"The entire horror genre was destroyed by sequels" - Randy
Following his box office success with Scream, which simultaneously not only poked gentle but reverential fun at the slasher genre, but also revitalised it, there was only one thing to do. And that one thing was the one thing that movies in general and slasher movies in particular were being criticised heavily for in the nineties.
But again, as is observed in the film by the returning film nerd, Randy – sequels have their own set of unique rules.
“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate - more blood, more gore. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.”
Allrighty then, the film opens in stunning style with a film within a film. It’s the opening night of Stab, a film based on the events of the first film, featuring Heather Graham in Drew Barrymore’s Casey role. (Sharp eyed viewers will see that Tori Spelling plays Sydney in the film, when we see another clip later on, just as sarcastically prophesied by Sydney in the first film.) However, Stab, a whole theatre full of kids dressed as Ghostface, it’s easy for the real deal to hide among them.
Hold on – Ghostface is back? But didn’t Billy Loomis and Stuart get killed in the first film? Uh – oh.
Ghostface kills a couple in the theatre, stabbing the make through the year in a bathroom stall, then returning to the screening to stab is overbearing girlfriend (Jada Pinkett Smith) who staggers to the front of the auditorium and dies in front of the screen in front of a baying audience who think it’s part of the show.
So, exactly two years after the events of Scream. The premiere of Stab, a death, and it all happens close to Windsor College, where Sydney Prescott is studying, while caller ID-ing hoax callers from practical joke playing wiseasses.
On comes not only the media, with Gale Weathers front and centre, but an old friend from Woodsboro has shown up wanting to protect Sydney – the now limping ex-Deputy Dewey, who has survived the first film, but suffered severe nerve damage. (Oddly, he’s introduced by a sad refrain played on a baritone guitar by fifties guitarist Duane Eddy. I bought the soundtrack CD hoping for that snippet – but it was nowhere to be heard. In time, I discovered that the piece of music was actually from Broken Arrow starring John Travolta, scored by Hans Zimmer.)
As before, Ghostface slashes his way through cast members, who include Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar taking a break from her role as Buffy – the Vampire Slayer) while tormenting them with his voice changer on the phone. It takes real skill to make a phrase as innocuous as “hello Sssssidney” sound menacing.
It’s discovered that the killer this time around is a copycat who is emulating the original killer by killing people with the same name in the same order. (Cici’s real name is Casey)
Again, poor Sydney fears that her boyfriend is the killer, I mean let’s face it, Billy Loomis was a baby faces psycho. Who’s to say that Derek (Jerry O’Connell) is any better? We’ve seen that Sydney’s taste in men is pretty life threatening. And it worked the first time around.
But he’s not the only suspect – Cotton Weary has been released from prison and exonerated of the murder of Maureen Prescott, and Gale wants an on-camera confrontation between accuser (Sydney) and the accused – and understandably, Cotton’s pretty twitchy. Even Gale herself comes under suspicion. Could she actually be creating the news she reports?
A surprising death is that of Randy, lured too close to the van where Ghostface is hiding, while trying to keep him on the phone so that Gale, Dewey and Sydney can catch him.
Inbetween trying to regain Dewey’s trust because she made him look ridiculous in her book, being slapped by Sydney for surprising her with Cotton in a media ambush and trying to break in a new cameraman, Gale is also having to deal with the local yokel reporters who are in awe of her.
Derek though is not the killer. Poor guy is tied to a stage prop in a fake crucifiction by his fraternity brothers, hazed for giving his frat pendant to Sydney. As if THAT’s not bad enough – he’s murdered by Ghostface, who shoots him dead.
The killer is Mickey (Tim Olyphant) who’s doing it just to be a celebrity, figuring all the media attention will get him exactly what he wants. He will blame horror movies for his actions. (Art imitating life for imitating art?) He’s aided and abetted by Debbie Salt, the reporter who’s been fawning at Gale throughout the film. (Debbie Salt is played by Laurie Metcalf, and it’s really strange to see Sheldon Cooper’s mother basically as a Pamela Voorhees.) Debbie is Billy Loomis’s mother who deserted the family after her husband (and also son) had an affair with Maureen. Of course had she not walked out, Billy wouldn’t have become a serial killer – go figure.
As Randy had warned, never assume the killer is dead, Mickey jumps up one last time, but is shot by both Gale and Sydney. As the news media descend, Sydney points them toward Cotton, finally getting to tell his side of the story.
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