Saturday, May 18, 2013

Movie Review: Scream 2

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters growth, laughs.  Oh yeah, and screams.
Cons: A bit repetitive after the original
The Bottom Line:
Stabbing and stabbing
Sidney's being stalked again
Guess the killer now

"The Entire Horror Genre was Destroyed by Sequels."

After the surprise success of Scream in 1996, a sequel was a given.  Probably the biggest surprise was the quick turnaround time.  Scream 2 came out a year later.  Granted, this isn't the first time a slasher sequel has rushed through production.  But despite the rush, this one turned out to satisfy this fan of the original.

It's been two years since the horrid events in Woodsboro, and most of the survivors have tried to put the events behind them.  Reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) has written a book about the events that has been turned into the new movie Stab.  Opening weekend, two viewers are brutally killed in a theater in the college town where Sidney (Neve Campbell) and Randy (Jamie Kennedy) attend classes.

Try as they might to ignore it, there is soon evidence that a copy cat killer is on the loose in their town.  With Dewey (David Arquette) back in the mix, the entire group of survivors have reunited.  Has one of them gone over the edge?  Or is someone out to get revenge on them?  Or maybe the killer has been inspired by Stab?  Will any of them survive long enough to figure it out?

Instead of just making another sequel, this one tried hard to continue the story.  I feel it really works.  Without giving too much away, the motives involved in the deaths certainly follow issues brought up in the first movie.

Where I really felt the continuation worked was the characters.  Time was actually put into figuring out where the characters would go from here.  Sidney most noticeably has a very hard time trusting people again, something that comes back to bite her.  She is still strong enough to face down a psychopath, but she has some emotional trouble getting there.  The other character who really grows is Liev Schreiber's Cotton Weary.  Cotton really just had a cameo part in the original movie, but Liev is able to make him into a full character here.  The rest of the returning cast develops some, from Dewey's laughable limp (the result of being stabbed in the back?) to a better sense of self for Randy.  Only Gale's character development felt a little forced to me.

But who cares about the characters, this is a slasher film, right?  And as such, it is definitely scary.  Or at least it was for me, Mr. Chicken.  While there are only a couple of memorable kills, there are several edge of your seat, nail biting suspense scenes.  Granted, getting the characters into those situations was a little unbelievable, but the result makes it worth it for me.  There's one death that still upsets me over a decade later, but it also upped the stakes in the rest of the film for me.  And this was the one movie in the series that left me sleepless for several nights after I first watched it.

And, being a Scream movie, there are still plenty of laughs.  From Randy's favorite scary movie to the ditzy sorority girls, there are some true laugh out loud moments between the scares.  They also work in some nice movie and pop culture references, too.

Slashers are notorious for their poor acting, but that's not the case here.  The entire cast is made up of people who can act, and it shows.  Actually, that's partially what makes the character development seem so real, these actors can pull it off while also making us scared at the same time.

Of course, this is a rated R movie, mostly for the foul language and gory violence.  At times I'm surprised I enjoy this franchise so much since I usually shy away from these things automatically, but this is the one place where I make an exception.

As much as I have praised this film for being a continuation, I will admit parts of it do still feel formulaic and copy cat from the first one.  Then again, it is a slasher.  I mean, the whole point is to have a psycho killing a bunch of people, right?

If your idea of fun is watching a bunch of people get killed, Scream 2 will keep you happy.  Because of how it continues the story, it really does work best when watched after the original.

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