OCTOBER 28, 2007
The only time I ever dressed up for a movie was for Scream 2. And by dress up, I mean: “Wore my Ghostface mask in the lobby for a few minutes”. This was also the days when I didn’t care about spoilers... I had read the script beforehand and even asked someone on their way out if the killer in the script was the killer in the movie (note – it wasn’t). Needless to say, I was pretty excited for the film.
I wasn’t let down too much, and over time I have grown to really like the sequel, almost as much as the original. It’s not as clever as the first one was (though you gotta love a sequel in which characters try to think of sequels that surpassed the original), but it’s still an effective slasher (the 3rd film was neither). And it contains what I still consider to be the most horrifying death in slasher history – Randy. Everyone loved Randy (particularly me, who, like the character, was a movie nerd who worked at a video store and was in love with Neve Campbell), and even now, having seen the film probably half a dozen times, I still sort of hope he’ll survive this time around (imagine if “Navigational Cinema” was employed in a film that was actually good?). His death also results in a true slasher movie rarity – a character’s death actually resonating. There’s a scene shortly after where Sidney says that she could call Randy’s mother, only to discover Dewey already took care of it for her.
Dewey’s character isn’t as dumb in this movie, and his role as Sidney’s sort of big brother/protector is a nice touch. How he manages to survive AGAIN is pretty baffling, but I cheered (along with the rest of the theater) all the same. Also, his “theme” is none other than the amazing Broken Arrow theme by Hans Zimmer. Apparently, they used the score during editing as temp music, but everyone liked it so much that they actually licensed it. As great as the music is, it’s sort of distracting. It happens a lot in films, but usually in an ironic manner (such as having the Darth Vader music play over the introduction of a goofy villain); when it’s a more or less serious situation, the borrowed cues are rarely recognizable, at least to me.
One strange, never fully explained concept was that the killer(s) in this film were killing people with the same names as the victims in the first film. It’s dropped and never mentioned again as soon as it’s brought up, and damned if it ever made much sense to me. Plus, how the hell did they manage to find a couple who happened to share the same names as Sidney’s mother and Casey’s boyfriend? Why strain credibility if you’re not even going to really do anything with it?
Otherwise, solid stuff here. I liked most of the characters (except Debbie Salt, but I guess that’s sort of the point), and there are some terrific set-pieces (particularly the Dewey and Gale in the film building chase) that rival anything in the original. Like the Saw films, Scream 2 came out a year to the day after the first one, so it’s even sort of more impressive how well it came together. Especially when you consider that they took 2 and a half years to make the third and it was total shit.
The DVD has what has to be my favorite TV spot of all time. Eschewing almost every possible reference to the killer (or even horror at all), the spot just sort of makes the film look like it’s a romantic thriller about Jerry O’Connell and Neve Campbell’s characters, with O’Connell saying things like “I am here for you!” and Neve looking all damsel-y while Collective Soul yammers on about flowers. Yet it still has the same “SCREAM 2, RATED R!” voiceover that accompanied the more truthful spots. I highly urge you to check it out. This is back when TV spots were a standard feature on special edition DVDs, something that has been sort of phased out over the years (as has listing “3D Motion Menus” as a goddamn special feature, thankfully).
What say you?