Monday, June 30, 2014

Scream 2 - Review - @BrandonCSites

Scream 2 (1997) ***1/2
D: Wes Craven
C: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Elise Neal, Jerry O' Connell, Timothy Olyphant, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Liev Schreiber, Laurie Metcalf, Omar Epps, Rebecca Gayheart, Portia de Rossi, Tori Spelling, Joshua Jackson, Heather Graham, Luke Wilson, Kevin Williamson

Plot Synopsis: Two years after the first series of murders, a new psychopath dons the Ghostface costume and a new string of killings begin. 

Review: The original Scream gave the horror genre a much needed shot of adrenaline and in the process, it changed people's perceptions of what a slasher film could be. The film was nothing short of groundbreaking and saw numerous films rip it off and even spoof it in the years that followed. With that said, a sequel was inevitable. 

In a key scene, Neve Campbell's character contemplates dropping out of a theatrical production involving the Greek figure of Cassandra during the midst of another series of copycat killings that resemble the ones seen in the original Scream. The play's director, played by David Warner, explains to Campbell that Cassandra was a woman who knew her fate, embraced it and didn't hide from it. Plus, they don't have an understudy, so they can't afford to have her drop out. With that said, I guess it was Campbell's fate to reprise the role of Sidney Prescott in a sequel released hot off the heals of the success of the original Scream. Or maybe they didn't have an understudy?!?

In Scream 2, both the killer and the victims to be know the rules of horror sequels. There needs to be more blood, more gore, more humor, more insider jokes, longer and more elaborate games of cat & mouse, bigger set pieces, more red herrings, more of everything! And in that regard, Scream 2 delivers the goods and then some. At one point, Scream 2 achieves an epic like quality amongst horror sequels as the suspense comes to a frenzy. 

Most will be quick to point out that a sequel to a groundbreaking horror film can never be as groundbreaking as the original. And while I agree to a certain extent, the principal idea in Scream 2 is that the characters are aware that they're in a sequel and thus aware of the rules of a sequel. This is a sequel about sequels and of the cynical appeal of sequels. The film is quick to point out any observations that you might have of sequels before you even have the chance to do so yourself. That was quite ground breaking in of itself. Even to this day, the affect of this film can be felt. Just go to your local multiplex, during the middle of the summer for all the evidence that you need.

In the midst of all this, the media is all over the place. After all, murder is the next big trend. Gale Weathers, as played by Courtney Cox, has even managed to write her own tell all book about the proceedings of the first film in a book entitled Stab which, in turn, has been turned into a movie that audiences are eating up. After all, as Gale says, Stab is going to break box office records, very much like Scream 2 did in its very own time.

The key to a strong sequel is to take the jest of the original and than expand upon that. Scream 2 does exactly that in skewering sequels, the media and general human behavior. In an earlier scene, various characters discuss how sequels can never be as good as there original counterpart, but in the case of Scream 2, it makes a valid argument that they can be. [R] 120 mins.

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