I quite liked "Scream" when it came out with its balance of horror with parody working well together to deliver something fresh. So when "Scream 2" was announced I was quite looking forward to another dose of horror with a comedic touch. It's a shame then that when I watched "Scream 2" it ended up being a disappointment, not that I found it a terrible movie, it just didn't deliver the same fine balance of horror and comedy which "Scream" achieved.
2 years after the tragic events of Woodsboro, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell - Three to Tango) is trying to move on with her life away at college with a new boyfriend, Derek (Jerry O'Connell). Except when a movie is released based on those tragic events it seems that the past has returned to haunt her once more. With film geek Randy (Jamie Kennedy - Boiler Room) by her side and also Gale (Courteney Cox) and Dewey (David Arquette) returning to help out they try to find out who is imitating the horrors of Woodsboro as Sidney has to fight to survive.
As you would expect to make a sequel which manages to follow on from the original it is actually quite clever as well as contrived. The intro with the movie based on the previous goings on in Woodsboro 2 years earlier is a nice lead in with the same central characters who managed to survive returning for more drama and action. Except for some reason "Scream 2" has lost that balance when it comes to the horror and comedy with the focus appearing to be more on laughs than frights. So much so that there is little in "Scream 2" which genuinely gets you on the edge of your seat in eager anticipation or an unexpected shock from something inconsequential.
Thankfully Wes Craven doesn't just rely on visual gore to try and deliver horror and you can see that those moments which have been choreographed to scare are done so using traditional techniques of aiming to create atmosphere and tension. It's just for the most they are all too well sign posted and as is expected there are moments which tip their hat to the first movie and because of this fail to achieve the same level of horror. Plus of course compared to today's gore fuelled horrors "Scream 2" almost feels like a relic but one which I prefer even if it does fail in its attempts to deliver frights.
The biggest problem for me is that "Scream 2" goes for too many laughs, much of which feels exceptionally cheap such as Derek proclaiming his love in an over the top singing moment which is cringe worthy, maybe intentionally so. Even the in jokes, the parodying of horror all ends up feeling overly forced such as the inspired but manufactured debate in a film class where they debate the worthiness of sequels. The assumption of the outcome is that for the most they are inferior and sadly "Scream 2" goes someway to prove it.
Thankfully in horror tradition those who survived the first outing return for a second which means we get to watch Neve Campbell playing the cute yet feisty Sidney Prescott and Jamie Kennedy again providing much amusement as Randy Meeks the ultimate film geek. But whilst Campbell's and Kennedy's return is welcome that of Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers and David Arquette as Deputy Dewey is not. The simple reason being is that their characters are made to be funnier, much of which ends up failing and becoming grating.
Aside for them returning faces there are a few new characters although they for the most are pretty 2 dimensional. Timothy Olyphant lacks the strong presence which his character Mickey demands and Jerry O'Connell as Sidney's new beau Derek is just too cheesy, seriously too cheesy. Probably the best new face is Laurie Metcalf as Debbie salt but then that is to be honest not saying much seeing many of the performances fail to deliver.
What this all boils down to is that "Scream 2" is not a patch on the original with too much humour encroaching on the horror leaving for the most not scary enough. It's not completely terrible and it has some clever moments of self parodying but as is often the case when it comes to sequels, it is inferior to the original.