“I hate scary movies,” the first line of Scream 2 exemplifies the witty and satirical nature of the Scream franchise. The franchise, written by Kevin Williamson and directed by the late Wes Craven, began in 1996 with the original Scream. Scream is unique as all main characters reappear in each film and become aware of their presence in a horror movie. This sequel has hilarious dialogue, badass Final Girls, and an amazing 90’s soundtrack. Foo Fighters, Everclear, and Dave Matthews Band provide a nostalgic backdrop for this sorority slasher. If that’s not 90’s enough, Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills, 90210), Heather Graham (Austin Powers 2), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek), and Rebecca Gayheart (Noxzema Girl) all make appearances. Scream 2 came out in 1997, less than a year after the first Scream. Scream 1 survivor, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) is back with Final Girls, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell, Party of Five) and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox, Friends). Ghostface reappears, a Scream-obsessed killer who slashes sorority girls and taunts everyone in Sidney’s life. Two years after Sidney shot her serial killing-ex, Billy Loomis, a new killer has come to town. One by one, the killer hacks gender role-conforming coeds to death. Sorority girls dressed in pink and frat bros wearing khakis don’t stand a chance. The killers are outsiders, hacking up anyone conforming to traditional gender roles (women are sexed and effeminate and men are emotionless and strong). While attacking gender roles is not overtly the killers’ motives, it is their pattern. Scream 2 follows in the long line of horror films where only badass, feminist women survive. From Halloween’s Laurie Strode to Nightmare on Elm Streets’ (1984) Nancy, Final Girls have always subverted gender roles instead of being submissive and powerless. Unlike the jock-obsessed sorority girls at Windsor College, Sidney Prescott is neither feminine nor masculine—she’s simply badass. Final Girl, Sidney, stands on the border, with short black hair and an emotionless face. She rejects the normative gender roles imposed by the Greek society sisters played by the Noxzema Girl, Rebecca Gayheart and Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development). While they drink in pearls and put up with drunk frat bro douchebags, Sidney rolls her eyes at the ridiculous “organized religion” that is Greek life. Can these sisters even shoot a gun? In the world of Scream, only the feminists survive. Scream 2 picks up with Sidney two years later at Windsor College. With a new look and a new boyfriend, Sidney is ready for a fresh start at college. Sidney, Randy, Gale, and Deputy Dewey (David Arquette), do not disappoint in this amazing sequel. It’s got blood, guts, gore, and witty one-liners. Randy pushes the metacommentary, echoing our concerns about a Scream sequel. Mickey (Timothy Olyphant, Justified), the “freaky, Tarantino film student” with slick black hair (like Billy) rushes to defend Scream 2 in class. Randy: “Stab 2? Who would wanna do that? Sequels suck! Oh please, please! By definition alone, sequels are inferior films!” Mickey: “It’s bullshit generalization. Many sequels have surpassed their originals.” While surpassing Scream was an impossible task for Wes Craven (Last House on the Left) and screenwriter, Kevin Williamson (Vampire Diaries), Scream 2 does not suck. In fact, it’s one of my favorite Scream movies ever. It’s only the second Wes Craven movie I’ve been able to watch since he died. I’m still not at a place where I can watch the 1996 Scream original or MTV’s Scream series. Scream made me fall in love with Final Girl and feminist badass, Sidney Prescott. I fell in love with Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, and the genre of metahorror (when characters know they’re in a slasher). Watching Scream 2, has that cozy, 90’s-flannel feel that makes me miss Wes Craven even more. With Wes gone, there can never be a Scream 5. While that’s tough to face, it does mean one thing. Sidney can’t die. While Sidney rocks as the Final Girl, her dear friend, Randy the horror geek, plays an important part as well. Randy plays the satirical Greek chorus, explicating the rules of the meta-slasher the characters inhabit. Meta-slashers are horror films where the characters are self-aware of their existence in a horror film. In Scream 2, the opening characters are killed off during screening of