Monday, July 28, 2014

#1,442. Scream 2 (1997)

Directed By: Wes Craven

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette

Tag line: "Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far"

Trivia: The cast were not informed of the identity of the killer until the last day of principal photography

It’s been two years since the tragic Woodsboro murders, and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is trying to move on with her life. Now in college, she and fellow survivor Randy (Jamie Kennedy) hope to put the past behind them. This is easier said than done, however, seeing as a new movie inspired by the killings and based on the best-selling novel by Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) has just hit theaters, and is a box-office hit. To make matters worse, a copycat killer (right down to the Ghostface mask) is on the loose, and has already murdered several students at the college. Worried about Sidney’s safety, Officer Dewey (David Arquette) turns up at the school, and, along with Sidney’s boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) does what he can to keep her safe. But as the body count rises, it becomes clear that, if Sidney is to survive this latest onslaught, she’ll have to take matters into her own hands.

Whereas Scream laid out the rules for surviving a horror film, Scream 2 reveals the standard practices of a sequel (and as you can imagine, the film adheres to them perfectly). According to Jaime Kennedy’s Randy, a successful horror sequel requires: 

1. A higher body count. While the opening sequence of the original Scream is certainly unforgettable, Scream 2 also opens in violent fashion, taking out college students Phil (Omar Epps) and Maureen (Jada Pinkett Smith) as they’re attending the premiere of the movie-within-a-movie (appropriately titled Stab). In fact, if you include what’s happening on the big screen when these murders take place, Scream 2 opens with three killings. From there, the bodies continue to pile up.

2. More elaborate death scenes, with more blood and gore – Along with the two kills at the movie theater, which have their fair share of blood (Phil’s death is particularly tough to watch), a later victim (one of Sidney’s sorority sisters) isn’t just stabbed; she’s thrown from a balcony!

3. Never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead – In what is easily the movie’s most intense scene, Sidney and her good friend Hallie (Elise Neal) are trapped in a police car with Ghostface, who, after crashing the vehicle, is lying unconscious in the driver’s seat. To escape, they have to crawl over the killer’s limp body. But is he dead, or just temporarily knocked out?

Its self-referential tendencies aside, Scream 2 features a number of fine performances, from both the returning cast and its new additions (Timothy Olyphant is superb as Mickey, Sidney’s movie-obsessed college chum, and Liev Schrieber’s Cotton Wehry, who was wrongly accused of murdering Sidney’s mother, has more screen time than he did in the first). With all of these key elements in place, Scream 2 proves itself an excellent sequel, and a movie that’s every bit as entertaining as the original

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