Thursday, July 7, 2011

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 27 of Scream 2 (1:23:41-1:29:08)

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

SCENE 27 of Scream 2
Length: 5min 27secs
Primary Characters: Sidney Prescott, Hallie, Officer Andrews, Officer Richards and Ghostface
Pop Culture References:
  • None

Talk about one-two punch! First the sound proof stalk scene - my favourite scene of the trilogy - and now the car chase escape sequence, which is surely the most tension filled five minutes of Scream 2. They really reached the peak of their filmmaking with this 15 or so minute block at the beginning of the third act, didn't they?

Notice how she's constantly on the look out here and yet later in the scene, she runs blindly off towards the destination of the killer. She should know not to do that! Alas, we'll get to Sidney's stupidity later.

"So, where you takin' us anyway?"

"If we tell you we'll have to kill you."

*oh no you didn't!*

He may as well have said "we'll be right back" since it was obvious Ghostface was gonna pop up at some point. Still, this is a really awesome arrival by Ghostface, and bloody, too! While I really liked the bit in Scream 4 with the two cops and the killer popping up from behind, I really didn't like the way the Anthony Anderson character died with a joke. It's just not something this franchise had done before. The cops in Scream 2, however, die brutally and cruelly. I like that the gay cop - I think it's the gay one, they're easy to mix up - has a final line about "don't ask, don't tell!" before getting the slash. Teehee.

Yes, these feel like appropriate responses. Hallie holding her neck is particularly priceless.

Also an appropriate reaction. As Hallie would say... "ouch!"

This reminds me of that great moment where Ghostface taunts Sidney in the cop car by dangling the keys from outside while she's trying to get away. As per Randy's instructions and the need for things to be much more elaborate, I like that instead of a set of keys Ghostface taunts Sidney in a cop car with, what else, but an actual cop. Slamming him into the window in particularly realistic, violent fashion.

Mmm, yum!


Wow. 400. Consider there are 30 minutes of Scream 2 left, I wonder if we'll beat the total of 535 grabs from Scream that I took (including end credits).

Love this shot of Ghostface through the police car dividing barrier. It has a wonderful duel roll of showing how trapped, and yet protected, Sidney and Hallie are from the killer.

Another shot that I love, mostly because we so rarely get such a clear close-up of the mask like this, but also because the almost playful way he (we're assuming this is Mickey, yeah?) slightly tilts his head as if to say "aw, you wanna play?"

WEEEEE! Looks fun.

This scene runs so fast that I've had to play it in slow motion just to get certain stills. Having done that I've noticed several "goofs" if you will. Firstly, there's already blood on the officer's neck before Ghostface even slashes him! Secondly, the obvious stunt move where Ghostface goes to kick the other office and doesn't make contact - sure, not a goof, but it's funny to see - and then right here you can see he's already a dummy corpse before the pole even goes through his head. You can't tell me that image up there is of a real person, can you?

These aren't "issues" with the film, they're just funny observations. There's only so much gore and mayhem one can discuss in this series before it all sounds alike. Speaking of gore and mayhem though...

Five words: "brain matter on the pole."

It was at this moment when I tweeted this:

Because, I think, there comes a time in everyone's life where they type such words and have to pause and reflect. "brain matter on the pole". I think this phrase may become my new expression for when I feel lost and unfocused by work. It's just so... yeah.

Yet another appropriate reaction from Hallie. And I love Sidney's wise-ass retort of "It's a cop car, we're not" to Hallie's "how are we supposed to get outta here?" question. Good job Sidney.

Thinking about now, it seems quite silly that nobody gave either Sidney or Hallie a mobile phone to call for help on in case something like this did happen. Never mind though because, ohmygod, so terrifying.

I like how Sidney - and this was further developed in Scream 4 - takes charge of the situation. How she, who in clearly the focus of attention of the killer, is the one who enacts this crazy plan to not only slide on into the front of the car with Ghostface, but also lean right across the killer (with chance of bloody gut shot) to escape. Her strength coming out, making her even braver than she suspected. It's like that bit in Scream 3 where she tells Roman to get to the point because she's "heard it all before".

All these close-ups of the Ghostface mask have suddenly reminded me of V for Vendetta where there were long shots of "V" talking through his mask in close-up, but because it was a mask there was no movement and it was like "this is stupid, we're just watching a mask." Not so much the case here because there's not only the mystery of who's underneath the mask, but also the mystery whether they're conscious. Any slight movement would make the entire cinema jump. Craven and Williamson knew this and so...

THE WORST CAR HONK IN CINEMA HISTORY. Ugh. It gets me every time, too! I always give a little bit a jump no matter how many time's I've seen it. This scene just works so effectively that the most primitive of scares - "the boo machine", basically - work wonderfully and genuinely.

"Don't do that again!"

That would be preferable.

Looking at this scene the way we are, I've actually found myself growing quite fond of Elise Neal. She gives good reaction shot and sells her lines really well.

Basically I just sit there going "oh shit oh shit oh shit" (etc) during this bit. One of the best suspenceful moments in the entire series, that's for sure and it's a scene of uncharacteristic subtlety for the slasher genre. It could have gone so many different ways, but I like that they made it more about Sidney and Hallie having the strength to make it out of this situation rather than having their escape fall into their laps.

"Right through the eye!"

Whenever she says this I imagine at the end of the pole is the officer's eye just hanging there like those scenes in the Toy Story movies where Mr or Mrs Potato Head leave their eye somewhere and can still see out of it. And that, my dear readers, is probably the only time in this entire project where Pixar will be referenced. Savour it.

