by reading. I’m going to be talking about individual scenes, characters, and themes so it’s all fair game in these reviews. I will only spoil things from the first and second movies in this review so you don’t need to have seen all the Scream films to keep yourself spoiler free, just the first two. If you want to read my review of the first Scream you can do so right here.

Scream 2 in Historical Context

The original Scream film did what horror fans thought to be impossible. It breathed new life into the slasher sub-genre. It also made a fair amount of money doing it. The sequel potential was inevitable. Any good slasher film needs a sequel. And, while Scream can easily be said to be a fun, creative, and original take on slasher films, coming up with a sequel that may outdo or at least be as good as the original is no easy task.

After the first film there was plenty of buzz about a sequel and it made a lot of sense to have one. This was also an era where the internet was just starting to really come into its own. People could go online and look for and discuss their favorite fandom any time they wished to. This means leaks of film scripts were guaranteed to happen at some point. There had been the occasional leak of a film script but it usually didn’t do anything to change the production of a film. Scream 2 is a unique case in which leaks may have helped the film to become better because of an internet leak. People got ahold of the script, it leaked, people hated the ending of the leaked script and the final product of the movie does not have the ending which was leaked. Kevin Williamson who wrote the script says the leaked version was simply a “dummy ending.” Whether or not that is true, I can’t say but during production new pages were written up to and including on the day of shooting a scene. Obviously, the filmmakers did not want the ending spoiled for the audience.

I think it’s incredibly interesting that while the first film in the series was influenced by other films of the genre, the second film may have been influenced by real world leaks. This film needed to accomplish a ton of things. First, it had to continue a story where the killers from the first film were dead. Most slasher films simply resurrect the original killer in some way but this film goes in a different direction. Second, the movie had to tell a story at least as good as the first. Third, it had to perform well enough at the box office to keep people coming back for more. Finally, it had to deliver surprises to an audience which had already seen a good portion of the story through internet leaks. None of these are easy tasks and to pull any of them off would be a success. I don’t know if it managed to pull off everything it was trying to do but the film made a healthy $172 million at the box office, barely under what the first one made. Not bad by horror sequel standards at all.

If this second film had flopped at the box office, this would have been the end of the franchise and likely the end of slasher horror once again. In a lot of ways it was a risky move to even consider a sequel here. Unlike the days we are in now where anything can have a sequel and audiences will go to it, there had been films which fizzled out because of a terrible follow up from a great first film.

Having a significant amount of the original cast return certainly helped. David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Jamie Kennedy, and Liev Schreiber all reprise their roles from the original film. In addition, a cast of either current or soon to be breakout stars joined on as new cast members, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Laurie Metcalf, Timothy Olyphant and Jada Pinkett.

So, did Scream 2 do the impossible and live up to or exceed expectations with an all star cast and clever story? Let’s break it down and find out.

Spoilers follow below!

The Cold Open

The opening scene from Scream was so surprising, the pressure to do something just as good was enormous. If this opening could not surprise the audience, the movie would already be dead in the water. It would have been reasonable to expect us to see Sidney Prescott on the phone in the first moments of the film. Or even just a continuation of the final shot from the first movie.

Instead, this opening makes the movie meta aware on the highest level by starting at a movie theater where the lobby is decorated with Ghostface killer masks everywhere. The film is signaling to us it understands horror fans by reproducing an environment all of us are familiar with. It’s a crowded space with lots of people, plenty of lights, not isolated in any way. It’s the opposite of the way Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) was going to watch a scary movie in the first film. It’s the pop-culture group environment where we can all take in a scary movie and still be frightened but be just a little more brave as we see the person next to us jump at the killer popping up too.

And, depending on where you saw it, the theater you were in might have looked a lot like what was being shown on screen. There were definitely Ghostface masks and lobby decorations at the very least.

The first line of the film said by Maureen Evans (Jada Pinkett) is, “I hate scary movies.” Again, it’s in stark contrast to Casey Becker who says she likes them. Maureen’s boyfriend is there because the tickets were free and he wants to watch the movie because in his words, “It’s good to be scared. It’s primal.” A sentiment many horror fans can relate to. And most of us horror fans have had the experience of trying to bring along a significant other who is much less interested in the film than we are. Maureen goes on to insult the movie which we learn is called, “Stab.” This is a fictionalized version of what happened in Woodsboro to Sidney Prescott and her circle of friends and family.