Stab, a film about the first massacre from the OG Scream. Scream 2 begins at the Realto, as Maureen (just Jada Pinkett, at the time) and Phil (Omar Epps) go to a sneak preview of Stab. The movie is about the Woodsboro killings in the first Scream, starring Heather Graham, Tori Spelling, and Luke Wilson. The hilarious parody infuriates Maureen, and it becomes clear that Maureen is our opening scene death girl. Maureen breaks the rules of horror by trying to warn fictional characters, and she’s got Sidney’s dead mom’s name, so that’s obviously not good. “Star 69 his ass!” she screams. Oh, 1997. Immediately, the opening echoes themes from Randy’s party, watching Halloween (1978), and quoting the rules of horror in the first Scream. Stab fans crowd the theater, donning Ghostface masks and plastic knives providing camouflage for the real Ghostface, who’s seconds away from stabbing the shit out of Maureen and Phil. Leading up to one of the best deaths in horror history, Phil gets stabbed in the head and replaced by the killer. The killer returns, pretending to be Phil, and gets access to Maureen. He stabs her repeatedly while a raucous crowd fails to realize the murder is real. A horror film-goer dies at the hands of a killer, her dead boyfriend bleeding out in the men’s room. Maureen climbs atop the stage, cries out for help, and drops dead. The horror rules have changed, now merely attending Stab, the slasher within a slasher, is a way to get killed. Anyone with a camera is a target, along with anyone in Sidney’s life, including her new boyfriend, Derek (Jerry O’Connell, Sliders). Sidney’s last boyfriend was a killer—does that mean Derek is too? While Final Girl, Sidney tries to move on from the first Scream, when her boyfriend murdered most of her friends, then tried to kill her, the past still remains. Stab, the movie-within-a-movie, brings Ghostface back to life. Scream 2 is brilliant commentary on college, the 90’s, and the horror genre’s ability to give feminist badasses more agency. Unlike the gender role-conforming sorority girls, Sidney doesn’t exploit her sexuality. Instead, Sidney kicks ass by not conforming to the typical expectation of a girl in the 90’s. Unlike other coeds who flaunt their tits, Sidney dons her jeans and ass-kicking boots. Instead of flirting, she eyes the crowd like Robo Cop, assessing any possible threats. After the opening kill scene with Maureen and Phil dead and gone, we pan out to Sidney’s new life at Windsor College. With The Eels softly playing “This Could be your Lucky Day in Hell,” we hear a phone ring. Sidney answers. “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Nice try, prankster, it’s 1997 and Sidney has caller ID. After chastising the prank caller for his lack of imagination, she moves the fuck on. So what if she’s getting constant calls where men pretend to be her serial-killing exboyfriend? Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), the man Billy framed for the murder of Sidney’s mother, Maureen, appears onscreen. Sidney’s roommate, Hallie (Elise Neal) walks by and we see a Freddy Krueger sweater hanging in Hallie’s closet (a nod to Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm St). Although Hallie was originally one of the killers in Scream 2, an extra leaked the screenplay online, and the killers had to be changed. Those damn horror extras, always going rogue. Freddy’s sweater, Cotton on TV, and the prank calls, are all triggers of Sidney’s PTSD. When your high school boyfriend tries to kill you, that’s not something you ever forget. Sidney never fully heals, but she never mourns either. She’s become antisocial and misanthropic. Sidney can’t get hurt if she doesn’t put herself out there. And what’s wrong with being antisocial? “Lower the walls. This self-induced isolation you got going isn’t healthy,” Hallie pleads. “I’m fine,” Sidney insists, collecting her shampoo for the communal college showers. Hallie isn’t buying it. She’s no Final Girl, but she lets us know what F.I.N.E stands for (fucked up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional). Though, I’m pretty sure that’s from an 80’s hair band, the acronym fits Sidney perfectly. Except for emotional. Though Sidney is a drama major, she doesn’t have a wide range of emotions. It’s as though she’s turned off her humanity to deal with the constant loss and attacks on her life. Though she has Derek, her clean-cut frat boy, she’s never fully present. Sidney’s always back in Woodsboro with Billy Loomis holding a gun to her head. And