Scream 2

Scream 2 ★★★★

The most notable moment in this film is probably the discussion in the film class about sequels and whether they are inherently inferior to their predecessors. And at least some might be willing to argue that this film is in that small class of sequels that are better than the original. I am not in that camp, but i do think this film is just as smart and funny as the first, and in some ways even more interesting. One of the reasons for this is the fact that this film gets even deeper into the media circus surrounding tragedies. Where we once only had Gale Weathers, we now have a group of reporters all looking to become the next Weathers, and Gale still defending her position. Gale is probably the most interesting character here, as she really gets a character arc, moving away from the reporter just doing whatever it takes to get a story into a person who is actually tied into this, and develops a bit more conscience about her role as a reporter(but not before selling the film rights to her book). In discussing the media circus, we have to reflect on the claims of copycat crimes from this series, specifically the murder of Gina Castillo and the murder of Ashley Murray. But let's remember Billy Loomis's line from the first movie: "Movies don't create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative." So let's get back to the media circus, because that is an element of this film that feels even more potent today, with the 24 hour news cycle that is always on the look out for the sensational story, rather than the important one. And with the current slate of white nationalist terrorism, there are discussions happening around how we should talk about these horrific crimes, often with the goal of preventing the copycats and not platforming the hate that the terrorists wanted to spread. This is discussed really well in this essay from Father Son Holy Gore(fathersonholygore.com/2017/02/06/why-scream-2-is-better-than-people-are-willing-to-admit/).
So now the film itself. We have some more use of postmodernism, especially with the inclusion of the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, which tells the story of a wife killing to avenge the death of her child.I don't know if Craven was thinking about this at all, but these two films play as sort of a reverse Friday the 13th to me. The opening scene also features a commentary on the role of black people in horror, and even though this scene falls into the trap of killing a black character first, later on we have the black cameraman survive by doing the smart thing and taking a taxi away from the whole mess. One of the things I really like about these films is that they are named Scream, rather than something like Ghost Face. This allows the focus to shift from the monstrous bad guy to Sidney, our character that transcends the role of final girl. Here, she shares some of the same desensitization as her peers, but this actually aids her in surviving. It's interesting that she and Gale Weathers seem to move towards convergence in their personalities, with Sidney becoming more hardened and Gale more sympathetic. Overall, just as with the first, this film is really entertaining and pretty interesting as well.