Maureen also drops a bit of truth on the audience by saying, “…the horror genre is historical for excluding the African-American element.” It’s interesting because this is a completely valid criticism of horror even now but especially at the time and it’s said by one of the few characters wholeheartedly not interested in horror. Maureen in a short, quick quip, provides us with the outsider’s perspective of horror and she nails it perfectly. This just proves the Scream franchise is extremely capable of encompassing and critiquing horror all at the same time, even when it commits the exact tropes it criticizes.

As they walk into the film, the couple are given Ghostface costumes as Stab souvenirs by the studio. While I can say I have seen some movie giveaways in my time, I’ve never seen a studio give away full on costumes to a full theater. But, it works for the story so we’ll suspend disbelief just enough to think this could happen.

The theater is full of people amped up and excited to watch the movie, some already in Ghostface outfits as the word Stab comes on the screen. Maureen is clearly not happy to be there with this raucous crowd. We also find out the film is based on a book by Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). In the fictional universe of Scream, Gale Weathers’ book is a retelling of the actual events that happened to Sidney Prescott.

One thing I’d like to point out here is that while I’m a big fan of horror films, I’ve never seen an instance where a true life event leads to a franchise like Stab where the audience is seemingly rabid to watch the bloody mayhem that presumably happened to real people. Nowadays I think we would consider this more of a true crime thriller. But, the filmmakers are once again implying people are just as excited to see real world violence depicted on the screen as they are to watch fictionalized horror.

As a thought exercise, this would be like a crowd of horror fans going to see Dahmer in theaters and being super pumped about it. I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to horror but the idea of watching something where actual traumatic events truly drive the story makes me a bit sick to my stomach. Still, with the explosion of true crime documentaries and fictionalized remakes, Scream 2 may have a valid point. People do tend to watch this stuff and presumably enjoy it.

Anyway, the movie within the movie shows on the screen and we see a blonde woman who looks a lot like Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) on the screen. This is supposed to be Casey Becker but this time she’s played by Heather Graham. Heather Graham was a pretty big star in her own right by this point.

She turns on the shower, just like in Psycho in a call back not only to that film, but also to the first Scream. Instantly we know that while this fictionalized version of the things that happened to Sidney is on the screen, we also know, the movie is getting some things wrong. Casey wasn’t going to take a shower, she was going to watch a movie. Maureen in reaction comments on the woman on screen not needing to be naked for the plot of the movie. Another solid critique, especially of the slasher genre.

The phone call comes to on screen Casey. We get pretty close to the right dialogue from the first movie as Maureen yells at the screen for Casey to *69 the number that just called her. Maureen grows increasingly annoyed with the movie and goes to get some popcorn. (Pro movie going tip, buy the popcorn before you sit down if you want to watch the whole movie)

On the screen we get one of my favorite lines from this film because we can presume this is a line Gale wrote while imagining what happened to the “real” Casey and it’s just so cheesy. Casey says, “You know, I don’t even know you, and I dislike you already.”

When Maureen hits the lobby she’s startled a couple of times and someone in the line comments on how it’s not just a movie because all these kids got killed a couple years ago in California. Meanwhile others in the crowd are still running around and joking with each other. Then Maureen’s boyfriend comes out in the Ghostface mask and startles her. (Another pro tip if you are at a horror movie with someone who doesn’t like horror, don’t scare them. It’s just mean.) Maureen’s boyfriend offers to take them to see a Sandra Bullock movie instead but Maureen reluctantly agrees to stay.

Maureen’s boyfriend hits the bathroom (Pro tip number three, do that before a movie starts) and Maureen goes inside. The scene on screen gets fairly brutal as we cut back to the restroom. Maureen’s boyfriend is surrounded by people in Ghostface costumes. He hears someone whispering something about their “mommy” in the stall next to him and puts his ear to the wall. Seconds later a knife is jabbed into his ear and we get the first victim of this film.

Whoever this was leaves the restroom and sits down next to Maureen as she continues to tell the Casey Becker on screen what to do. Maureen assumes the person is her boyfriend, going so far as to put her head on their shoulder in fear. On screen we see Casey get stabbed in pretty much the same way the “real” Casey was in the last film. As this happens, Maureen pulls away from the person next to her only to find blood on her hands. She screams in real terror, not from the film but from actual danger. Right in the middle of the theater, she’s stabbed by the Ghostface killer. The audience is too pumped up by what is on screen to even notice. This is up to and including when she’s stabbed again right in the aisle. Everyone is watching the screen. Maureen goes up to the front, bleeding in front of everyone and lets out a scream as people slowly begin to realize this is not an act and we see the title credit for Scream 2.

