December 14, 1997 -- The sequel to ``Scream'' is almost as good as the original, but not quite. ``Scream II,'' like its predecessor has fun mocking the conventions of slasher films, including jokes that constantly remind you that you are watching a sequel.
The film stars several holdovers from the original film, including Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Liev Schreiber, reprising their roles as Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, Dewey Riley and Cotton Weary, respectively.
Like the original there are lots of hip movie in-jokes, including a discussion on sequels during a college film class. The slashing starts during the premier of a movie called ``Stab'' based on the murders in the first movie. A couple of moviegoers are stabbed by a knife-wielding maniac in that familiar ghost mask. The murders are committed in the movie theater. There is a movie-in-a-movie and talk of a real-life sequel killer.
TV reporter Gale Weathers is on the story. After some friction between her and Dewey Riley the two begin to work together to solve the mystery. As in the original, there were too many suspects for me to guess who the killer was.
This movie is bloodier than the original, but it didn't bother me too much because the characters on the screen with their wisecracks and inside jokes kept reminding me this is only a movie. Still, it did seem to be a long walk back to the motel in the dark after the film.
The script, by Kevin Williamson, who also wrote the screenplay for the original film, is hip and clever. The direction by veteran director Wes Craven, who directed the original, is deft. The story has a large number of characters at the start of the film, but by the end things are simpler because so many characters have met untimely deaths. It is not a bad film, but it is a bit grisly. It rates a C+.
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