Scream 2 (1997)

Rating: C

Dir: Wes Craven
Star: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar

Managing to buck the usual trend, eloquently expressed by one character as “Sequels suck!”, this one is a bit of an improvement, since it largely lays off the grindingly obvious, self-referential cliches. The problem with the first was that at times it was less parody than straightforward bad film-making: explicitly stated cliches are still just as tedious. Despite the occasional Grand Guignol set-pieces, ‘2’ is as much whodunnit as horror, Campbell once again hunting a psycho (or psychos), though looking more like Phoebe Cates this time — or maybe it’s just me.

It’s a pity you always have a pretty good idea who’s going to live and die, and it’s not necessarily who you want. Still, anyone who describes Showgirls as their “favourite scary movie” deserves a rapid, unpleasant death for being such a smart-arse. As with the original, the stalk-n-slash elements work well; Craven has enough experience there to do them in his sleep — and perhaps he did here? The end result is a film no more memorable than its predecessor, but which is at least much less annoying.