There were so many ways this opening could have gone wrong but this scene proves to be just as downright jarring as the scene from the first movie. It does start to set up the expectation we shouldn’t expect characters in the early minutes of Scream films to live long, no matter what their star power is.

It’s mostly clever because it simply flips everything on its head by changing locations to one where you would not expect a killer to be lurking and it does so well. While I don’t think this is the best opening or most terrifying opening of a Scream film, it’s certainly original enough to give us a shock and be entertaining all at once.

Catching up with Sidney and the Gang

Just like the first film, after the opening scene, we cut to Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). A phone is ringing and Sidney answers. The voice which we heard in the first film says, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” for a second it looks like she’ll be scared. But Sidney has a caller-id device and tells the caller what his name is and his phone number and that prank calls are a criminal offense.

I love this as the starting point for Sidney in this movie. She’s not a scared high school girl. This is a young woman who has been through trauma and survived and has taken steps to make herself safe. She’s tough and smart and we’re already on her side.

Much more disturbing to Sidney is when her roommate turns on the television and Cotton Weary who was falsely imprisoned based on Sidney’s testimony is being interviewed. He’s someone who could hold a grudge against Sidney, and Sidney knows she has some blame in the situation. Things only get worse as news shows information on the death of the students at the movie theater. Sidney knows immediately she needs to speak to Randy. As she walks across campus she’s accosted by reporters.

We then shift to Randy, in the middle of a film theory class. This scene is where we get a lot of the meta information of the film. We also meet Cici Cooper (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who says, “You can’t blame real world violence on entertainment.” And we see Mickey Altieri (Timothy Olyphant) debate the point with her. Randy (Jamie Kennedy) is of the opinion that life is life and it doesn’t imitate anything. These are all issues and perspectives taken on horror as a whole and on Scream films in particular.

The teacher basically asks if someone is trying to make a Stab sequel. Randy wonders why anyone would want to and then talks about how bad sequels are. People in the class start throwing out sequels which are hotly debated as potentially being better than the first, including Aliens and Terminator 2 but everyone does agree The Godfather II is superior to the original.

I’d say this is the kind of debate any film fan has had at some point in their lives and it again allows the audience to see this film takes film seriously.

Sidney shows up in class and Randy just wants to deny the reality of what is happening. We find out Sidney has a boyfriend and everyone has been living a fairly happy life.

We catch up with Gale Weathers who is straight off her success as an author and is back to cover the new murders. She’s also greeted by another journalist named Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf) who kind of aggressively introduces herself.

A press conference ensues and Sidney is invited to a sorority party. Dewey (David Arquette) shows up and Sidney’s boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) seems to get a bit jealous. Dewey is visibly still recovering from his injuries and walks with a bit of a limp. He reminds Sidney the killer is probably someone or someones she knows.

Gale tries to stage a confrontation between Sidney and Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) on camera and it does not go well. Sidney smacks the heck out of Gale and Cotton gets pretty upset Sidney was not told ahead of time.

Gale and Dewey reunite but it seems like their on again off again relationship is in the off stage. Dewey is pretty upset at how he was portrayed in her book.

With this little reunion set up, we have our principle players in place and a solid list of suspects.

The Stakes Are Raised

Sidney goes off to a sorority party not unlike the party she attended at Stu’s house in the first movie. Meanwhile, Cici is at home alone in her sorority and gets the dreaded phone call from the as yet unknown killer. It gets real when the caller knows her name, echoing the first film. Cici does some smart things and nearly evades the situation. In another nod to horror buffs, as Cici flips the channels on the television she lands on Nosferatu. Especially good since the actress we are watching here is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a perfect easter egg.

Cici is killed in a brutal fashion and this film proves, like the first film, while it can have fun and comedic moments, the violence is not a joke. The sorority gets wind of something happening and goes to see what is going on. Already on the scene is Debbie Salt talking to the police. It seems she’s able to scoop even Gale Weathers herself.

While Cici is only loosely connected to Sidney, the circle is closing and it’s clear the killing has only just begun.

Sidney is about to leave with her boyfriend when the phone rings. It’s the killer and this time there’s no doubt about it, this is not a prank call. Sidney is attacked and Derek goes in to protect her. Derek disappears down the hall as Dewey shows up. The killer gets away but Derek has his arm cut to shreds. He lives though. Considering Sidney’s past with Billy Loomis, she starts to suspect Derek could be in on this.

