Scream 2 1997 ★★½

It's been a long time since I watched any of the Scream films, this one included. Memory serves at the first one being the strongest of the three I have seen, and that remains born out by Wes Craven's sequel here. Arguably these films lose an element of punch once you know who the killer is, but that allows you to view them more critically and while Scream 2 is effective in numerous ways, it also lacks the punch of its predecessor.

Craven here is all about deconstructing the horror sequel, as the first Scream deconstructed the horror movie itself. It partially succeeds in that but I don't think writer Kevin Williamson pushes that enough; the first movie was riven with references, in jokes, pop culture beats, but here this attempts to tap much more into Neve Campbell's trauma to middling effect - we're not really here for that, these films are less scary gore fest (there's not that much blood or fear here) as they are satire ON those films, and those elements aren't pushed enough. It ultimately twists and turns, with a good few moments of surprise and tension along the way it must be said, but descends a bit too heavily into histrionics by the end at the expense of making all that much satisfying sense. The cast are fine - Campbell, Cox, Arquette playing safely, only really Liev Schreiber and a creepily cheery Laurie Metcalf standing out fully. It's littered with burgeoning stars and cool cameos (David Warner, a young Joshua Jackson), however, which provide some fun distraction.

A perfectly good if not overly impressive sequel, then, to a franchise rapidly becoming a product of its post-modern, self-referential time. Craven wants it to be a satirical bludgeon of the sequel culture in the horror genre, but sadly his knife here isn't quite sharp enough.

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