Horror Franchise – Scream 2 (1997) Revisited

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Jerry O’Connell, Jada Pinkett, Liev Schreiber, Elise Neal, Joshua Jackson, Timothy Olyphant


Plot: Two years after the first series of murders, a new psychopath dons the Ghostface costume and a new string of killings begins.

Tagline – Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far

Runtime: 2 Hours


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Smart Sequel


Story: Scream 2 starts a couple of years after the events in the first film, a motion picture called ‘Stab’ is just being released from the Gale Weathers (Cox) book about the events, at the premier two teenagers are murdered. We pick up with Sidney (Campbell) at college still dealing with prank phone calls.

We get to see old faces in Randy (Kennedy) Gale, Dewey (Arquette) along with new friends Cici (Gellar), Mickey (Olyphant), new boyfriend Derek (O’Connell) and roommate Hallie (Neal) who bring us a brand new selection of suspects and potential victims, add Cotton Weary (Schreiber) the man who did time for a crime he never committed to the picture we will be kept guessing through this one.


Thoughts on Scream 2


Characters – Sidney is back studying a college and over the events of the first film, she has moved on with a new boyfriend and new friends, that is until the ‘Stab’ movie is released. Sidney becomes the primary target of the killer and must use the experience with surviving a massacre before to make it out alive. Dewey still suffering the effects of his injuries in the first film, he is no longer a cop and with the events occurring he arrives back in Sidney’s life to try and help before the killer can get near her. Gale wrote the book on the murders, the one that the movie is based on, she is still trying to get a story, but does start to learn the errors in her way when she deals with other reporters. Cotton Weary does have a bigger part this time, as he is trying to piece his life back together after the wrongful accusations. Randy returns to give us the rules needed to make a sequel which an important part of the original. Of our new characters we get the new boyfriend in Derek who seems to be the best part of Sidney’s new life. Cici is the best friend at the college that is the more popular one at the college. This movie does have a larger cast than the first film which doesn’t always give the characters enough screen time.

PerformancesNeve Campbell is still good in her role, she does make us believe she is the everyday student that is being tormented by the killer. Courteney Cox and David Arquette continue their good work in the supporting roles, where this film struggles to get the best of the of the supporting cast is by introducing too many characters, with Sarah Michelle Gellar seemingly filling the Drew Barrymore type role, where we expect to see her more in the film.

StoryThe story picks up in a universe following the events of the first film where Hollywood makes movies on massacres, with this release we get to see the darker side of Hollywood taking advantage of real-life murders and how the innocent victims and survivor can be painted differently to cinematic purposes, well that seems to be the message I picked up on in this one. when it comes to the slasher side of things we get to watch the victims getting picked off by the killer, this does feel the same as before, while the references through this film focus on the idea of the sequels that Hollywood makes, and how they always story to improve on the last, though we do step away from the horror discussion this time.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film comes from the ideas that people can take advantage of tragic stories for a bigger story, reflecting the events of the film, the mystery can keep us guessing to just who could be behind it this time around with plenty of potential suspects.

SettingsThis time the film is set in a college that show us just where Sidney is now in her life which is important as she has moved on, but the event will always be part of her life.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film once again show us how blood and gore can be achieved without going over the top.

Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many supporting characters this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that is well worth the watch, it shows progression in the horror genre with a sequel that does make sense to how an everyday person would be moving on with their life after the events in the first one, while still having the tragedy on their shoulder.


Overall: Good fun sequel.




Cruel Intention (1999)

Director: Roger Kumble

Writer: Roger Kumble (Screenplay) Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius


Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.

Tagline – What you can’t have, you can’t resist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Darkly Delicious


Story: Cruel Intentions starts as the elite prep school step siblings Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) are planning their next conquests in making the fellow students or authority figures pay for going against them. Kathryn wants to destroy new student Cecile (Blair) for dating her ex-girlfriend, while Sebastian wants to break the new headmaster’s daughter Annette’s (Witherspoon) belief about waiting for sex before marriage.

