Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

03 February 2008

Scream 2, dir. Wes Craven (1997)

STEVE says:
There are things about Scream 2 that I liked, and there are things that just didn't work at all.

The good bits are the returning characters, Sidney, Dewey, Randy and Gale Weathers. They're not unlikable, and we care about their fate - unlike the characters in most other slasher movies these days.

The pop culture references are still there, but not in the same in-your-face kind of way they were in the first film. We've done that already, Scream 2 seems to say, we don't need to push it.

And even the bits that didn't work out didn't detract from the film. The opening scene, for example, doesn't work. I've never been to a premiere where the point of the evening is not to watch the movie, but to run up and down the aisles screaming like idiots. But I have limited life experience, so I'll let that one pass. The idea that the killer is somehow trying to replay the murders from the first film by killing off characters with similar names in the same order is pointed out, then dropped. There's no point to this, but it's also insane. What are the odds that the killer would find a Maureen and a corresponding Stephen (or in this case a surname, Stephens) who happen to be dating, and who happen to have gone to the premiere of Stab, the movie about the events from the first film? Slim to fucking none, is what. And that his third victim, Casey, happens to be the "sober sister" on the night of a sorority party, hence the only one home alone to be killed is equally as ludicrous.

But I say again, these things don't necessarily detract from the film. Okay, the killer thing doesn't quite work. In Scream we were told pretty much from the word Go that Billy Loomis was the killer, and this point is reiterated several times throughout the film, no matter how much evidence is presented against. When he turns out to be the killer, we're surprised, but we're also kicking ourselves for not seeing it sooner. Watching Scream with the knowledge that Billy and his pal Stu are in on it together, you can see that they don't really ever try to hide it. The scene in the video store where they're both intimidating Randy gives it away - if you know what you're looking for.

But in Scream 2, the killers are just kind of thrown at you in the end. Olyphant's Mickey is introduced early on, listed as a suspect, then dismissed because his being a suspect also makes Randy a suspect. So we just move on, and only see Mickey maybe two or three more times for probably as many minutes before the big reveal. There's no development at all. The same is true of his partner, Mrs. Loomis. She's seen as a reporter throughout the movie, then - Surprise! She's not who we told you she was.

Unlike the first movie, there was no chance of piecing this one together, and that's kind of cheating so it loses points on that score. But I still think it's fun, and that's it's a logical extension of the events from the first, so for me it balances out.


NIKKI says:
Wow, I thought I liked this movie way more than I apparently do. Watching this time, the first time in quite a few years, I found myself, more and more, picking out just what I dislike about it, from the stupid opening bit in movie theatre with Jada Pinkett, to the unsatisfying ending.

Between viewings, it just all went to crap, I guess.

Basically, where the first film riffed on horror films, this one has a go at their sequels. I now find the sequel-humour really quite twee. In a sequel, Randy tells us, there's more blood, a higher body count, and everyone is, once again, a suspect. Only that's not how I read most sequels. Usually, the cast is all different, the blood and body counts are similar, because sequels are usually replicas just with slightly altered settings and personalities. Wasn't the second Friday still set at the Lake? Wasn't the second Nightmare still about the knife-guy invading people's dreams? I don't know, but the po-mo hilarity of the first movie just does not translate because you just know it wasn't the filmmakers' intent to make a sub-par movie, which, this being a sequel, it has no choice but to be. It was like, let's riff on sequels and then... not.

Sadly, this one is just poorly written all together. The eventual killer is barely in the thing, and his partner sticks out as a suspect from way early on simply because, at the time, she (like everyone else here) was a famous TV star, only NOT a TV star likely to show up in a film like this for nothing. So, the conclusions led to here are all very ho-hum. The stand-out feature in this one is Jerry O'Connell as the boyfriend. I almost wish he was the killer in the end, instead his niceness and humour add up to nothing as he's laid to waste like some other characters we actually liked (Randy, for instance).

So, no. Does not live up either to it's predecessor, or to my original feelings. It did give the world Timothy Olyphant, and for that we are grateful.


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