we’re right there with her, wondering which characters are the new killers. While film geeks, Mickey, Randy, and Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek) argue about sequels and motives, the viewer realizes the killer is possibly among them. Gale and Dewey investigate the new murders, looking at old surveillance tapes. They’ve found a pattern that the viewer has most likely noticed by now. The names of the new victims, Maureen Evans and Phil Stevens hearken back to original victims, Maureen Prescott (Sidney’s mom), and Steve Orth (Scream’s first victim). There’s a copycat killer, emulating horror-obsessed killer, Billy Loomis. Dewey crinkles his mustache, reprising his role as loveable cop. He teams up with on and off screen lover, Gale Weathers, journalist and best-selling author of The Woodsboro Murders. With red streaks and a new passion for investigative journalism, Gale is ready to help Dewey catch the killer. Although Dewey’s a bumbling idiot, let’s not forget that Gale helped take down the killer in the first Scream. And unlike the hypersexed sorority girls on campus, Gale knows how to shoot a gun. Like Sidney, Gale has short black hair, and dresses in black or red. They both subvert normative gender roles by sticking to Barbie’s two rules: no marriage, no kids. Instead of being submissive housewives, or oversexualized flirts, Gale and Sidney have only one thing on their minds: survival. While Sidney attempts to stay safe, paparazzi swarms her and she hits Gale again. Gale shrugs it off saying, “I’m not here to be loved” and keeps working. Investigative journalist, Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne) appears throughout the film, unlike Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson who only appears once, as an interviewer. Though Debbie is supposed to be threatening to Gale and Sidney, she just comes off as annoying. Debbie’s not really an interesting character nor was she cast well. Laurie Metcalf is a Midwestern, suburban housewife who can only play herself, yet the viewers are supposed to fear Debbie? Against the green backdrop of quaint Windsor College, the media frenzy erupts, with Mickey filming in the background. Though Mickey consoles Sidney and talks her through the chaos, he bears semblance to former killer Billy Loomis. Both men had slick black hair and an obsession with horror films. Mickey busts out his camera making him a killer, or just the next victim. Filmmakers can die in slashers like House of Wax (2005) or be the killer like in Peeping Tom (1968). Peeping Tom (referenced in Scream 4), featured a man who filmed the women he killed, so their dying expressions would be preserved. This trope reappears throughout horror, as in Laid to Rest (2011) where ChromeSkull the killer, has a shoulder-mounted camera used to film kills more efficiently. Similarly, Jigsaw, the killer in the SAW franchise, also films his kills. The idea of the killer as filmmaker speaks to the voyeuristic attraction we have with horror films. The eerie horror camera pans out to show someone is always watching Sidney Prescott. Yet, her roommate Hallie, insists that Sidney attend an on-campus mixer to get out of her head. Dressed in dark clothes and a hatred for most people, Sidney stands out amongst the pastel crowd of sorority girls and frat bros. Sidney seems disgusted as Dave Matthews Band plays in the distance. While Sidney ensures her survival by distancing herself from the sorority girls, one young blonde is left back at home. Cici Cooper (Sarah Michelle Gellar), blonde, thin, and covered in makeup, is back at the Omega Beta Zeta house playing “sober sister.” While everyone else in the house gets drunk, Cici must stay home alone, at “murder university,” for the sake of safety. I won’t get into the rules of Greek life, where only fraternities can have parties and the direct correlation to date rape. Cici doesn’t give us time, as she is clearly going to die soon. Cici is blonde, alone, and dressed in pink. Though Scream movies subvert the rules of horror, they don’t break all of them. Hypersexed and submissive, Cici is everything the Final Girl is not. When the real killer calls her, she just thinks it’s her drunk boyfriend, Ted, because she’s used to putting up with his bullshit. Cici has flipped hair straight out of the 1960’s and appears to be Mad Men level submissive. The killer, wearing Ghostface’s iconic mask and robe, appears and clumsily chases Cici around the empty house. She breaks every rule, talking to the killer, putting