We watch how the two navigate their way through the elite to achieve their goals only for Sebastian to start to change from his seductive ways.


Thoughts on Cruel Intentions


Characters – Kathryn is the two faced elite society girl, two the parents she is the good polite guide for their daughters through the prep school, with her brother and friends she plays people however she wants to get things done, she holds grudges and has power over her step-brother, to help her enjoy seeing people fall. Sebastian has a reputation that has seen him go through the girls at the school, he gets what he wants but is bored of the easy girls that can be pushed around. He sets his sights on the new headmaster’s daughter which will give him a new look on life. Annette is the headmaster’s daughter that has sworn off sex before marriage, she is determined not to let Sebastian take advantage of her and break her code, knowing the truth about his past.

PerformancesSarah Michelle Gellar was known for her bad ass Buffy the Vampire Slayer when this movie came out, this performance broke her typecast and showed that she could do a much darker role. Ryan Phillippe is wonderful in this role, you can see how he plans to get ahead at every step of the way believing his confident character. Reese Witherspoon bought us the innocent character we now know her for, we need her to be strong, she is and that look makes her look the part perfectly. This is easily one of he best cast movies of recent years.

StoryThe story takes us into the elite prep school life where the kids are free enough to be planning their next sexual conquest because money is no longer an issue for them. Seeing how the story plans out is interesting from early on to the finish as the plans between the characters and how the step-siblings manipulate the people in their lives is twisted. The pace of the story is great too, it never feels like it lets up from start to finish. It does however show how stupid rich kids can be because they have never learnt morals.

RomanceThe romance in this film is a complete mix, we get to see how romance can be used just for sex and how it can change people to become better people.

SettingsThe New York setting is perfect for this movie, it shows how the elite school kids can get up to the most pointless behaviour because of boredom and belief they have the power over anyone.

Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me These kids never go to school.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful dark romantic thriller, that uses the music perfectly, has brilliant performances and is easily one of the most watchable films out of the late 90s.


Overall: Special movie that hasn’t aged a day.




Franchise Weekend – The Grudge 2 (2006)

casting card


Plot: Three interwoven stories about a terrible curse. A young woman encounters a malevolent supernatural force while searching for her missing sister in Tokyo; a mean high school prank goes horribly wrong; a woman with a deadly secret moves into a Chicago apartment building.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Solid but Not Effective Sequel


Story: The Grudge 2 starts with the similar start as the last film with a strange unanswered event before introducing us to three school kids from the International school Allison (Kebbel), Miyuki (Uno) and Vanessa (Palmer) who like all school kids like to investigate haunted houses. While in the house they get a visit from the ghostly spirit who has been unleashed once more and tell us the plot of the first movie.

To keep things confusing Aubrey (Tamblyn) the sister of Karen (Gellar) has to go to Tokyo to bring her sister back home only to find her under police watch. To complete the third part of our story we go back to meet Trish (Beals) and Bill (Cousins) who are just moving in together with Bill’s kids Lacey (Roemer) and Jake (Knight).

After Karen falls to her death Aubrey teams up with a journalist Eason (Chen) to investigate the house while the school girls find themselves haunted by the spirit.

The Grudge 2 is a film that does way too much for the time required, we have to follow three storylines with two having next to no contact with the research to the haunting side of the story. We have way too many characters to keep up with which doesn’t help because just as we start following one we jump to the next. I did like that we took the action outside of the house but then we also lose all of the special feeling behind the original. I will also point out this kind of just ends without given enough time to the stories to end with enough closure.


Actor Review


Amber Tamblyn: Aubrey is the sister of Karen from first film, she has been sent to Tokyo to bring her sister back home to America but it isn’t long before she finds herself having to investigate the house where the events took place after what looks like her sister’s suicide. Amber is good in this leading role without being fully stand out due to screen time.

