Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 25 of Scream 2 (1:14:55-1:21:30)

In this project I attempt to review the entire Scream trilogy scene by scene in chronological order. Heavy spoilers and gore throughout!

SCENE 25 of Scream 2
Length: 6min 35secs
Primary Characters: Gale Weathers, Dewey Riley and Ghostface
Pop Culture References:
  • None

And so we come to my favourite scene in the entire trilogy. Yes, the entire trilogy. That includes the Scream opening, Tatum's garage death, the Scream 2 opening, any scene with Parker Posey in Scream 3... yeah, I love this scene that much! And I love that it gets it's own big, epic, gothic location intro shot complete with scared flying birds, ominous coloured skies and a composition that gives the false implication that this may be the scene of the big climax.

Doesn't this shot remind you of the shots of Stu's house from the original? I think it does.

One reason amongst many for why it's my favourite - ya know, apart from it being scary and tense and the sorta stuff that makes it hard to keep breathing with great set up for the finale, a bonza chase scene, great acting and loving nods to the original - is the music. In a masterstroke of a decision, they chose not to use a piece of original film score by Marco Beltrami (who did the score for all four Scream movies), but instead used Hans Zimmer's music from John Travolta/Christian Slater nuclear missile thriller Broken Arrow. A curious addition, indeed, but this scene makes it work especially well, and it's sprinkled throughout other parts as well, notable mislabeled as "Dewey's Theme" since that twang score pops up whenever he's around.

"It's locked."
"Can you pick it?"
"That would be breaking and entering."
"No shit!"

Hah. Love it.

I actually think the main reason I like this scene so much is because it features, perhaps, Courteney Cox's greatest acting. Much like Drew Barrymore in the opening of Scream, there is something to genuine about her terror in the later part of this scene (which we're, obviously, get to very shortly). But even aside from that, the sprightly way she rings off dialogue like "no shit!" always makes me smile.

Cute! Ow, but cute!

There she is. Mrs Loomis admiring her handy work just like Gale suspected. Yet again, however, they don't show us Mickey, but instead we do get Hallie looking all shifty at Derek... hmmm...

It's almost as if they were setting them up as the killers or somethin'!

Meanwhile, can I mention the shoddy camera work of Joel the Cameraman? Not sure how this was ever meant to be edited into some sort of news segment for Gale's TV show. If I saw this footage I'd look like this, too!

I'd be all "This is what I was paying him for?"

I mean, you know it's pretty bad when the killer's voyeuristic kill-cam is steadier, clearer and has better quality than a profession. Although, I guess, this is Mickey we're talking about.

"You're cute when you're angry."
"Rude. I was being rude."

David Arquette, here at least, is cute when he's embarrassed and bashful! Love this moment. Love these TWO! Ugh. They slay me. Shame that Scream 3's treatment of these two turned them into idiots, but at least they were somewhat more realistic people in Scream 4 with actual problems and actual issues.

Nice streaks.

And bam! False sense of security. I like that this scene mirrors two from Scream. Firstly, the obvious make-out in the bushes scene where they kiss and Gale has to turn Dewey's attention to the mysterious object just feet away (in the original, Neil Prescott's car; here, a TV)...

... and secondly, the way a make out sessions leads to a it-looks-fatal-but-really-isn't stab scene. Well played Kevin Williamson, well played.

Ugh, this scene just works so well. The tension gets turned up to 11 within an instant and I like the way this sorta works as a reminder of how this film has followed it's own rules of there being more death scenes and aims a big ol' target at these two.

Aw, Randy! Imma go cry now, okay?

Holy shit! I vividly remember getting a sudden onset of pins and needles at this moment when I first saw Scream 2. Sure, it's seems so obvious that it was going to happen, but when you're so wrapped up in a movie you stop thinking "oh well this is gonna happen and this is gonna happen", preempting everything you possible can. I had that with Scream 4 as well where after a while I stopped trying to piece all the bits of information we'd seen in trailers and read about and just got swept up in the movie.

While I'm not quite sure how Ghostface got from up in this little room to downstairs behind the desk, this at least isn't quite as egregious of a logic problem as the Hallie death scene coming up. Although, perhaps, it was Mrs Loomis in the video control room to lure somebody up there, leaving the other alone at the bottom of the lecture hall giving Mickey ample opportunity to sneak in through the back entrance and attack.

