Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scream 2 (1997)

Review #0012

Craven and Williamson come back in great shape for this slightly superior sequel that opens with an exhilarating sequence set at the premiere of "Stab", the movie adaptation of "The Woodsboro Murders" by Gale Weathers. Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett are the first two victims of the Ghostface copycat killer, proving Jada's contention that "African-Americans are misrepresented in the horror genre" (the only other Black character in the film being a clichéd cameraman). Cut to Sidney in loose, grey underwear (it's a shame she didn't get the Ripley treatment here...). Now a drama student at Windsor College, she is very much trying to get her life back on tracks. But the killer (or killers) will do anything to prevent it. Most of the cast for this film is comprised of returning characters, including Randy, Dewey, Gale and Cotton Weary (who's now got a primary role), all of which have evolved, and thus become rounder. Arquette is a hoot once again, plus he now has his own heroic theme song (!). Cox is great as the resurrected Weathers, now a self-styled, best-selling author, and Kennedy also as Randy, who dispenses yet another relevant set of rules pertaining to horror films. The self-referential style is back also. This time around, the film showcases many levels of mise-en-abîme, all of which function flawlessly. The discussion about the effects of film violence, and the legitimacy of sequels that the characters engage in directly partakes in the drama. It seems we are constantly in the backstage of some spectacle-in-a-spectacle, be it the film "Stab", a crude parody of the first film (an excerpt from which provides the comical high point of the film - think Wilson and Spelling), or the school play starring Sidney (as Cassandra, no less), which provides the setting for the final confrontation (a showcase of Craven's directorial flair). And although the ending is more than lackluster, the journey was well worth it.