Back At It (Scream 2, 1997)

Scream was a massive success, and a sequel was green-lit and put out right away. Like, barely a year later. And for a lot of horror films, that can be a bad sign. So is Scream 2 a rush to cash in on success?

Picking up one year after the first film, Sydney is at college trying to make a new life. The past keeps haunting her though. The exonerated Cotton Weary (accused of killing Sydney’s mother) is insisting on Sydney participating in an interview with Gail Weathers. But the killings begin again, this time on the campus. Conveniently, Sydney and Randy decided to go to the same college, so Randy can explain the rules of a slasher sequel. THERE ARE RULES, PEOPLE.

Deputy Dewey shows up so that we can have some romantic conflict with he and Gail and the four survivors can investigate the killings on campus.

Scream 2 is written by Williamson and directed by Craven…and this is more of a case of striking while the iron is hot. The return of Campbell, Cox, Arquette and Kennedy makes for a lot of fun. They all have a real chemistry together. The new additions are a cast of solid talent… even in smaller roles (Timothy Olyfant and Liev Schreiber are guys who can carry films as leads).

The writing does not cheat, even the repeating of incidents from the first film are deliberate call backs. Craven’s direction is on still strong. Scream 2 is one of those rare sequels that feels like it compares to the original favorably. It is clear that Williamson and Craven had a vision for a continuation of Sydney’s story. And I think what helps here is that Scream is not about its killer. It is about Sydney Prescott and her friends. This makes Scream 2 an admirable follow up.

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