Still, I've always found myself slightly confused as to the timeline between this and the car chase sequence coming up. Are they the same killer? If so, how much time is elapsing and, as Mickey jokes, if it were just him it would mean he's running around all over campus by himself, which would be exhausting. Then again, something tells me Mrs Loomis is inside a Ghostface costume at some point here because she is outside the building on the telephone later when Gale escapes... but in the sound proof booth section of this scene it looks quite silly to imagine Mrs Loomis there. Aaagh, so confusing. And yet, I don't really care because it's just so good!

Well, being framed like that was never a good sign for a character in a horror movie now was it?

See! At least Gale has good reflexes and was able to hear Ghostface merely by the schwing of the knife cutting through air (what is that sound, anyway?)

Two awesome Gale Weathers moments right here, folks!

First, the dive and slide across the table (which is admittedly hard to screencap, but how funny does that final legs in the air shot look?) is so action movie star marvellous that I love it to bits. I almost expect this to be Linda Hamilton sliding across the table there.


The phone moment! Not because it's particularly wowser or anything, but I just love the shot of Gale looking at this old-fashioned telephone with that look of "what on earth is this telephone doing here?" before just dropping it and running away. It just amuses me is all, okay?!?!

Also: David Arquette's fall down the stairs looks even funnier in slow motion!


You know what? Now that I'm looking harder at this scene than I ever have before, and without the context of having gotten caught up in the film as a whole, I'm actually thinking there's more to my Linda Hamilton comparison than I first thought. Courteney Cox in a tight, white top running down a sterile white corridor from a mysterious killing machine? Reminds me an awful lot of James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgement Day if you ask me. I wonder if there was a deliberate reference in there or if it's purely by accident.

Pretty much the worst thing a horror movie can do is have pitch black and then have a light turn on and standing there in the frame is the killer/ghost/monster/whatever. I will fall for it every single god damned time!

As I've noted repeated times, one of the things I respect most of all about Scream 2 is the scope of it. The way it expands upon the original film like the filmmakers finally got the budget they wanted in the first place. And while there is obviously a lot to appreciate about the economy of the first and how much mileage they get out of a few simple house sets, I love the range of locations used in Scream 2. Scream 3 has the feel of being expansive, but I'm not sure it really is since they spend a lot of time in houses and movie sets that look like houses.

Anyway, this scene is a great example what with the lecture hall - a quintessential college set that I'm glad was utilised - the winding campus corridors and the sound recording booths and their labyrinthine sound-proof wall installations. Such a unique set for a slasher film and such interesting use of space. Love it.

I swear, whenever I watch this scene, I stop breathing from the moment Gale enters the darkened room to the moment she reaches this end destination. Just so perfectly executed. The cinematography here, weaving throughout the studio, is incredible and Cox is too. I also love the playful poses they make Ghostface pull as he/she tries to peer around corners or catch a whimpering whisper from Gale that will give her position away.

Love this shot of yet another brilliant use of composition and set design. Also, the idea that we hadn't seen the window behind Gale before so it adds another discombobulating element to scene; this idea that either one of them could be walking right into a room with the killer. That that killer could be anywhere.

Oh, and what do ya know - there's the killer right there! Meanwhile, I remember hearing the story behind the pizza on the shoe, but I can't remember it. Maybe it was in the commentary? There was some significance behind it, I'm sure.

Ow. Not cute, just ow.

Courteney Cox does such a good job in this scene - I would definitely put her on my ballot for Best Supporting Actress of 1997 - and here is where she really earns her stripes. Her second big scream for the film, but this one is even more pained and it's a gut-wrenching moment to think Gale is witnessing the murder of Dewey.

Don't make me cry, Scream 2! I can't... I won't...

And from devastating sadness to shaking terror. She even did comedy at the start of the scene, so she really does do it all in these six and a half minutes. Bless her.

Hah! Love this moment. Such an obvious, simple scare and yet perhaps the most authentic of the entire film. It's the kind where you jump and then laugh because you can't believe how it got you. Craven doesn't even pretend to try and surprise us here with any big buildup or unexpected direction. He even zooms in on where the scare is going to happen and yet it still works and the little boo scare that Gale gives is great.

