90’s Slasher Throwback: “Scream 2”

“By definition alone, [sequels] are inferior films.” Randy, “Scream 2”

Who would have thought that a small, low-budget horror movie named “Scream” would forever change the horror movie genre? When it was released in 1996, the small film was expected to do about $20 million at the box office and have a fast flight to video. The movie ended up grossing over $103 million ($171 million in today’s dollars) and spend nearly five months in the box office top 10. It achieved something that most horror movies do not: excellent reviews and terrific word-of-mouth. Less than one year later, director Wes Craven and company would be back in theaters will the cleverly titled “Scream 2”. Does “Scream 2” live up to the name of the original or does it die trying? Now that the horror meta movement has come and gone, how does it hold up as a slasher sequel to one of the most influential horror films in history?

“Scream 2” opens two years after the terrifying events that occurred in Woodsboro. Sidney is now attending Windsor College with long time friend and horror movie pal Randy. Meanwhile, Gale Weathers best selling book on Sidney’s life has now been made into a major motion picture. When two college students are killed in a theatre while watching the new film “Stab,” Sidney soon realizes that history is repeating itself again. Gale Weathers is present around the college reporting on the latest gruesome details that her movie has sparked. Sidney’s cop buddy Dewey comes to visit Sidney after he hears the news also. No one believes the murders were in any way connected to Woodsboro, until more students around the campus are found dead. Gale and Dewey investigate and find that someone is trying to recreate Woodsboro. Sidney is no rookie when it comes to surviving a killer but someone wiser is on campus to show her some good old fashion revenge.

Although at times I feel as though I am in the minority, I truly believe that “Scream 2” is the best film in the Scream franchise. This is that rare sequel that takes everything that works about its predecessor and manages to take it to another level. The deaths are suspenseful, the characters are charming and likable, and the twist ending works better than it has any right to. I also truly believe that this is some of Craven’s finest directing and the “cop car” scene is a hide-your-eyes-behind-your-fingers chiller of a scene. More than that, this film is just a hell of a lot of fun from beginning to end.