Scream 2

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Horror/Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1 (16x9 enhanced), Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 115:43 Minutes
(Not 120 Minutes as per packaging) 
Other Extras Cast Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Wes Craven

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring David Arquette 
Neve Campbell 
Courtney Cox 
Sarah Michelle Gellar 
Jamie Kennedy 
Laurie Metcalf 
Jerry O'Connell 
Jada Pinkett 
Liev Schreiber
Case Brackley
RRP $34.95 Music Marco Beltrami

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 2.0 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
English (MPEG 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Before the great David Bowie hit his all-time low in the 1980s, he recorded a great song about one of his most well-known personas, Major Tom, being strung out and in the depths of what he was about to experience, that well-lamented all-time low. In case you're wondering what the point of me describing this to you is, I firmly believe that director Wes Craven would do well to use Bowie as a negative example and give up before he tarnishes the reputation he used to have any further. In other words, it makes me rather sad to see that the same man who wrote and directed such great horror films as The Serpent And The Rainbow and A Nightmare On Elm Street would allow himself to be associated with films like Scream. Scream was at least an interesting film with a sort of twist on the very much-maligned slasher film genre, although a lot of the script had a somewhat hackneyed and sophomoric feel to it. Scream 2, on the other hand, contains a very hackneyed and sophomoric lot of expansive dialogue about the rules of making a sequel to a slasher movie written by none other than Wes Craven, who then forgets to follow his own rules. In case you're curious, the rules of a slasher sequel, according to Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson are as follows. First of all, the sequel in question must have a higher body count, and this rule is something which Scream 2 fails miserably. Secondly, the death scenes are supposed to be much more elaborate, and once again, Scream 2 does not make the grade.

    Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is now attending college and trying to put the past behind her in a location some distance from the site of the murders that made up the original Scream, as one does when they narrowly avoid being killed by someone they trusted quite deeply, one would think. One day, she wakes up to find that two seniors at the same educational institution have been murdered at the premiere of a film based on those murders, which is a stressful enough event to begin with, except for the added annoyance of constant hounding from the press. In particular, she is hounded by the reporter from the original Scream, one Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), with her attempt to get an exclusive between Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) and Sidney gaining a less than positive response. Adding some flavouring to this mix of characters is the new mixture of victims and suspects, with reporter wannabe Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf) and Sidney's new squeeze, Derek (Jerry O'Connell) adding a tinge of the B-grade acting one would normally expect from a real slasher film. The role of Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is reprised, but really contributes very little to the overall film except for added tension between Gale and the rest of the characters. A pair of sorority sisters, Lois (Rebecca Gayheart) and Murphy (Portia De Rossi) add the predictable and useless red herring, and Tori Spelling keeps the quotient for the dogs you actually want to see killed, by playing herself playing Neve Campbell's character. Confused? Well, so am I after being expected to believe a rather attractive woman with few flaws would be portrayed in a movie within a movie by a woman for whom an unrequested fission surplus could actually constitute a makeover.

    This, not unnaturally, leads me to the question of why lame sequels are currently being brought out before their much-superior originals. First, Warner Brothers indulged us by bringing out both Mad Max sequels before the much more compelling original was given a chance to so much as gestate on DVD. Second, we had Columbia Tristar managing that trick by bringing us Robocop 3, which is undeniably the single worst sequel to one of the best films of the previous century. Now, Roadshow Home Entertainment have favoured us by bringing out Scream 2 (or Scam 2, as other fans of Wes Craven's actual good films that I know like to call it) before bringing us the moderately entertaining original. So, this brings me to yet another law about which films get the best treatment on DVD: the crappy imitation is always brought out before the much more compelling bright idea. This law applies across all genres: Science Fiction (The Matrix before Tron), Sports Action (Futuresport before Rollerball), and even Christ-Theme based vengeance Action (The Crow before Robocop). Now that I have outlined another one of my beautifully asinine theories about what goes on in the minds of release schedulers, I hope you find the rest of the review just as enlightening. Let's dive right in...

