Scream 2

Scream 2 ★★★★

Somehow even more 90s than the first movie, although the narrative beats are a bit more surface-level (especially with the race stuff?) so this leans a bit more towards looking dated. It's especially jarring in the dialogue. It just isn't delivered as well, which really puts a damper in the social commentary. It's a strong signal that a lot of those characters are mere cannon fodder, an oversight that is distinctly evaded in the first film. There aren't as many subversions in this one, and some characters clearly exist solely to get killed or to act as red herrings, so they were sorely lacking in character development and thus there wasn't really much tension leading up to and during their demise. No matter how well-choreographed their scenes were, there wasn't any narrative resonance to them so they fell flat. Speaking of those scenes, I feel like the action in this is generally not as well-executed as in the first either, but they remedy that slightly with more gore and more inventive deaths.

Still, it's a fairly original script led by a steady hand, even if the delivery is a bit lopsided. The plot is a little nuts, if not vaguely predictable, but luckily there are some truly winsome scenes in this. In particular, the chemistry between Gale and Dewey is the strongest narrative thread, and David Arquette really shines through with the character work. Neve Campbell's scene as Medea was wonderfully shot, too, and Jada Pinkett-Smith was surprisingly effective in the beginning. It would've been nice if the rest of the cast got the same level of material so this could've been tighter, but it's still very much enjoyable.

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