Arielle Kebbel: Allison is a school girl that gets tricked into going in the house as a form of proving herself to be tough to a couple of fellow students. In the house she meets the spirit and spends her time in terror from the hauntings. Arielle is good but spends most of the film in her freaked out stage.

Jennifer Beals: Trish is the new wife or partner of Bill who is moving in with his family, we see what she does in the opening scene. Jennifer is solid in this role showing the caring side as well as the darker side.

Edison Chen: Eason is a journalist that works with Aubrey to uncover the truth about the curse on the house, he is being haunted at the same time and knows it is a race against time. Edison is solid in this role helping to fill in the gaps needed in finish the potential story.

Support Cast: The Grudge 2 has a supporting cast that does include a few actresses who have gone onto bigger and better things with Teresa Palmer, Jenna Dewan both getting a steady horror scene under their belts. All of the supporting cast do a good job by making the victims feel like we just don’t know who will be the next victim.

Director Review: Takashi ShimizuTakashi keeps the scare factor but overcomplicates the story.


Horror: The Grudge 2 still has great scares being used through the film.

Thriller: The Grudge 2 doesn’t give us enough time to each story to pull us fully into the story.

Settings: The Grudge 2 decides to move the settings to everywhere in Tokyo which really doesn’t help the concept of the story.
Special Effects
: The Grudge 2 has good effects to create the horror being used.

Suggestion: The Grudge 2 is only going to be one to try, it just doesn’t have the full effects of the original. (Try It)


Best Part: Basement footsteps.

Worst Part: Too many stories going on.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: What Was Once Trapped, Will Now Be Unleashed


Overall: Solid but just not effective enough horror.




Franchise Weekend – The Grudge (2004)

casting card

Plot: An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Solid American Remake


Story: The Grudge starts with a mysterious suicide before taking us to the house with the curse in where our young American student Karen (Gellar) gets a chance to do her first solo care work. When she gets a visit from a random child in the house we see how the family ended up in the house before learning what is going on inside the house.

We watch how Karen has to try to get to the bottom of everything going on within house trying to put the ghost to rest once and for all.

The Grudge enters into one of my favourite style of horror with a ghost haunting with a backstory needing to be solved. Having seen the original, it all feels rather random just to have Americans in the Asian roles but still set in Japan which does takes away certain parts of the film. My big issue is that Karen doesn’t seem to know any Japanese and you would have thought having a job there they would make sure you can get past the very basic language barrier. If we are just looking at the horror side of the story we do get great scare moments that all tie together by the end of the film.


Actor Review


Sarah Michelle Gellar: Karen is the American care student who gets her first assignment which ends up entering her into the world of a cursed house and a vengeful spirit. She must research the truth to try and finally put the spirit to rest and end the killing. Sarah is solid in the leading role but like always it is hard to see her in a scared role after Buffy.

Jason Behr: Doug is the boyfriend of Karen who tries to help her settle in the area while pretty much doing nothing else in this film other than be the dumb partner of lead. Jason does what he can for the poorly written character.

William Mapother: Matthew is one half of the couple that moved into the house and has to deal with the sudden impact of the haunting. William is solid but only a small supporting character.

Clea DuVall: Jennifer is the other half of the couple that gets haunted first inside the house where we see the terrifying truth behind the ghost boy. Clea is solid but again only a small supporting role.

Support Cast: The Grudge has a supporting cast where we only see in a couple of scenes filling in the story going on during the hauntings.

Director Review: Takashi ShimizuTakashi does bring his style of horror into the American styles which does work nicely throughout.


Horror: The Grudge still has the creepy side to the story the original has with the scare coming thick and fast.

Mystery: The Grudge does give us a mystery to solve about why the ghosts are killing the people.

Thriller: The Grudge keeps us on edge during the whole film as we wait to see what will happen next.

Settings: The Grudge keeps the settings in similar location as the original which all works keep the creep factor stay strong.
Special Effects
: The Grudge has great effects to create the scares going on through the film.