up with a drunk, asshole boyfriend, and running up the stairs instead of out the door. The killer throws Cici through a set of glass doors, onto the balcony and stabs her repeatedly. Cici’s flung off a second-story balcony to her death, as the party rages on. Never said I was innocent… lyrics from an Everclear song, add humor to Cici’s death, as if to say, this is Scream, what did you expect? The party rages on and just after Cici’s brutal murder, Sidney’s phone rings. This time it’s the real killer. “Hello Sidney” we hear through the robotic voice changer. In a jump scare, Ghostface appears and fights with Sidney. He’s got no chance against our Final Girl and Sidney escapes by going out the door instead of up the stairs. She looks panicked, but not scared. Suddenly her boyfriend, Derek appears, just as Billy did in the first Scream. Sidney won’t be tricked again. What is Derek doing here and why didn’t the killer go after him? Derek attempts to console a shaken Sidney, explaining that the killer sliced his arm and let him go. Though wholesome, khaki-clad Derek appears to be telling the truth, Sidney doesn’t care. She can’t care. She’s seen this before, this is how Billy tricked her. Sid watches as Derek is questioned, refusing to share a room with him, she stands there, crying. Is he the killer? Or is Sidney having a flashback? With Sidney’s PTSD, it’s hard to tell which reality we’re in, providing constant suspense. To Sidney, every boyfriend is Billy, the serial killer she once loved. Though Sidney can fend for herself, she is given two armed bodyguards, who follow her all around campus. As we know from the rules of horror, cops always end up dead, so they’re merely a formality. Deputy Dewey manages to subvert this rule again and again, by not really being a cop. Dewey seldom fires his gun, calls for backup, or even drives his own car. He’s not that bright, and honestly, shouldn’t have made it this far. But he’s the only family Sidney really has in her new life. Her new boyfriend Derek is suspect #1 for Sidney. Sidney’s last boyfriend Billy tried to kill her—so the fear of another attack has become a part of her. When khaki-clad, fraternity Derek sings to her in the college dining hall, she can’t help but swoon. But once the dead bodies pile up, Sidney has flashbacks to her exboyfriend killing her mother and friends. Sidney loves Derek, with his kind eyes and beautiful brown hair. But Sidney’s incapable of trusting anyone, even if he looks straight out of a J. Crew catalog (those guys are usually douchebags anyway). After all, Billy Loomis wore khakis. As a Final Girl, Sidney must be ready to fight. Derek isn’t the killer, but that doesn’t matter to Sidney. Derek is Billy. Every boyfriend is Billy. After Derek escapes with a mere gash, Randy the horror geek faces a more brutal fate. Taking the killer’s call out in the open quad of Windsor College, Randy derides him for his lack of originality. “Billy Loomis was a homo-repressed momma’s boy … Fuuuuck you!” Randy says recklessly. Within moments, Randy’s pulled into a newsvan and stabbed to death. Gale and Dewey were on the search for the killer, but couldn’t save Randy. Dewey, Gale, and her camera man find Randy’s corpse, bleeding out in the van. Sidney mourns briefly then returns to her assigned armed guards. Her boyfriend, Derek is suspicious when Sidney seems more comfortable with her new guards than with her boyfriend. Sidney gives Derek a blank stare, she’s already shut off any feelings she has for him. Derek could be the killer and she was stupid to think she could actually handle a relationship. Final Girls don’t get to have boyfriends. So without any semblance of emotion, Sidney tells Derek “Stay as far away from me as possible.” He is visibly heartbroken, but this is Sidney Prescott, he never stood a chance. The only relationship Sidney has is with survival. Sidney can trust effeminate and innocuous guys like Randy the film geek, and Deputy Dewey, Gale’s dopey love interest. Randy and Dewey are emasculated and afraid, often chastised for being boys, not men. As such, they pose no threat to Sidney. Derek, although not overtly masculine, is still the boyfriend, which makes him suspect #1 for Sidney. As we guessed, Sidney’s armed guards don’t last long, and are both killed in front of Sidney and Hallie, Sid’s roommate. In one of the most suspenseful scenes in Scream history, Sidney and Hallie must climb past the cops’ dead bodies to escape. Ghostface sits motionless at the driver’s seat of the cop car. Since the car crashed, the protective fence has been punctured, allowing Sidney and Hallie to enter the front seat. They both successfully climb over an unconscious Ghostface into the street. Hallie is killed instantly as Sidney escapes, running to the campus theater, where the other killer is waiting. Once at the theatre, Sidney sees Derek still tied to a stage prop in nothing but boxers. It’s not until Derek’s attacked by Ghostface, does Sidney being to believe his innocence. The real killer appears in Ghostface’s mask and robe, taunting Sidney as she tries to free Derek. