Despite the seemingly critical success of this inevitable sequel to the genre re-defining "Scream", there seems to be something amiss with this second entry in the franchise. Granted, I wasn't necessarily jumping on the praise-wagon with the original film, but "Scream 2" just doesn't quite have the knack or the sense of self to pull it off like it could have. This sequel has its moments, but it doesn't even quite live up to its predecessor.
Sidney (Campbell) has moved on from the Woodsboro murders and now attends a lovely little college in Ohio with new boyfriend Derek (O'Connell). Too bad when a film version of the events she lived through, so hilariously entitled 'Stab', kicks off another series of murders with Sidney once again in the center, its up to her and some friends both old and new to discover the new killer (or is it killers...again?) and survive the killer's attempts at a sequel.
What made the first film so original was its unoriginality and how it played fun at it. Self referencing itself through out, it played it as a semi-humorous take on Horror films that worked. Conceptionally, this should also work for a sequel right? When they do it, it does. The Randy character (Kennedy) and his Horror knowledge allows some insight in allowing this referencing to work. These moments worked for me. The rest of the film essentially did not. Although it does even have some nice scary moments and some nice visual work from Craven, this film seemed more interested in making itself a sequel rather than a self aware sequel. Which in the end hurts it.
It also much be added that the actual good parts of this film are seemingly fewer and further apart too. The actual scares and Horror chases seemed forced more often than not (although there are a couple of of ones that work like the Dewey/Gale attack in the sound booth) and the film rarely utilizes its setting, the college, in ways that would be reminiscent of the many college slasher it referenced at one point. The film also struggles to achieve the 'whodunnit' mystery that the first one was able to easily convey and achieves some stupidity moments in an effort to get there. Why bring the character Cotton back as a main character seemed idiotic and forced and the final reveal of the killers is bother completely obvious about half way through (for one) and completely out of the blue (for the other). It just doesn't work.
The cast is once again pretty damn solid, adding in some nice young people that would go on to be genre regulars like Timothy Olyphant, and bringing back some from before. It's pretty awesome that your entire supporting cast is solid to help out poor Neve whom easily comes off as one of the weaker actors.
"Scream 2" just suffers from trying too hard to be its own franchise and not trying hard enough to utilize its own concept to self reference itself. The writing is forced too much and it just never properly runs with what it could have been. Its not super bad, it has its moments that work, but it rarely is able to put together a solid film.
BONUS RANT: Why the hell did they drop the entire 'Stab' concept after the first third of the film? It was kind of a clever way to work that Horror-movie-theme into the sequel and it just sort of gets pushed to the wayside. I would have liked to see a few more references to it, or better yet more scenes from it like the hilarious one with Luke Wilson.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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