Paul Hibbard’s review published on Letterboxd:
I remember this movie being a worthy follow-up to the first, but not worth revisiting. But after 20 years, I revisited it, and was I ever wrong. Scream 2 is outstanding.
Firstly, as good as the opening of the first Scream was, the opening in part 2 with Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett Smith is just as great, if not better. It ups the meta elements, is funny and just as violent. Not to take anything away from the opening of the first, but regardless of the great phone conversation, it's still a young woman alone in an isolated location. This opening had a full movie theater, opening night, theoretically anyone could help the victims, yet it's able to up the ante and rise to the challenge of still making them helpless.
Onto the main story. It has as much self awareness as the first, but this time it's geared much more to film sequels. But this one has better set pieces. The stage rehearsal where everyone has knives but Sidney sees Ghostface. The car scene where they have to crawl over an unconscious Ghostface in the front seat. This one is legit scary.
So subjectively, the original Scream is my favorite because how important it was to me at the time. But objectively, if someone wanted to say Scream 2 was the better movie, I'm not sure I'd disagree.