It would take an awfully good movie to live up to the hype Scream 2 has generated simply by being the follow-up to last year's unexpected hit/cultural phenomenon. To reduce the suspense ahead of time, Scream 2 is not that movie. The opening scene is a brilliantly conceived and executed bit of vertiginous meta-cinema, but the remainder of the film never quite lives up to it. Scream 2 follows several of the original cast members to college, where a strange string of murders occurs that appears related to the events of the first movie. Where Scream never lost track of the fact that it was at once a slasher film and a satire of/commentary on the genre, for most of its lengthy midsection, Scream 2 is strangely content to be a whodunit more akin to Death On The Nile than Sleepaway Camp. When the suspense setpieces do come, many of them are staged with considerably less imagination—with cheap jolts underscored by an intrusive score—than would be expected from director Wes Craven. Kevin Williamson's script similarly lacks some of the flair of the original: It removes much of the clever commentary, as well as the suspense related to the identity of the killer—not by telegraphing it but by making nearly the entire cast seem equally suspicious. All that aside, Scream 2 is still entertaining: It's just clever and scary enough not to disappoint terribly, even if in the end, all the self-deprecating dialogue about inferior sequels seems a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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