Scream 2 (R)
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This came out in 1997, just a year after the first movie. I'm not at all sure whether or not I had seen it before I watched it on DVD in 2018. Whereas the first movie reinvigorated and to some extent reinvented the horror genre through meta self-awareness and whatnot, I'd say the most meta thing about the sequel is its awareness of... well, sequels. (At one point, students in a college film class debate the possibility of sequels being good, and name several sequels they considered better than the original films in various series.) To me, it all had a bit of a "been there, done that" vibe, so I couldn't see it as being quite as good as the first "Scream" film (though some people might disagree). Still, I did think it was pretty good.
Well, to set up the premise of this film, I'll have to spoil some things about the first one. The only students to survive the Woodsboro killings were Sidney and Randy, both of whom are now attending Windsor College. And it turned out there were two killers in the first movie: Sidney's boyfriend, Billy, and their friend Stu. So, if someone is trying to copycat them in the sequel, one might assume there will once again be two killers working together. And, of course, that the killers would already be within their victims' circle of friends. But you never know. There could still be surprises in store. Meanwhile, the movie doesn't begin with familiar characters. It begins with a couple of students from Windsor College, Maureen Evans (Jada Pinkett) and Phil Stevens (Omar Epps) going to the movies on a date. Maureen would like to see some Sandra Bullock movie, but Phil insists on seeing the new horror movie "Stab," which is based on a book called "The Woodsboro Murders," by Gale Weathers. Maureen really doesn't want to see it, because she doesn't like being scared, but she agrees anyway. And the audience is full of people wearing Ghostface costumes, with toy knives, all acting like the killers from the first movie, which obviously makes things worse. And of course, Phil and Maureen end up becoming the first two victims of the copycat killer.
Of course, these murders get the press interested in Woodsboro survivors Sidney and Randy. And Gale comes to town to cover the story for the news, though she herself is now part of the story. She's assigned a local cameraman named Joel Jones, who really doesn't like getting mixed up in such a dangerous situation. At first, Gale was just planning to conduct an interview with Sidney, as well as Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), who was released from prison after it was learned that he was innocent of killing Sidney's mother. But Gale didn't tell Sidney that Cotton would be involved, and being surprised by that made her angry. Meanwhile, Cotton just wants to get on TV as much as possible, to clear his name in more people's minds. Also, Dewey comes to town to make sure Sidney is alright, now that there's a copycat killer. And he is angry at Gale for things she said about him in her book. And Sidney is currently dating a guy named Derek Feldman (Jerry O'Connell), who also wants to protect Sidney... but considering her last boyfriend turned out to be a serial killer, she can't be sure whether or not she can trust him. Other members of Sidney's current circle of friends include Hallie McDaniel (Elise Neal) and Mickey Altieri (Timothy Olyphant). And Gale has to contend with a local reporter named Debbie Salt. (She's played by Laurie Metcalf, though the whole time I was watching the movie, I would have sworn it was Kim Rhodes.)
Hallie wants Sidney to pledge a sorority with her. One of the members of the sorority is Cici Cooper (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who is also in a film class with Randy and Mickey. (There were of course several other students in that class, one of whom was played by Joshua Jackson.) I definitely found Gellar being in this movie meta, both because of her starring in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and because she was in I Know What You Did Last Summer, which came out the same year as this movie, and which had been made possible by the success of the first "Scream." Anyway... I guess that's all I want to say about her, but I did want to mention some other actors. There are other sorority members of minor importance, Lois (Rebecca Gayheart) and Murphy (Portia de Rossi). And Sidney is starring in a school play about Cassandra, which is directed by Mr. Gold (David Warner). Also there were some familiar actors playing characters from the first movie in what little we saw of "Stab," including Tori Spelling as Sidney, Luke Wilson as Billy, and Heather Graham as Casey.
And... I guess I don't want to say much more; certainly I'm not going to tell you who the killer(s) is/are. Of course there are more killings, and attempted killings, but I won't say who dies and who survives. Anyway, the movie is reasonably scary, and dramatic, and there's some humor, and I dunno... it's just fun.