Adam Hursey’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie really woke up and chose violence...
While the first Scream, as a film release, was a slow building little film that caught fire by unbelievably high praise word of mouth, Scream 2 was built to be a money-grabbing juggernaut. So of course I was there opening night! A good time was had by all! But I didn't think it nearly reached the heights of the first film and I don't think so now either.
This film is 2 hours long! Why? Even with all of that screen time, the ending still feels rushed. We get a bunch of new characters that ultimately don't matter much. We get a lot of running. We get a lot of set pieces that could have probably been trimmed or omitted. We get a song by The Dave Matthews Band. We get a reference to Black Christmas that I didn't get at the time. We get a shout out for Graduation Day and Final Exam that I hadn't seen at the time but now I'm glad they get referenced here. Overall, we get a lot in a genre where sometimes less is more.
We don't get a lot of the things that made the first Scream great however. The film kind of abandons the most interesting aspects (at least for me) early. I want to know more about Stab. I wanted the film to make more meta references to sequels--we really only get the one scene in the film theory class where they talk about how sequels suck. I wanted a mention of how they are usually just money grabs, usually rushed into production to capitalize while the iron is still hot (as was the case with this film). I wanted them to mention how sequels amp up the gore to replace storytelling. With a little bit stronger of a set up, I think the carnage that follows would have played better (again, for me) rather than just a slice and dice splatterfest with remnants of characteristics that made the first film great.
But the film still works overall. As far as sequels go. I think it succeeds by giving the audience of the day what they wanted--an event.