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the killer says, “you really wanna trust your boyfriend?” With that line, we now know that the killer knows Billy Loomis better than we thought. Suddenly the voice-changer clicks off and we hear Mickey’s voice, “Don’t you know history repeats itself?” Mickey removes the mask, looking at Sidney with a sick, “you’ve got a purdy” mouth type smile. “Mickey,” Sidney gasps in disbelief as Mickey turns the changer back on for one more “Surprise, Sidney!” He walks towards her, knife in hand, claiming that Derek is his partner. In less than a second, Sidney’s back to distrusting Derek, believing Mickey. Instead of freeing Derek, Sidney walks away, as Mickey continues to taunt her. He scratches his head with the knife, teasing, “Hmmm…. Boyfriend? Killer? Boyfriend? Killer?” speaking to the lapse in Sidney’s mind, constantly attempting to separate her boyfriend from the killer. It’s not until Mickey shoots Derek in the chest with a Glock 17s, that Sidney believes he’s innocent. We should have listened to Randy, who warned us of Mickey. “Forget the boyfriend, it’s tired. We’ve got Mickey, the freaky Tarantino film student,” Randy warned earlier. Yet making Mickey a suspect would implicate Randy, so he moved on too quickly. As some horror geeks know, Derek was the original killer. However, that crazy horror film extra leaked the script, and the writers were forced to change the killers. We now know who one killer is, Mickey, but who’s the second? Randy stated that most killers are white males, but that in sequels, the rules change, suggesting a possible female killer. Derek dies, as if crucified, tied to a fraternity display, bullet holes leaking blood. His six-pack abs remain motionless, covered in blood from the bullet wounds. Sidney’s trauma kept her 100% Final Girl, unable to truly love or save her boyfriend. Derek dies, as Sidney believes Derek’s final words, that he “would never” hurt her. But Sidney moves the fuck on because that’s who she is. Boyfriends die every day, she’s got two killers to face. Gale Weathers appears, gets shot, but survives, as the killers reveal their true motives. Debbie Salt, the annoying yet loveable reporter appears and Sidney’s face turns to horror. “Mrs. Loomis?” Sidney asks, in disbelief. Finally solving the murder mystery, Sidney realizes that Mrs. Loomis has come to avenge the death of her son, Billy Loomis. Mrs. Loomis hired Mickey from a “psycho website” to help her carry out the plan. Mickey befriended Derek just to embed himself within Sidney’s life and gain access to intel for Mrs. Loomis’ revenge plot. Mickey rants on in the spirit of Billy Loomis, stating he will blame the movies too. Timothy Olyphant does an amazing job as the horror geek killer, Mickey. It’s almost as though Mickey is a reinvented Billy Loomis, with better hair, and better one-liners. With a crazed look in his eyes, he spouts off his reasons for being the way he is. “I’ll just blame the movies, Sid,” he raves, “the Christian coalition will pay my court fees.” Mickey brags, alluding to the thousands of dollars spent each year, by religious parents trying to ban horror films. But Mickey’s no match for Sidney fucking Prescott. Staring at Mickey, Sidney warns, “You’re forgetting one thing about Billy Loomis … I fucking killed him.” She fights with Mickey, grabbing a nearby blade. Backstage, someone hits a switch, pulling Derek’s corpse towards the ceiling as if towards heaven. Just as Sidney chides Mrs. Loomis for who Billy became, Mrs. Loomis shoots Mickey, ridding herself of a liability. The idea that the killer’s mother is also a killer, was alluded to by Randy when he stated that the best Friday the 13th killer was Jason’s mother. As we watch Mickey lie motionless, his white shirt covered in blood, we hear Randy’s warnings, “never assume the killer is dead.” Mrs. Loomis, played horribly by Laurie Metcalf, taunts Sidney, and we’re supposed to