The only thing that could have made this scene is greater is a phone call from the killer. If it had that it literally would have had everything that is great about the Scream franchise in it. Although it does have the fabulous phone moment, just without the gravelly voiced stalker on the other end of the line. As it is, it remains my favourite scene from all the films. What say you folk? Is this your favourite or do you lean more towards Barrymore's introduction to the series or something else entirely?

Courteney Cox: Scream 2's MVP.

Again, do you agree? Or does Jada Pinkett's snappy sass do it for you? Timothy Olyphant's deranged insanity? Neve Campbell's solid heroine work? Have your say in the comments!

Intro, Scene 1 Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14, Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20, Scene 21, Scene 22, Scene 23, Scene 24, Scene 25, Scene 26, Scene 27, Scene 28, Scene 29, Scene 30, Scene 31 Scene 32, Scene 33, End Credits

Scream 2
Scene 1, Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14. Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20, Scene 21, Scene 22, Scene 23, Scene 24


Weathers said...

I agree that Courteney Cox is the MVP of "Scream 2." And I am glad that I am not the only one who found her to be Oscar-worthy here. I think this film shows Gale Weathers as a character at her peak.

And I've also found the soundbooth scene to be one of the franchise's absolute best scenes. Cox does a terrific job and I've always found the killer casually looking around for her to be intense. I'm not sure if I would say it's my favorite scene in the franchise, but it's definitely in my top three. Maybe number one.... depending on the day.

I do think this scene is a great example of why the "Scream" films are THE best in the genre. How many horror films have you seen that have built such strong characters and had actors portray them so well that you care so much about them? How many horror films pack the emotional punch of Gale seeing Dewey on the other side of the glass?

Sorry for rambling. I'm loving your "Scream" series!

Row-bin said...

I always had the same question about the pizza shoe moment; upon rewatching the movie a few days ago, maybe it was to show us the small microphone Dewey ends up warning Gail with? Something we don't notice but Dewey does so a few seconds later it's not out of nowhere?

I got nothing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, this is a clear highlight of the series, in a way it summarizes everything that´s good about the Scream movies and it´s soooo tense!

The DJF said...

This is definitely a favorite scene of mine, within the entire franchise. My only issue is - why did the killer actually KILL Dewey? Or did he/she actually think he would be dead? It just seems a little cheap for him to be stabbed, but not killed.

Eric Ericson said...

Agree, my favorite scene as well. Best stalk scene ever.

John from Jersey said...

Love it love it love. Scream 2 is my favorite of the franchise, and this scene is one of the main reasons. I would say that the recording studio cat-and-mouse chase of this scene competes with the crawling out of the cop car scene for creating a suspenseful scene. While I agree that Hallie's death is dumb, watching her and Sydney slowly crawling over the killer was so damn good. And the music when Gale is running down the hallway... oustanding. Not sure if that is the Broken Arrow music you mentioned, but regardless I love the way it tips its hat to Psycho.

remy said...

I just love this scene, definitely one of the top 10 in the trilogy, but tatum in the garage is the best for me.

jakey said...

I think my favorite has to be the scene with Sidney and Hallie in the car -- yes, the gap of logic is hard to ignore (and *why* does Sidney insist on turning back??), but the moments of the two of them crawling over the killer, not knowing if he's alive or not, were absolutely terrifying in the theater.

But this sequence is right up there, as is Jada Pinkett's death scene.

Tony said...

Damn I love this scene too. I don't know if I'd say it's my favourite (I think that goes to the opening scene with Drew), but it is definitely one of my favourites.

Though... sadly, I kinda wish they killed Dewey off here. It would have made rewatching Scream 2 that much more heartbreaking. I mean, is Dewey really that necessary in Scream 3 and 4? I LOVE the character, but him dying here I think would have made the series that much better. I mean think of 3 and 4 with just Sidney and Gale... would be totally different, right? And I can't help but think for the better, lol.

Glenn Dunks said...

John From Jersey, I stupidly didn't mention the Marco Beltrami music that was used in this scene. It's called "Love Turns Sour" and it's available on the duel Scream/Scream 2 score soundtrack that Dimension released. It's a terribly tiny compilation of Beltrami's music from both films, of which "Love Turns Sour" is the best. In fact, I'd probably say it's one of the top 5 music cues of the series.