How a scene in SCREAM 2 defines the series. (Updated! 5/31/17)


Trying to explain why Cici's death defines the SCREAM franchise.

Another Scream-related article on MorbidMuch?  Say what?!  Oh, don't act surprised.  Our most popular Scream article is far and away the Who killed Tatum Riley?  My analysis! post.  But, today, I'm going to dive into Scream 2 and why I believe that Cici's (Sarah Michelle Gellar) death scene defines the series.

The movie was released in late 1997, but just to clarify...spoilers...

We're first introduced to the character of Casey "Cici" Cooper early on in the film during the sequel discussion in Film Theory class scene.  It establishes that Cici is a movie buff and is hip to all the horror tropes -- she even makes it pretty clear that she isn't a fan of sequels, like Randy.

After her brief introduction, her character basically disappears until about a half-hour into the film, where we discover that she's alone in her sorority house, Omega Beta Zeta (she has the task of being "sober sister" for the night).

Cici's on the couch, channel surfing -- and she's on the phone with a girlfriend.  An incoming call beeps in.

She believes it's her boyfriend Ted.  She learns otherwise.

The two have a little back and forth and the killer keeps answering Cici's questions with questions of his own -- and she even addresses this (clever girl).

The conversation ends when Cici grows impatient and asks the killer if he wants to leave a message for someone.  He responds, "Do you want to die tonight, Cici?"

Another call beeps in.  It's the girl she was talking to earlier.  Cici tells her about the call and her friend makes a pop culture reference, "It's that movie Stab, it's bringing out the crazies."

While on the phone, Cici hears some commotion upstairs -- there's someone in the house.  The girl on the phone teases Cici about it.  Cici, being smarter than the average horror movie victim, decides to leave the house.  But there's one problem, the further she gets from the house, the worse the reception gets on the cordless phone.  She decides to call campus security and report the incident, but the reception still sucks.  So she heads back into the house...

Suddenly, someone pops out a startles her.  It's another sorority sister who hasn't left for the party yet.  Cici is set at ease because this explains the noises coming from upstairs.

The phone rings again and the sister snatches it out of Cici's hand.  It's the killer, wanting to speak to Cici and claiming to be Ted (fucking genius!).

And as the sister hands Cici the phone and says, "It's your ill-conceived boyfriend," we see Ghostface sneak into the house behind them and hide out of frame.

The sister leaves, "I'll see you later and don't forget to set the alarm."

Cici gets back on the phone, "Hello, Ted."

The killer responds, "You wish it was Ted," and mocks, "Don't forget to set the alarm!"

Cici panics, realizing full-well that not only is the killer close but probably in the house.  She rushes and sets the alarm.

Cici walks through the house in fear, getting startled by every little noise, whether it be dogs barking outside or the old house creaking.

Cici enters the main downstairs hallways and the phone rings.  As soon as she answers it...

...the killer bursts out of the closet behind her -- and the chase is on.

Ghostface chases Cici up the stairs and she tries everything to slow him down, whether it be throwing a potted plant at him to hurling a bicycle at him.

Once they reach the attic area, the killer catches up, grabs her, and hurls her through a glass door out onto the balcony, setting off the alarm.

On the balcony, the killer stabs her twice in the back...

...and hurls her over the ledge.

Cici plummets the three stories to her death.

Ghostface wipes his blade and vanishes from the scene before police arrive.

And there it is, what I believe to be the defining moment of the Scream film series.

It's as if this scene were a perfect hybrid of the Casey Becker scene and Sidney's first attack scene from the first Scream movie.  More-so than Drew Barrymore in the first, Sarah Michelle Gellar was at the pinnacle of her career in the late '90s, with hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer and the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  So her death was somewhat of a major shock, especially given her movie knowledge and whatnot.

And you can't discount the clever exchange of dialogue between her and the killer.  That's just great writing in a horror movie sequel that lives up to every bit of the hype established a year earlier with the first movie.

This is just my two cents, what's yours?

UPDATE! (5/31/17)
I realize I may have been a little vague in my main argument.  So here's a bulletized breakdown...
  • Ghostface showcases his cleverness!
    • Between the cat-and-mouse dialogue with Cici on the phone and sneaking into the house in plain sight, Ghostface has never been so clever.  And this isn't even including the killer using the phone to pinpoint Cici's location in the house (right before he pops out of the closet).
  • Movie talk!
    • It's what kickstarted the series! The killer toyed with Casey Becker with movie trivia in the first film.  But this time around, it was Cici's friend referencing Stab and how it "brings out the crazies."  And that's precisely what has happened.
  • The killer shows that despite carrying a knife, he's very much open to a weapon of opportunity as well.
    • Sure, Cici could have easily been stabbed to death, but where's the fun in that?  No, this killer decided to toss Cici off a balcony to a three-story demise.
      • Bonus!  Ghostface does the patented "blade wipe" with his gloves, a clear wink at the first movie.
All in all, it's a fun and exciting stalk and chase sequence that is the very foundation of the franchise.  Now you may argue that Casey Becker's opening kill in the first movie is series defining -- and you're 100% entitled to think that.  But it defines the first movie.  Cici's kill is series defining.  It's everything all four Scream movies are about.



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MorbidMuch: How a scene in SCREAM 2 defines the series. (Updated! 5/31/17)
How a scene in SCREAM 2 defines the series. (Updated! 5/31/17)
Trying to explain why Cici's death defines the SCREAM franchise.
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