The Horror Sequel of Horror Sequels About Horror Sequels!
After the events of the first movie, Gale Weathers writes a book called “The Woodsboro Murders”. The book will become the basis of the in-universe film Stab.
Opening weekend, a Black couple (yes, this matters. I’ll explain why later) Phil Stevens and Maureen Evans, are going to the movie theater to see Stab. The studio has given Ghostface costumes to everyone there as a promotion. Shortly after the movie begins, Phil is stabbed in the bathroom while Maureen is stabbed in the theater in front of the entire room of moviegoers. It appeared to be a publicity stunt so no one assisted or called for help until it was too late.
The murders have begun again.
It’s a few years after Woodsboro and Sidney is away at Windsor College along with Randy. As news of Phil and Maureen’s murders hit campus, so do the news crews, including Gale Weathers. Add the arrival of Sidney’s deceased best friend Tatum’s older brother Dewey and all the Legacy Characters of the franchise are back in play, along with Sid’s roommate, Hallie, their friend Mickey, and Sidney’s new boyfriend, Derek.
The police, with the help of Dewey and Gale, figure out that the new killer(s) are recreating the murders in Woodsboro thusly creating a sequel. Remember, that Scream is a reflection of the horror movie industry and the original killers were motivated by the horror industry.
Of course, the event of the movie play out as they do - people surrounding the main character are killed with Sidney being the main focus. This will include Randy, who is killed in broad daylight, being pulled into Gale Weathers’ new van.
There is a secondary story arc in this movie that continues from the first film. In the first scene with Sidney, she sees an interview on TV with Cotton Weary, who was exonerated and cleared of all charges related to the rape and murder of Maureen Prescott. Not long afterward, Sidney and friends see Gale on campus covering the murders from the movie theater. Gale approaches Sidney and surprised her with a face-to-face with the man that Sidney always believed killed her mother until Billy and Stu’s confessions. This angers Sidney and she slaps Gale again. This also angers Cotton who was promised an interview with Sidney and learned that she was ambushed and hadn’t agreed to anything.
Cotton would later appear at a time Sidney was being contacted by Ghostface, making him a suspect.
In the end, the killers are revealed to be Mickey, the film student who wanted to blame the movies for his violent behavior, and Debbie Salt, a local reporter who was a huge fan of Gale’s who turned out to be Mrs. Loomis, Billy Loomis’ mother, who wanted revenge for her killing of Billy.
Arguably, the best movie in the franchise, I gave this one a 10! The characters are all spot on! They all play their roles flawlessly. Gale is still slimy until she realizes the damage she’s causing and puts her career aside. Dewey is trying to protect his surrogate little sister, Sidney but also has a soft spot for Gale. Randy is the movie expert. Hallie is the protective roommate/best friend. Cotton is selfish, focusing only on taking this situation and trying to make as much money as he can. Derek, who is innocent, is the boyfriend trying to stand up for his girl while understanding that he’s the prime suspect.
The story plays out the way a movie that satires the horror industry would with tropes and cliches, but the “we’re making a real-life sequel” story plays out with someone from connected to the original hiring in help.
I mentioned earlier that the opening couple being Black was actually important. Some of the backlash that Scream got was that there weren’t any people of color in the movie. The conversation that Phil and Maureen (played by Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett-Smith) have while in line was about how the horror genre doesn’t include people of color equally in its films. Scream addressed this criticism the way a Scream film would. It also had Hallie (Elise Neal) and Gale’s cameraman, Joel (Duane Martin), who would be played by Black actors. Hallie lasts until right before the finale and Joel makes it to the end. This all plays up the trope of “the Black character dies first” and counters expectations by having the other two Black characters last longer than most.
Again, this is arguably the best movie in the 5-film franchise and the 10 score reflects this.