MrSneakyMan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I remember the trailer when this came out has the scene with film nerd Randy setting the rules for the sequel. "Higher body count, more elaborate death scenes, more blood, more gore". It is what it says on the tin. And despite being a retread of the first film in all of the ways that matter, I think this one is a slightly better film.
It's more competently made. The irritating score by Marco Beltrami is back, but its annoyance factor is somewhat lessened by being more eclectic. Craven seems more confident with his blocking and set-piece staging. The acting is overall much better. A lot of that has to do with them killing off Skeet Ulrich and Mathew Lillard in the first film *spoilers. But there is a bit of restraint that the performances in this film have compared to the first one. They are still extremely broad and borderline cartoony, but just that hint of restraint pays dividends.
Liev Schreiber is usually great in everything but he is terrific in this.
It clocks in at 2 hours but there is enough happening that it never drags. 20 years on and my first full viewing of this was a blast. Can the franchise maintain it's velocity through the next film? I am dubious, but we shall see.