It’s 20 years since director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson delivered Scream 2, the whip-smart sequel to the original Scream, and it’s a movie that’s well worth revisiting.
Scream 2 might not have lived up to the original in terms of sheer scares and originality, but it surely ranks among the most intelligent horror movie sequels out there with a fun, fresh-faced cast on hand to be sliced and diced to bits by the franchise’s familiar ghostface killer.
While the original took place in the sleepy town of Woodsboro and followed protagonist Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) the sequel upped the ante by following Sidney on to Windsor College.
Set two years after the events of the first movie, the film starts with Sidney trying to move on with her life. She’s got a new boyfriend called Derek (Jerry O’Connell) and a new best friend in roommate Hallie (Elise Neal) while a few other familiar faces are still on the scene.
Sidney’s past soon catches up with her though with the arrival Stab, a new movieinspired by her experiences, sparking a similar murderous rampage across campus.
It’s gory, self-referential fun from there with some spectacular deaths and surprising twists thrown in for good measure – but it was almost an entirely different scenario.
In Williamson’s original script for the movie, the big reveal towards the end of the film was going to be that Sidney was facing off against not one, not two, not even three but four Ghostface killers.
Worse still, Hallie and Derek were both set to be revealed as two of the four killers in a revelation that would have shattered Sidney’s trust in anyone pretty much forever.
They were set to be joined by Liev Schreiber’s character from the first film, Cotton Weary who was accused of the murder of Sidney’s mother in the first film and Debbie Salt (Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf) who would also be revealed as the mother of Billy Loomis, one of the original killers from the first movie.
Sound complicated? It was a little, but in any event the entire plan ended up being scrapped after the whole reveal ended up being leaked online long before the film’s planned December 1997 release.
Thankfully Williamson was able to think on his feet and write an entirely different ending that did away with the four killers idea.
This time round Hallie, Derek and Cotton were not the killers, with Timothy Olyphant’s character Mickey turned from victim to villain, serving as the accomplice to Loomis’ mother, Debbie.
Security and secrecy was beefed up on set to ensure the same leaks didn’t occur and, in the end, the change ended up being a blessing in disguise.
Four killers would have been a bit much and would have likely required some messy exposition that would haved ended up hindering the film.
In turning Derek and Hallie from killers to innocent victims, Williamson also paved the way for two of the film’s more memorable deaths – Hallie is stabbed after she and Sidney manage to an elaborate and tense escape from crashed out police car while Derek is shot dead while tied to a cross.
Having Metcalf’s Debbie served as the main killer also made more sense and was in keeping with the grand traditions of slasher horror movies like Friday The 13th. Throwing in Olyphant’s Mickey and his totally 21st century motives about movie violence and fame also felt like a better fit for this suitably post-modern sequel.
It may not have been ideal for those making the film but Scream 2 might end up being the first and only film to actually benefit from an online leak.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.