5. Scream 2 (1998)
To cover the obvious first, it’s nearly impossible for a sequel to complete the original, which is a fact they make explicitly clear in this film, a sequel. Again, talk about meta. However, Scream 2 does make a stellar sequel by building upon the rules of the original — surviving the rules of a sequel to a horror movie.
While the original largely focuses on the idea that horror movies can inspire killers, the sequel takes that notion to the next level. In the sequel, Sidney and her friends contend with a much publicized news story based on what happened to them in the first film, as well as Stab, the film-within-the-film that also captured their experiences. Talk about double the inspiration – and within the rules of the franchise, it makes that both these would motivate others to take up the mantle of Ghostface.
Speaking of Ghostface in this instalment, the film turns the tables on audience expectations of who the killer might be. Is Sidney’s new boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) the new Billy or does Sidney finally have a decent romantic partner? The sequel keeps us guessing the identity of the killer until it’s revealed that Ghostface is none other than film-obsessed Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) and Debbie Salt/Mrs. Loomis (Laurie Metcalfe), the mother of Billy, the previous film’s killer, who wanted revenge against Sidney.
What is interesting about the killer’s identities is the stark contrast between their motivations and how they tie back the tone of the films. We’ve got Mickey, who wants to test the theory – introduced in the original and developed in this film – that scary movies can create killers. But, we’ve also got Mrs. Loomis who was inspired to kill, not by the movies but rather due to the events that resulted in her son’s death, giving viewers a Pamela Voorhees/Friday the 13th-like familiarity. But the motivations for both of these villains take the themes and character development explored in the original to a new level.