- Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
- Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
- David Arquette as Dewey Riley
- Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks
- Jerry O’Connell as Derek
- Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary
- Timothy Olyphant as Mickey
- Elise Neal as Hallie
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Cici Cooper
- Laurie Metcalf as Debbie Salt
- Jada Pinkett as Maureen Evans
- Omar Epps as Phil Stevens
Following on from the first Scream movie, Scream 2 is a sequel that doesn’t diminish the impact of the first. Rather it expands on the greatness of the first by fleshing out the characters, making the deaths more elaborate and poking fun at the usual run of bad sequels that follow on from a successful horror movie.
Two years after the gruesome events at Woodsboro, survivor Sidney Prescott is now a college student who is trying to put the pain behind her and start again. This seems to be going relatively well as she is still good friends with movie nerd Randy, has new best friends in the form of funny Hallie and film lover Mickey and a sensitive boyfriend named Derek. She is even excelling at acting and her first production is coming up very soon. This attempt at letting go of the past is shattered by the news of two murders by someone in a Ghostface costume at the screening of ‘Stab’, a movie based on the book by Woodsboro survivor and newswoman Gale Weathers. The media turn its attentions to the college and Sidney as the body count begins to rise. On top of this, Cotton Weary( the man Sidney accused of murdering her mother) arrives on the scene looking for fame and forgiveness from Sidney. With a copycat killer beginning to replicate the past murders committed by Ghostface, Sidney is still very much the target for the twisted psychopath’s sinister games. Banding together with returning police officer Dewey and the opportunistic Gale, she must once again do battle with Ghostface if she wants to survive the brutal events that surround her. But who can Sidney really trust as the killer continues to strike in increasingly brutal ways? Witty in jokes on sequels, a much higher body count and believable characters make Scream 2 a worthy sequel.
Wes Craven continues to direct with assurance and atmosphere as well as capturing the post-modern ideas of film sequels and the expectations. The satiric script complements this by upping the stakes in terms of the gore and violence in the film, whilst commenting on the debate surrounding whether we are too easily influenced by violence in the media. Ironically, a key scene involves film students discussing the declining qualities of horror sequels. Scream 2 thankfully doesn’t fall into this category because of its mix of dark laughs, elaborate deaths and commendable work from the cast. Whilst the dark humour is kept intact, the horror is perfectly balanced with it and generates some chilling sequences and a genuine shock or two. These include Sidney performing Cassandra as part of her acting major and being stalked by someone who resembles Ghostface and Gale trying to evade the killer in a pulse-pounding chase by hiding in a recording studio as he gets closer and closer. The score once again is an eerie listen with melancholy percussion and strings capturing Sidney’s fear of everything starting again and the resilience she must use to face her enemy the second time around.
Neve Campbell contributes another impressive performance as the heroine Sidney. We see how strong she has become since her first encounter with Ghostface but also the hints of vulnerability that lie beneath the surface. Campbell imbues Sidney with a very human quality that makes her a relatable heroine thrust into these brutal circumstances and trying to find the best way to survive it. Courteney Cox is similarly effective as Gale, who for all her ruthless ambition is actually quite scared underneath it all. Her budding romance with Dewey is a highlight as they bicker with one another but can’t deny the spark. David Arquette is earnestly charming as Dewey, who now walks with a pronounced limp following his almost fatal encounter with Ghostface in the first movie. Jamie Kennedy yet again provides trivia and movie lingo as the lovable Randy, whilst Liev Schreiber is suitably menacing and fame hungry as Cotton Weary. Timothy Olyphant and Elise Neal both make impression in their roles as two of Sidney’s college friends and Jerry O’Connell is sensitive as Sidney’s new boyfriend Derek. Sarah Michelle Gellar has a small but memorable role as the gorgeous sorority sister menaced by Ghostface. Laurie Metcalf is twitchy and fawning as the news reporter Debbie Salt who idolizes Gale. Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps are the two students whose graphic deaths spark the media circus.
Satirical and bloody in equal measure, Scream 2 is proof that sequels don’t necessarily herald the death of a franchise.