Suggestion: The Grudge is one I would be suggesting to all horror fans out there. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: Jaws missing.

Worst Part: That noise.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: One Missed Call, The Ring


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: Do you have a grudge?


Overall: Good horror remake that is filled with scares.





Scooby Doo (2002)

logoDirector: Raja Gosnell

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Craig Titley, James Gunn (Story) William Hanna, Joseph Barbera (Characters)

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Isla Fisher


Plot: After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Memories


Story: Scooby Doo starts by showing the Mystery Inc. solving a case in the only way we are used too. After capturing the bad guy we see how the group is at breaking point before they go their separate ways. Two years pass and the group all get invited to Mondavarious (Atkinson) Spooky Island to solve a mystery. While Shaggy (Lillard) tries to play peace maker between the group the tension is still there. Fred (Prinze), Daphne (Gellar) and Velma (Cardellini) all try to prove they have what it takes to solve the mystery on their own, but it soon becomes apparent they need to put aside their differences to solve the most difficult mystery of their lives.group

Scooby Doo was always going to be difficult to adapt into a live action film, we are all used to seeing a short 20 minute or so show with a person in a mask. Extending this for the amount of time it has mixed with the real monsters works, it also uses the idea to create the characters more showing how after the length of time together the friendship is getting stretch. This is all good because it shows the human side of the solving mysteries. Where the film gets its negative points is in the idea of who the villain really is, but as it is such a disliked character people will be glad that thy will not have to see that character in later sequels. Its keeps most of the fun elements the cartoon created, but is always going to be difficult for everyone to like. (6/10)


Actor Review


Freddie Prinze Jr: Fred the leader of the group who is more interested in himself than the team, he must learn that he needs the rest of the group and that the world doesn’t revolve around him. Freddie does a good job a Fred pulling of the self-cantered character well. (7/10)


Sarah Michelle Gellar: Daphne starting out as the damsel in distress but after the two years apart she has learnt to handle herself and has learnt that it is her time to solve the mystery. Sarah makes for a good Daphne as we are used to her looking like a damsel but turning into kick ass girl. (7/10)


Matthew Lillard: Shaggy the loveable misfit of the group who wants to keep them together at all costs, he never wants to turn his back on his friends but always finds himself in the getting caught up in the middle of a mystery. Matthew pulls of Shaggy perfectly, making him feel like the real version we always wanted to see. (9/10)


Linda Cardellini: Velma the brains of the act who wants to get the recognition for the work she does for the team. Linda does a good job because Velma was always going to be the hardest character to portray. (8/10)


Character Review: Scooby Doo – We all love the Scooby Doo and the creation might look a little bit iffy but character was all fun throughout. (8/10)


Support Cast: Scooby Doo has an interesting selection of supporting characters where we see a group have romantic interests and a full range of potential suspects.


Director Review: Raja Gosnell – Raja does a good job to create a fun family film from a much loved television show. (7/10)


Adventure: Scooby Doo has a solid sense of adventure used throughout. (7/10)

Comedy: Scooby Doo uses the same level of comedy that we would like in the show but some is targeted too young and fart jokes are just lazy. (5/10)

Mystery: Scooby Doo creates a good mystery for the group to solve. (7/10)

Settings: Scooby Doo uses the typical location for a Scooby Doo where it can look innocent but turns into a mystery. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Scooby Doo has some poor effects used for the monster and Scooby Doo creation. (4/10)

Suggestion: Scooby Doo is one to be watch by fans and would be enjoyed by a family selection. (Family Time)


Best Part of Scooby Doo: The recreation of how the characters are seen.

Worst Part of Scooby Doo: The terrible and unfunny burping and farting contest between Shaggy and Scooby.

Favourite Quote: Shaggy ‘Friends don’t quit’


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel and a prequel.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $275 Million

Budget: $84 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: Be Afraid. Be Kind of Afraid


Overall: Enjoyable but Not Great

Rating 65