Sidney, her roommate Hallie (Elise Neil) and Mickey Altieri all have to go to the police station and give reports. Derek seems to be the prime suspect for the moment even though he didn’t seem to directly attack Sidney.

At the police station the police put up the victim names. Maureen Evans, Phil Stephens (Omar Epps), and CiCi Cooper. Gale asks if Cici is the girl’s real name and she’s told it’s actually Casey. Like Casey Becker. Maureen was Sidney’s mother’s name, Casey Becker’s boyfriend was named Stephen, and Cici is actually Casey. These victims are dying in the same order as the victims in the first film based on their names. Essentially, it seems like a copycat situation.

In fact, it’s such a copycat situation that just like in the first film. Sidney’s boyfriend is the prime suspect and narrowly escaped an attack from the presumed killer. It puts Derek in the position of being highly suspected since this is what Billy Loomis staged.

Sidney tells Derek he should stay away from her. It’s a little unclear if Sidney is suspicious of him or just protecting him but both would be valid feelings for her.

Gale tries to team up with Dewey once again to stop the killer.

Accusations start to fly amongst the group of college friends with Randy and Dewey being thrown up as possibilities.

The group are mostly together eating in the cafeteria when Derek decides to recreate a scene from Top Gun where Tom Cruise sings on top of a table to the woman he loves. It proves the filmmakers are fans not just of horror movies but all kinds of movies. However, in the context of a copycat serial killer on the loose, it does seem a bit creepy to do something that publicly in front of everyone. But it’s also just dorky enough to seem kind of sweet. Derek then gives his fraternity greek letters to Sidney for good luck to protect her. Apparently in the fraternity you aren’t supposed to do this but it’s also tradition to do it. At any rate, it gets the audience enough on Derek’s side to at least hope he’s not another Billy Loomis.

The Film within the Film goes Meta and Randy Gives the Rules

Honestly, there are so many layers to Scream films it’s kind of mind boggling. A great easter egg in the sequel is a throw away line from the first movie. In the first Scream Sidney laments that if there was a movie made about her, it would star Tori Spelling as Sidney. Sure enough, in the Stab movie we find out Sidney is played by Tori Spelling. And not only that, when Tori Spelling is being interviewed on the news as Tori Spelling, she talks about how she plays Sidney Prescott and literally gives away the entire plot of the first Scream. Then they play a clip of the Stab movie where Luke Wilson is playing opposite Tori Spelling as Billy Loomis. It’s hilarious how much these two actors do not look at all like teenagers and it’s so often true, not just in horror, the people playing teens tend to be much older than actual teenagers. Randy watches this clip and just says he’ll wait for it to be on video.

Randy then tells Dewey that someone is out to make a sequel. Which, of course they are, because this is the Scream sequel. He gives Dewey the rules which are as follows.

  1. The body count is always bigger
  2. Death scenes are always much more elaborate. More blood. More gore. Carnage candy, your core audience just expects it.
  3. If you want your sequel to become a franchise never ever assume the killer is dead.

That last rule he doesn’t actually finish saying in this scene because Dewey cuts him off trying to narrow down suspects but that is the rule. While the audience at this point is not sure about the first rule, considering the movie is not over, the second rule has already been followed. We saw a much more elaborate set and bloodier killings in the opening scene alone.

Randy goes through the list of suspects one by one, never really ruling anyone out. And, he admits that both he and Dewey could still be suspects. Randy also thinks it’s probably not Derek because having the boyfriend be the killer wouldn’t be breaking any new ground. Even Gale Weathers is not thrown out because she has motive for the killings to continue by wanting to write another hit book.

The Killer closes in

We see Sidney in her drama class, reluctant to keep her part with everything going on. Her teacher is a bit intense but convinces her to stay. Sidney acts in a scene where a bunch of her fellow actors are in masks and she sees the Ghostface mask on one of them as she’s going through the scene. It’s not perfectly clear if she just imagined this or not but it seems like someone is trying to get into her head at the very least. Backstage she meets Derek who isn’t supposed to be there at the time. Derek tells her Mickey had to edit so he came to escort her instead. Sidney kind of breaks up with Derek who takes it well enough but then leaves Sidney.

