Scream 2 is a 1997 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. It stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O'Connell, Elise Neal, Timothy Olyphant, Jada Pinkett and Liev Schreiber. The film was released on December 12, 1997, less than a year after the first, by Dimension Films, as the second installment in the Scream film series. It was followed by three sequels, Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011), and a fifth film, which began filming in September 2020. Scream 2 takes place two years after the first film and again follows the character of Sidney Prescott (Campbell), and other Woodsboro survivors, at the fictional Windsor College in Ohio, who becomes the target of a copycat killer using the guise of Ghostface.
Like its predecessor, Scream 2 combines the violence of the slasher genre with elements of comedy, satire and "whodunit" mystery while satirizing the cliché of film sequels.
Williamson provided a five-page outline for a sequel to Scream when auctioning his original script, hoping to entice bidders with the potential of buying a franchise. Following a successful test screening of Scream and the film's financial and critical success, Dimension moved forward with the sequel while Scream was still in theaters, with the principal cast all returning to star, Craven to direct and Beltrami to provide music.
The film suffered controversy following its significant issues with plot information leaking onto the Internet, revealing the identity of the killers. Combined with the film's rushed schedule, the script was rewritten often; pages were sometimes completed on the day of filming. Despite these issues, Scream 2 earned $172.4 million at the box office, only $683,362 less than Scream, and received positive reviews from critics, with some arguing that it surpassed the original in quality.
Beltrami received positive critical reception for his score for evolving the musical themes of the characters created in Scream although some critics claimed that the most memorable pieces from the film were created by composers Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. Elfman's contribution had been specially written for the film, but Zimmer's score for Broken Arrow was controversially used in the film, replacing Beltrami's own work. The film's soundtrack achieved moderate sales success, reaching #50 on the Billboard 200.
Windsor College seniors Maureen Evans and Phil Stevens attend a sneak preview of Stab, a film based on the events of the Woodsboro Massacre. During the screening, Phil uses the restroom and is killed by Ghostface. Ghostface proceeds to enter the screening and sits beside Maureen, who thinks it is Phil trying to scare her before finding blood on his jacket. Ghostface fatally stabs her, which the audience mistakes for a publicity stunt until Maureen falls dead in front of the movie screen.
The following day, the news media, including local journalist Debbie Salt, descend on Windsor College where Sidney Prescott studies alongside her best friend Hallie McDaniel, her new boyfriend Derek Feldman, fellow Woodsboro survivor Randy Meeks and Derek's best friend Mickey Altieri. Two other Woodsboro survivors arrive at the campus: police officer Dewey Riley to offer Sidney protection and reporter Gale Weathers to cover the case. Gale tries to stage a confrontation between Sidney and Cotton Weary, who is attempting to gain fame from his exoneration for the murder of Sidney's mother, Maureen Prescott. After Gale Weathers forcibly confronts Sidney with Cotton Weary, Sidney angrily hits Gale.
Later that evening, Sidney and Hallie attend a party at a sorority house. At a nearby sorority house, Ghostface murders student Cici Cooper. After all the partygoers leave, Ghostface crashes the party and attacks Sidney, though Derek intervenes. Ghostface injures Derek but flees when the police arrive. Later, after realizing that Cici's real name is Casey, Gale theorizes that the new Ghostface targets students having the same names as the Woodsboro murder victims while Randy explains to Dewey the rules of horror movie sequels and theorizes that the killer is likely someone Sidney knows. Gale, Dewey, and Randy are talking on the campus lawn when Ghostface calls, hinting that he is watching them. Gale and Dewey decide to search for him while Randy keeps him talking. As Gale and Dewey are looking around the campus, Ghostface drags Randy into Gale's broadcast van and murders him. As night falls, Dewey and Gale review the tape of Ghostface killing Randy. The killer attacks them, stabbing Dewey while Gale escapes. Two officers drive Sidney and Hallie to a local police station, but Ghostface murders them. In the ensuing struggle, Ghostface is knocked unconscious, but soon revives and kills Hallie, prompting Sidney to flee.
Back at the campus, Sidney finds Derek in the auditorium tied to a cross. Sidney begins to untie him when Ghostface arrives. The killer reveals himself to be Mickey and shoots Derek, killing him. Mickey tells Sidney that he intends to kill her and allow himself to be arrested so he can blame violence in movies for the murders at his trial. He then introduces Debbie Salt as his accomplice, whom Sidney recognizes as Mrs. Loomis, the mother of Billy Loomis, who is seeking revenge against Sidney for killing her son. Mickey explains that Mrs. Loomis paid for Mickey's tuition fee in exchange for his killings. Mrs. Loomis then betrays Mickey and shoots him. Before Mickey collapses, he shoots Gale, causing her to fall off the stage. Sidney and Mrs. Loomis fight, until Cotton intervenes and Mrs. Loomis holds a knife to Sidney's throat. In exchange for an interview with Diane Sawyer, Cotton shoots Mrs. Loomis in the throat. As they debate whether or not Mrs. Loomis is dead, they find Gale still alive. Mickey suddenly resurfaces, to which Gale and Sidney retaliate by shooting him to death. Sidney turns to Mrs. Loomis and shoots her in the head to ensure she is dead.
When the police arrive the next morning, Dewey is revealed to still be alive and Gale climbs into the ambulance with him rather than taking the opportunity to report to the cameras on the murders, showing that she cared more for Dewey than for the notoriety she always sought. Sidney instructs the press to direct questions to Cotton, rewarding him with the fame he has been chasing while removing the attention from herself as she leaves the university campus.