Scream 2

on December 12, 1997 by Christine James
   A beautiful young girl is receiving disturbing calls from a psycho killer. "Bitch, hang up the phone and Star 69 his ass," Jada Pinkett advises the ill-fated character in "Stab," the movie-within-a-movie in the comically self-aware "Scream 2." But no one abides by logic in the horror flix, and our foolish heroine is, well, stabbed. Several times. Barely seconds later we see the flash of a knife again<197>only this time, it's a patron at the moviehouse who's on the receiving end.
   The copycat crime immediately brings reporter Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox) to the scene; it was her book chronicling the gruesome murders that was the basis of the macabre movie. The other survivors of the massacre band together in hopes of putting a stop to the murders<197>but you know that's not going to happen until the body count and gore factor has exceeded "Scream 2's" filmic predecessor.
   "Scream 2" is exactly the same movie as "Scream," but that seems to be the point. A few new characters replace those butchered in the last film to recreate the same tensions, the same pacing, the same questioning of loyalties, the same chases. But the self-parody and the never-flagging supply of great one-liners make the familiarity fun as the audience is let in on the gag. For all the deja vu, there are some welcomely unexpected plot twists; chances are you'll never guess whodunnit until it's revealed in the final frames.    Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Liev Schreiber, Jerry O'Donnell, Laurie Metcalf and Jada Pinkett. Directed by Wes Craven. Written by Kevin Williamson. Produced by Cathy Konrad and Marianne Maddalena. A Miramax release. Comedy/horror. Rated R for language and strong bloody violence. Running time: 120 min.
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