Smart people.

Stupid people.

"Look, stupid people go back, okay? Smart people run. We're smart people so we should just get the fuck outta here!"

This is one of my favourite lines of dialogue and one of my favourite deliveries of the film. It's one of those lines that if you were making a list of the top 5 selections of dialogue that typifies the Scream franchise that you would have to include. The idea that only stupid people "go back" to the killer and that smart people (like, for instance, Joel the Cameraman) would just disappear the hell away from the scene. And yet they then twist it around to have Hallie - a smart girl - be the one who gets murdered because, ta da, she didn't "go back". It's all very circular in notion, but it works.

Now, if only Hallie's murder made sense.

This shot is, alongside the "Ghostface in the broken window" shot from scene 22, one of my absolute tip top favourite shots in the entire film. I love the composition with the steam, the lighting and Sidney's pose, but I also love that not only can you blatantly tell Ghostface isn't in the car, but it has all the wonderful sight gag of all the arrows pointing away as if to (ahem) scream at these two to go away in that direction. It's even in big flashing lights and they still ignored it.

And herein lies the problem with this scene. It's the only moment where they truly dropped the ball of logic. Each of the films in the trilogy has one - Scream 4 has several - like the "cheesy tabloid journalist left for dead" part from Scream and the "checking Roman's pulse" scene from Scream 3, but this one just makes no gosh darn sense in any world based around physics.

I get that Ghostface easily could've awoken and slunk away while Sidney and Hallie were having their little debate, but how did - and I see this as being aware that the slasher genre was built upon villains being able to disappear into thin air and materialise somewhere else - the killer go so unnoticed as to appear behind Hallie like he does here?

It just doesn't make a lick of sense. Mickey would've had to go unnoticed getting out of the car (presumably by going through the window because the door was jammed) and somehow running away in his heavy, chunky boots going in some kind of 270 degree circle around them since to one side of them is a big ol' wall. Can anyone explain this? It's not like the two killers are working in tandem during this scene since it's made quite obvious in the very next one that Mrs Loomis is elsewhere on campus.

Oh, I'm so confused!!

Another appropriate reaction, especially since Hallie is being murdered right now just because of Sidney. If they'd only kept running...

I love how completely over the top the sound editing is during Hallie's murder. Some of the stabs sound like oinking piglets with helium in their lungs. Mixed in, of course, with that slick metal sound that the knife in these movies always somehow makes as well as the gurgly squishy sounds of oozing blood. Love it.

Bad. Ass.

What do you guys think of this scene? Is it one of the series' best or does its illogical end dampen your enthusiasm? For what it's worth, I still think the scene is indeed one of the series' best, even if it ends on that somewhat baffling note.

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, Scene 25, Scene 26


jakey said...

I think that *before* Hallie's death, this is one of the best scenes of the entire trilogy. Watching this scene in the theater as a 13-year-old, my friend and I were absolutely terrified, holding the popcorn in front of our faces. Hallie and Sidney's escape from the car was masterful. I also think that the first-time viewer doesn't realize how illogical Hallie's death is. The first time you watch this movie, you're so in the moment that the catharsis of the car escape is so overwhelming that Hallie's death plays as a sucker punch. I don't think you realize the silliness of it (270-degree turn, as you say) until you're watching with retrospect.

I also wish that Hollywood would have offered better roles for Elise Neal. Unfortunately for her, as an African-American woman in her 30's, her most visible roles were as the wife on UPN's "The Hughleys" and as the wife on UPN's "All Of Us".

Weathers said...

I think that the overall scene is strong enough to make up for the unforunate way it ends.

It is definitely full of tension. I remember how Kevin Williamson always seemed to get all of the credit for the films when they first came out, but this scene (and the previous one with Gale in the soundproof booth) show how integral Wes Craven was in the success of these films. I imagine this scene was much more the result of Craven's ideas than Williamson's. Not to knock the latter, but I feel Craven is often an underrated director. And his greatest stuff is on display in scenes like this.

And as amazing as the scene is, even when I was watching it in the theatre as an 11-year-old, the sound effects for the stabbing bothered me. It sounds like Ghostface is squeezing a rubber ducky. That's not scary.

John from Jersey said...

I agree with Jakey. The first time I saw this scene, my nerves were too frazzled for me to look at it logically. The set up of having Sid and Hallie forced to climb over the killer was just so damn good that I have no problem with the teleportation skills required by the killer at the end of the scene.

In fact, prior to finding this "Scream to Scream" blog months ago, I never put the Scream movies under much scrutiny even though I have watched them enough to (sadly) know instantly when someone is misquoting the dialogue. I am loving the hell out of this blog, even though there is a slight risk that comes with looking at the Scream movies too closely... kinda like peeking into the kitchen of a favorite restaurant.

Luckily, I don't need to put Scream into my mouth in order to enjoy it.

Tony said...

See, I always imagined that Ghostface left the car, then immediately moved behind the wall next to the dead cop. Yes there's a wall, but I think it's only there for construction. It looks like you could easily slip behind it and end up where Hallie was. Just look at it closely in the stills. See??? Lol.

BUT, still pretty stupid. If only Wes had shot Sidney and Hallie having their conversation behind that pile of wood... where the car WAS NOT visible in the shot, then it would have worked. We could have believed that Ghostface escaped.