Scream 2

Scream 2

Scream 2. (Umpteenth watch). Craven's gorgeous, deeply red-flavored sequel, is the Scream movie I always want to watch (due to the legendary 6th grade sleepover when I first saw it) and it's always the one that I reluctantly have to admit leaves me the most disappointed in the end (I'm even warming up to Scream 3 as the go-to in the series), the "end" being a good 40+ minutes of the back half - it starts off incredibly strong, expanding the terrain of moving images beyond cinema to media (both mass media and technology. i.e film school) and various forms of representation (the "sequels suck" joke is just a joke; the reality TV/True Crime angle is where the film has its heart; Robert Rodriguez in-movie "Stab", calling out Scream itself as pop culture junk and seemingly parodying Craven's own, very rough A Nightmare on Elm Street, with Tori Spelling doing a great Heather Lagenkamp impression) yet as the plot strands grow increasingly cluttered (the killer's "pattern", how he ostensibly kills people by name, "recreating Woodsboro", is the most useless piece of information the movie lends us) Craven/Williamson lose not only the momentum of the story, they also sever the intertextual commentary from the first one - the cast keeps that perfect psych-profile intact, beautifully developing their character arcs (especially given how rushed this production was), but they have lost all of that reflexive edge, since they now deal mainly within the discourse of media and moralism, real life rather than movies, with gallant sir Dewey limping from a severed nerve and wincing at the mention of his slain sister; the movie is more an answer to Natural Born Killers than it is to Scream (which is why it is ironic that Craven got flak for movie violence after the Columbine shootings) and most frustrating, the key reason the film gets stuck in the mud, is that these themes were handled with more clarity in Williamson's original screenplay (that was drastically changed after Internet script leaks) - everything from the ongoing racial angle to "life imitating art" and media bloodlust is actually going somewhere, only not in the finished film sadly; in the first script, the killer/s refer back to Natural Born Killers themselves and complain that Oliver Stone's work is "overwrought" while Sidney tells them that their plan "will never go" and "they'll rewrite you" - the most ironic line in all of unfilmed cinema history.

Context

Wes Craven

Arbogast liked these reviews