believe she’s the killer. This is the weakest part of Scream 2, as there is nothing scary or even intimidating about a Midwestern housewife with a gun. I realize Wes and Kevin had very little time for the rewrite after the script leak, but casting an innocuous sitcom wife as the killer takes the viewer out of the world of Scream, and into the reality of making a movie. Instead of being scared, intimidated, or even put off, we merely feel bad for this poor housewife. Her son was a killer and now he’s dead. At this point the Noxzema girl (Rebecca Gayheart, Urban Legends) would’ve made a more convincing killer, but here we are, pretending to fear a housewife. Mrs. Loomis points a Glock 7s at Sidney, “You killed my son.” Sidney retorts, “Billy was perfect—you did a bang up job,” before breaking glass to grab an axe backstage. Sidney hacks down ropes, bringing down lights, and fake rocks, pummeling Mrs. Loomis with stage props. Is it over? Are the killers dead? Mrs. Loomis pops up and Sidney punches her in the face. She’s gotten a lot of practice after punching so many reporters, but she still needs help. Final Girls don’t always work alone. In fact, they often make it a point to gather allies, like Nancy using Glenn (Johnny Depp) to help kill Freddy Krueger in Nightmare. Wrongfully accused killer, Cotton Weary shows up armed and shoots Mrs. Loomis. Sidney gets up, takes Cotton’s gun, and gives a nod of thanks. Gale reappears, wounded but alive. In the final jump scare, Mickey pops up (just as Randy warned) and is shot repeatedly by Gale and Sidney. In a moment of beautiful irony, the Tarantino-obsessed film student, dies in a Tarantino-like death, riddled with bullet holes ala Pulp Fiction. Sid shoots Mrs. Loomis in the head, stating, “Just in case” paying homage to the late Randy. Damn. The final body count is ten, with main stars Sidney, Gale, Dewey, and Cotton still alive. “It’ll make a hell of a movie,” Cotton says, speaking of the movie within a movie, Stab. Sidney Prescott walks away, alone, finally safe. Directed by Wes Craven flashes across the backdrop of the serene Windsor College. It hurts knowing Wes is gone, but he’s brought so many people together through his films, and that will never die. In honor of Randy Meeks, here is some Scream 2 horror geek trivia: Just before she dies, Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar) talks to another sorority sister on the phone, who is Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions). When Cici talks to her friends, she mentions that “Sarah dumped Bailey” referring to Party of Five (1994), starring Neve Campbell, our Final Girl, Sidney. After the screenplay leaks, the characters were kept from knowing the real ending of the script until it was shot. They kept the script vague in parts by simply writing, “Wes will make it scary.” Matthew Lillard, who played the killer, Stu from the first Scream, has a cameo at the frat mixer. The rules of a horror movie sequel, as stated by Randy are: 1. The death total is always greater; 2. The murder scenes are more elaborate; and 3. (only appearing in the trailer), Never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead. Infamously horror-hating critics, Siskel and Ebert loved this movie. They slammed the original Scream and every other slasher they saw. Yet they both gave glowing reviews of this film. Before landing on Scream 2, these film titles were considered: Scream Again, Scream Louder, and Scream: The Sequel. The tagline of Stab, the movie within a movie is, “This is Gonna Hurt” while Scream 2’s tagline is “Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far.” Although Sarah Michelle Gellar was used to fake-ass, light-action stunts in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997), she still did the crazy stunts in Scream 2, like being thrown off a balcony. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character, Cici, watches Nosferatru (1922), a nod to her role in Buffy. See larger image Scream 2 [Blu-ray] Away at college, Sidney Prescott (Campbell) thought she’d finally put the shocking murders that shattered her life behind her… until a copycat killer begins acting out a real-life sequel. Now as history repeats itself, ambitious reporter Gale Weathers (Cox), deputy Dewey (Arquette) and other Scream survivors find themselves trapped in a terrifyingly clever plotline where no one is safe – or beyond suspicion – in this “delicious, diabolical and fun” (Rolling Stone) sequel. 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