Thursday, October 15, 2009


It's a bad sign when a film so clearly fails to do what it sets out to right out the gate.

The film tries to top the original's opening scene but kind of fails miserably. A crowd of theater goers, attending the slasher movie based on the events of the first Scream, end up inadvertently cheering on a real murder. It’s supposed to say something about voyeurism and culpability for our vicarious thrills, and also for some reason the way black people talk in theaters becasuse the movie is actually a stand up routine from 1983, or something but it ends up coming off as deeply hypocritical, given that the rest of the movie is as giddy a kill fest as there has ever been. Because if Scream went from greatness to standard boilerplate, Scream 2 reaches for pseudo profundity and quickly falls into sub mediocrity. Though the department of truth in criticism forces me to admit that the reverse shot of a theater full of Scream Killers cheering on the movie is disquieting.

Scream 2 is about as bland as horror films get. Aside from a few some feeble sequel jokes courtesy of Randy, it carries none of the original voice that Scream did. When people say they hate the dialogue in Scream because it’s shallow self referential and stupid, they really mean they hate the dialogue in Scream 2. The film’s scare sequences, don’t have the brutal on point simplicity of the first film’s, and are far two convoluted and elaborate to actually be frightening and are predicated on the characters doing the exact stupid things that they knew not to do in the first film. Somewhat paradoxically these scenes have none of the gaudy fun that the classic Slasher films of the eighties provided. It tries to split the difference between extravagant and brutal and fails at both. Only an admirably whacked giallo inspired stalking that would do Argento in his prime proud, set during a showcase of Oedipus Rex takes advantage of the laxed rules.

The cast is too large to get attached to any of the characters, even in the superficial my “Rose McGowan sure looks cold.” Way of the first film. Most of the film’s supporting characters are little more then cameos (Sarah Michelle Gellar we hardly knew ye).
The film perks up in the end, with a few remarkably cold blooded kills, and a solution to the who done it at the center of the film, that’s actually satisfying. But it's too little too late to save this anemic sequel.

No comments: