Scream 2 Review

This review contains plot spoilers for the original Scream, but Scream 2 assumes you've seen that already. This sequel takes place two years later. At a sneak preview of Stab, the film based on the book about the earlier events written by Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), a masked killer murders students Maureen (Jada Pinkett) and Phil (Omar Epps). Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is now in college and has a boyfriend called Derek (Jerry O'Connell). Already having to face media attention due to the release of Stab, she fears that a copycat killer is after her.

Directed again by Wes Craven and written a second time by Kevin Williamson, Scream 2 takes even further the self-referentiality of is predecessor. There's the film (Stab) within the film (Scream 2) based on this film's prequel (we see extracts with Tori Spelling as Sidney and a bewigged Heather Graham as Casey, played by Drew Barrymore in Scream). As film student Randy (Jamie Kennedy) explains, a sequel has to be bigger and more elaborate than its progenitor. Scream 2 is about half an hour longer than the movies it references but it's slick, clever and well paced. Even so, it falls into a number of set pieces. The eleven-minute opening sequence is a good example, and credit is due to Jada Pinkett for bringing genuine pain and loss to what could have simply become ingrowing cleverness. It's a well-executed suspense sequence that deliberately comments on the lack of black faces in horror films – presumably the reason why Sidney has a black roommate, Hallie (Elise Neal). The second stalk-and-slash sequence, featuring Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar) alone in a sorority house is rather more standard. Neve Campbell is stuck with a role that's mostly reactive until the finale, where she displays previously hidden talents for kickboxing.

Like the Region 2 Scream disk, the film is in the correct ratio of 2.35:1. The transfer is non-anamorphic, though it's sharp and colourful with a minimum of artefacts. The soundtrack is much more effective, with the surrounds used in key sequences to keep the audience on edge. A short extract from Sidney's college theatre production will give your speakers a workout. There are twenty-one chapter stops, which isn't really enough: chapter 2 (the opening sequence), for example, lasts more than ten minutes. The menu is no more than functional. The chapters are illustrated by stills on-screen, listed by title inside the box, and in both cases give away key plot elements. There are no extras, which is less of a disparity with the present Region 1 version, which only includes the trailer. It's an entertaining film, especially for horror fans who will get all the references, but as before, a bare-bones disk isn't really worth the asking price.

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