Saturday, May 18, 2013

Short Cut Movie Review: Scream 2

Short Cut Movie Review is normally less than 400 words, but in some cases may go slightly over. This is my attempt to keep writing about as many films as I see without getting bogged down with trying to find more to say. They are meant to be brief snapshots of my reaction to a movie without too much depth.

Where Scream succeeded, Scream 2 feebly attempted to repeat the formula in sequel mode. The problem is that the formula was already starting to wear thin and show the seams. It takes the premise of the first and transfers it to Sidney’s (Neve Campbell) college, where her new boyfriend (Jerry O’Connell) is obviously a prime suspect in the new spate of murders. Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) is back covering the story and Deputy Dewey (David Arquette), hobbled though he is by the wounds received the first time around, is prowling the campus making the same dopey observations. The film is also littered with famous faces, most of whom were rising stars at the time, who get dispatched (Sarah Michelle Gellar; Omar Epps; Jada Pinkett; Rebecca Gay Heart; Joshua Jackson; Timothy Olyphant).

Like the first film, this one plays by genre “rules” of which the killer and other characters are fully aware. What’s more, there’s a new movie recently opened based on the book Gale wrote about the original Woodsboro murders. Heather Graham appears in that movie-within-a-movie as the Drew Barrymore character, who was herself a bold casting decision because she was the biggest star in the film and murdered in the opening scene.

The meta post-ironic winks and nods toward genre conventions in Wes Craven’s first film, penned by Kevin Williamson, made it interesting, but Craven’s direction elevated it above novelty status. It is full of scary and tense moments, helmed by a man who knows how to push buttons. The sequel, although directed and written by the same team, produces only one scene of nail-biting suspense and almost none of actual fright. And the winks had already grown tired, making Scream 2 an obvious cash grab and attempt to build a franchise on top of meta-satire not strong enough to sustain itself for that long. 

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