“One generation's tragedy is the next one's joke.”
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Hayden Panettiere
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
When I was a little kid I used to wake up when both my parents were late, sneak to my TV and then with headphones on used to watch the Friday the 13th movies. This was truly me dipping my toes into the horror field. As time progressed I ventured into other horror series, Phantasm, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Hellraiser to name a few. But around the tender age of 15 when I was really starting to delve into horror a little movie came along called Scream and suddenly horror exploded. Whether you like the self referential nature that Scream brought to the genre isn’t important, because even if you loathed it you had to admit Scream breathed life into horror. However sequels occurred, and while they weren’t as good as the original I did derive some enjoyment from them. Now it’s 2011 and a new Scream sequel is upon us and the question has to be asked was it worth the bother?
Going in with a bad feeling about this movie I was massively surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this movie. Not only that but it managed to make me a fan of an actress that I normally find very annoying. So big tip of the hat to Craven and Williamson for probably delivering the best Scream sequel so far, and I say so far as we all know that if this is popular enough evil studio execs will be trying to cash in. I mean the Saw franchise looks dead, time to hitch the money wagon to something else right?
So first off let’s go and take a look at the acting, as it would be expected the core three do fine, especially Campbell and Arquette. It was nice seeing them back in the thick of things, and I remembered how much I liked Sydney and Dewey. It was also great to see how these characters developed with Sydney definitely becoming more proactive and willing to face the new Ghostface head on. Courtney as Gail is slightly underused in my opinion and due to the lack of focus was really just a side player. All the new blood did fine, including the two new geeky characters who took over Randy’s role. However I would like to give big props to Hayden Panettiere, I’ve never really liked her in anything, and even in Hero’s I wasn’t a huge fan of her character. However she really runs with her character Kirby and I was just a fan of the character right till the end, I really wish she was the main character but oh well.
Story wise this movie plays off the beats of the original of course with some twists. The beginning was a little to self referential and was beginning to irritate me but then got into the story. Also the end was a tad played out and I did just want them to cut to the credits. However the meat in the middle is tasty and if you dug the first Scream you should have no problems here. We aren’t talking Oscar nominations but some good decent fun is to be had. Overall I think the Kevin Williamson had a good idea for this sequel and it manages to rise above the obvious, “we are just cashing in on the name,” thing. Also it was a pleasant surprise to see Wes Craven helm a movie that is competently directed. After that last few movies he’s handled this movie does re-establish him as one of the horror greats. I do stress competent as the movie does move along at a great pace and there isn’t anything to flashy getting in the way of the story, however there isn’t anything that really stands out. Oh and it was exciting to see a horror movie that wasn’t afraid to show some of the old crimson colour. Too many times of late horror movies have been castrated by studios looking for that lower rating so the teens can go watch.
Overall I can highly recommend this movie to those who loved the original. While the beginning and end might annoy people I think there is more than enough fun in the middle to warrant heading down to the cinemas to watch. If you are not into horror then I would just move along. This is a fun ride that took me back to when I was younger. To paraphrase someone from this movie, “don’t fuck with the old school.”