Maybe it is because Scream is a movie that knows it's a movie (in fact, not only does it know it's a movie, but it knows it's a sequel) that it cleverly side-steps all of the pit-holes that could have condemned it to sequel hell (with the likes of Friday the th, Part and A Nightmare on Elm Street Part ), and raises its masked head as a movie that is almost as good as its predecessor.
Once again writer Kevin Williamson is able to combine laughs and clever references with scares in this second installment in the series, and Craven's clever direction and knowledge about horror movies ties together to make Scream an extremely enjoyable ride. In fact it can be said that, with its more extravagant (and scary) set-pieces, Scream is even more of a roller-coaster ride than its infamous predecessor. From the pulse-raising chase scene involving reporter Gale Weathers in the college sound department to the nerve-juddering suspense in the police-car scene, Scream throws no end of tension and scares in our faces, as well as one shocking death (as is customary in the Scream movies - remember Drew Barrymore anyone?!) and the story is a perfect example of clever and controlled story-telling.
The opening sequence, although not matching the shocking first minutes of the first film, is very original and masterfully composed as yet another famous actress is offed alongside an unknown male co-star (surprisingly, this formula was turned on its head in the more recent Scream ).
The idea of a movie within a movie is not a particularly new concept, but here (in a movie that knows it's a movie and is not only laughing at itself but also at its imitators) it works extremely well, and fits in with the whole self-referential fun of the first. The scenes from the cleverly-titled Stab are a joy to watch, and the viewer is left wishing for more, and although the scenes we're shown are based on serious moments from the first Scream, they are extremely funny.
An interesting thing about Scream is that most of its scenes take place during daylight. Whereas most Horror movies take place over two thirds of the running time in darkness, it is a surprising (and rather original) move to have almost the entire film in daylight up until the climactic scenes. To Craven's (and crew) credit, the same tension visible in dark scenes is evident in the brightly-lit scenes, which is a small achievement in itself.
Though lacking in some of the originality of the first movie, Scream is an exceptional movie, let alone sequel, and successfully manages to combine humour and scares with sharp-witted dialogue. I just hope that Scream can match it!