Out in the courtyard of the college, Gale, Dewey, Randy and Joel (Duane Martin), Gale’s cameraman, are all sitting around talking. It’s broad daylight, plenty of people around, and with an increased police presence due to what’s been going on. Randy is sure the killer is trying to finish what was started. Joel takes off as soon as they start talking about how Gale’s last cameraman died. Him leaving does a couple things in the scene. First, it establishes him as a possible suspect or possible victim. Second. it shows that if Joel is not the killer, he has the right mindset to get the heck out of the situation before he gets killed.

Then, Randy gets a call and it’s the killer. Gale, Dewey, and Randy all run around campus snatching cell phones out of people’s hands trying to find the killer. Randy keeps the killer on the line and taunts whoever it is by saying Billy and Stu were much more original, in yet another dig at sequels. Randy ends up at the news van and in a heartbreaking loss he’s killed by someone hiding there. Even as he is being stabbed, a group of people walk by, never even noticing what is happening. The movie is again showing us safe places where you wouldn’t expect people to die are not at all safe.

Meanwhile, Sidney is in the library when she gets a message on her screen from the killer. The cops guarding her look for whoever did it while Sidney ends up in a confrontation with Cotton Weary. Cotton basically wants Sidney to agree to an interview where they can both get paid a significant amount of money. Sidney tells him no but Cotton gets pretty agitated about it. The cops protecting Sidney arrest Cotton but the police have to let him go because there was no evidence against him for homicide. We know this does not necessarily mean he’s innocent considering Billy Loomis fooled the police in the last movie.

Gale does warn Cotton not to do anything stupid and then Gale is confronted by Debbie Salt once again. Gale has some pretty harsh words for Debbie. And Joel quits on Gale. However, on the bright side for Gale, Dewey seems to connect with her once again. And Gale and Dewey get the idea to look at the footage that Joel shot at the crime scenes.

More Die and the Killer is Revealed

Dewey and Gale find a place in the school they can watch the video. As the footage rolls they get to where they start to kiss and in one of the creepiest scenes of the movie, footage of them from behind starts to play. It’s reminiscent of when we saw the killer come up behind Randy in the first film. They catch on pretty quick to the fact the killer is in the building.

There’s a pretty intense chase scene where Dewey and Gale try to evade the killer. At one point Dewey is stabbed right in front of Gale where she has no hope of helping him. It’s kind of heartbreaking for a slasher film to be honest. Gale is obviously not out of danger here and she continues to run and/or hide from the killer.

For her part, Sidney is supposed to go off to somewhere safe with the cops protecting her. Derek says goodbye to her but Hallie goes with her. Seconds after they leave, Derek is grabbed by some frat boys, although it looks like the killer may have been in the background as well. Apparently, the frat boys grabbing Derek is the consequence of him giving up his Greek letters. He’s tied to a set piece in the theater and people haze him by throwing beer at him and stuff.

On the way to the safe place, the car Sidney is in is attacked by the killer and the two cops both die. Sidney and Hallie end up pinned in the back seat and basically have to crawl over an unconscious killer to get away. They do that in one of the most intense scenes in the whole movie and get away free, But, Hallie wants to leave immediately while Sidney feels like she has to know who the killer is. She goes back to pull off the mask but by the time she gets there the killer is gone. Before Sidney gets back to where Hallie is standing, Hallie is stabbed by the killer.

We then cut back to Gale who finds a bloody Cotton Weary who tries to explain he found Dewey and tried to help him. Gale runs outside screaming and bumps into Debbie Salt. Gale tells Debbie the killer is Cotton Weary.

Sidney runs into the theater at the school looking for her drama teacher, or I suppose anyone, to help her. Derek, tied up is dropped from the rafters and Sidney takes the duct tape off of him. The Ghostface killer shows up and takes off the mask to reveal Mickey Altieri, the crazed film student who Randy dismissed because if Mickey was a suspect, Randy would be. Mickey basically says Derek is his partner and Sidney hesitates just enough for Mickey to shoot Derek. Out of all the deaths around Sidney, this one had to hurt because it’s at least sort of her fault for not trusting him. But considering her past, how could she trust anyone?

Mickey basically says he wants to get caught and would blame the movies for his motivation. He thinks the real star power is in the trial these days rather than the movies. He goes so far as to speculate the Christian Coalition would pay for his bills. He then goes on to talk about Billy Loomis and Sidney just lets him talk for a bit. And then, in one of the most badass final girl lines every, Sidney says, “Yeah. well you’re forgetting one thing about Billy Loomis. I f–ing killed him.” And in a bit of poetic justice she smacks Mickey with Derek’s Greek letters and almost gets away.

But, suddenly Derek’s body gets pulled up into the rafters and we reveal who the partner in this movie was. At first, Gale walks out but behind her is Debbie Salt who Sidney immediately recognizes as Billy Loomis’ mother. Although, Sidney does say this is after a bit of weight loss and some plastic surgery. Mrs. Loomis then kills Mickey. She just wants revenge for the fact that Sidney killed Billy. She tries to set it up so that it looks like Sidney killed Mickey and was killed in a shootout.

Sidney is able to throw Mrs. Loomis off with a hey look behind you move and starts dropping parts of the theater set on her with the control panels. Mrs. Loomis is pinned under a bunch of stones and seems like she is down for the count. But she, of course, pops up again and nearly kills Sidney. Cotton Weary shows up with a gun in his hand. While Billy’s mom has Sidney at knife point, Cotton has her at gunpoint. Sidney agrees to do an interview with Cotton and he shoots Mrs. Loomis in the neck. Sidney makes Cotton give her the gun.

Gale, who had been shot somewhere in all of this makes it out alive. When Mickey pops up for one last scare, Gale and Sidney, who both have guns at this point do not hesitate to fill him full of lead. And Sidney, for good measure, puts a bullet in Mrs. Loomis’ head.

At the end, Joel comes back to join Gale, Dewey must have really been helped by Cotton because he makes it to the ambulance, and Sidney hands the spotlight over to Cotton by saying he’s the hero. Cotton ends it off by saying, “I’ll tell you one thing. It would make hell of a movie.”

The Lasting Impact of Scream 2

No one is ever going to say this film is more iconic than the first one. But, while the first film saved the slasher sub-genre, Scream 2 was careful enough not to destroy it. If this film had been poorly written and badly acted, there would have been no return of slasher films probably for at least another decade. If Scream was the CPR slashers needed to survive, Scream 2 was the slow IV drip to keep them hydrated. While I don’t think we can say Scream 2 is as impactful as the first, if you are a slasher fan, you have to be grateful for its existence.

A few Notes on the Film

While this is probably not the strongest of the Scream films, it’s not a bad entry, or even a bad follow up. It’s fairly easy to guess one of the killers here. Debbie Salt was just simply at too many crime scenes too quickly after the murders to not be the killer. But it’s harder to guess it was Mickey. And, the fact that one of the most interesting things about this movie is trying to figure out who the killer is, sets up Scream films as being great whodunnits on top of good slasher films.

I do think Laurie Metcalf overacts a bit in this film and that’s another reason Debbie Salt is easy to peg as the killer. She’s definitely able to be more subtle in other roles but here she just goes a bit overboard. It’s not enough to make the movie bad or anything but it could have been scaled down a bit.

Neve Campbell definitely solidifies her reputation as a great final girl in this movie and Gale and Dewey are both really likable here.

All in all this is a film that was good enough but maybe not great. I don’t think it surpasses the sequel and it is kind of annoying how the movie criticizes horror for not showing the black experience and then sidelines all of the black characters in the film. In some ways, this would have been a much more interesting film if it was about Maureen Evans and Phil Stevens. It could have become sort of an anthology franchise but that’s not the way the filmmakers went with it.

Still, this film again makes interesting commentary on whether we can blame the media (especially horror) for people doing bad things in reality. And it again compares and contrasts the frenzied fanbase of horror fans with those who criticize those films but still watch nightly news which arguably can have more blood showing and depict real events.

In Conclusion

While this is far from the best entry in the Scream franchise, it’s still a solid entry. It makes some mistakes (even ones committed by the first film) but it’s hard not to enjoy it. It still brings in a sense of fun and self awareness hard to find in any other franchise. Scream 2 was by no means a necessary entry in the horror genre but it did a good job rounding out some of the leading cast, surprising the audience just enough, and setting up the possibility of more Scream films. With each entry, Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers and Dewey all get to be better and more enjoyable characters with larger backstories. And, with the death of Randy, it does feel like the main cast are not necessarily safe in any upcoming sequels. I wouldn’t put this film on anyone’s required horror viewing list but if you are a fan of slashers and a fan of Scream at all, you’ll find at least something to enjoy.

So, did you ever watch this one? If so, do you think it lived up to the original or is it, as Randy says, “By definition alone, sequels are inferior films!” Let me know what you think in the comments.

Stab-ily yours,

Slick Dungeon


6 thoughts on “Scream 2 – Movie Review

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