Transfer Quality


    This is a generally excellent transfer, and it would not surprise me to see the original Scream getting one that makes this film seem more bearable due to a better transfer. I have long been following Wes Craven's works on other formats, and this is one sound theory to go with after having seeing pseudo-digital remasters of A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Serpent And The Rainbow on a crazy computer-based projection system. This particular transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. The transfer is immaculately sharp, making full use of the superior resolution that DVD offers. Shadow detail was excellent, even for a film of this recent vintage, and there was no low-level noise in this film at any time.

    The colour saturation was completely spot-on from start to finish, with all tones and hues coming up in a realistic and vibrant fashion. It almost made me want to crawl through my television screen and into the picture, the film appeared to be so very full of real life. MPEG artefacts were absent from the film, in spite of there being just over two hours of high-motion film on the one layer. Film-to-video artefacts, however, were a noticeable problem in the context of the original source material, but nothing that would disturb the casual viewer. The most noticeable examples occur on some chrome near windows, venetian blinds, Gail's clothing, and the usual moiré effect that can be found in your average photography of a television display. Gail's clothing in particular was a problematic source of aliasing, as it contained many fine lines that shimmered whenever she began to move. Compared to some other transfers in this ratio that I could mention, this film is remarkably free of such artefacts. Film artefacts were more or less completely absent, except for the mid-way point of the film, which shows a small but noticeable amount for a few minutes.

    I just thought I should mention that there are absolutely no subtitles on this disc, which is rather annoying when you want to look for character names or exact spellings of locations.


    A choice of two soundtracks are available on this DVD, both of them in the original English: a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which the disc has designated as the default, and an MPEG 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I would have liked to have seen a Spanish or German dubbing, due to the somewhat artistic nature of the dialogue, but we'll have to make do with what we have. I listened to the Dolby Digital soundtrack, because this film really demands a full surround experience to begin with. The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand for most of the film, but the odd word here and there was indistinct and hard to make out. This, however, was the fault of the actors rather than the people responsible for this transfer. There were no audio sync problems at any point in the transfer, which is remarkable considering the number of overdubbed telephone conversations.

    The score music of this film is credited to one Marco Beltrami, with a large number contemporary songs being used to fill out more sedate moments in the film. Personally, I hate the contemporary music that shows up in American films so much that I will severely lower my opinion of any film that uses it as anything more than a prop. Now if they used contemporary music from real artists on the other hand, things might change. In any case, the score music added a certain tense and strangely enveloping sound to the proceedings, without becoming anything too exciting.

    The surround channels are used in a borderline-heavy manner to support the music, occasional special effects, and some ambient sounds such as the low hum of the library. Unlike a lot of sound fields for films of this kind, it draws the viewer into the overall experience of the film and creates the illusion of actually being there, as a part of the onscreen events. The subwoofer was used in moderation to add some extra punch to some sequences, but otherwise did surprisingly little. It was rather effectively integrated into the overall mix, however, not giving itself away for one second.


    I've seen better, and I've seen worse. It really isn't the amount of space you allocate to extras, it is what you do with it that counts.


    The menu design is themed around the film, and is remarkably easy to navigate compared to earlier Roadshow Home Entertainment efforts.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, windowboxed with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound that seemed to be mixed from a mono source.

Cast Biographies

    Limited biographies for Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Jerry O'Connell, Jada Pinkett, and Liev Schreiber are provided. There is nothing particularly interesting here.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     A 2.35:1 movie without 16x9 enhancement (The Thing, anyone?). Says it all, really.


    Scream 2. Crap movie, wonderful DVD. Can we please stop it with the forced and moronic sequels, Hollywood?

    The video quality is excellent, and would have been reference material if not for some small, momentary problems.

    The audio quality is a shining example of how a film of this genre should sound.

    The extras are ordinary, but better than one would normally expect for a film like this.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
May 2, 2000
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer