Scream 2 (1997) – Wes Craven

In 1996, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson delivered the game-changing Scream, a meta horror movie that was a hit with audiences and critics alike. And it seemed before the opening weekend was over, that a second film was already being lined up for the cameras.

Looking back, I think if they had made us wait an additional year between the first two films, it may have played better. But one year after Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) encountered GhostFace, and had a horrible ending to her high school years, and probably countless sessions with a therapist, she’s off to university, and it’s two years later in-universe.

The movie, Stab, based on the Woodsboro murders of the first film, and written up as a tell all book by shill reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) is hitting the big screen, and Sidney is getting phone calls again about what her favorite scary movie is. She charts it up to the opening weekend of the Stab movie, but when a pair of fellow students are murdered at the screening (Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett Smith), Sidney soon finds herself being hunted by a new killer, hiding under the GhostFace mask.

It’s a solid sequel, though Randy (Jamie Kennedy) points out that sequels by definition (with the rare exception) are inferior films, and squeezes in countless recognizable names in faces alongside returning cast members David Arquette and Liev Schreiber. A few are blink and miss its and some have a little more meat to their roles; Joshua Jackson, Jerry O’Connell, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Timothy Olyphant, Laurie Metcalf, Portia de Rossi, Owen Wilson, Tori Spelling and Rebecca Gayheart all make appearances, and spout Williamson’s meta dialogue with ease,

The film plays not only with the rules of the horror genre, but those that apply to sequels as well, which doesn’t quite telegraph who the killers are, but definitely makes a suggestion as to who it may be.

I love that the film series has its own movie within a movie, that makes things even more meta, we’re watching a movie, in a movie, about the characters in that movie. The series is smart, but not too smart, makes references that, for the most part, have stood the test of time, and makes nods to horror franchises and their enduring longevity, and their need to change to reflect the times.

It had been forever since I had watched this one, and I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed it, while still ouching over the temp track use of Han Zimmer’s score of Broken Arrow for Dewey’s (Arquette) Theme. And I was equally stunned by how many familiar names were in the film, there is so many, and they all seem to be having a great time acting scared in a Wes Craven film.

Sounds like a Scream to me!

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