Beginning as a YouTube video outing a fellow classmate as homosexual, the town of Lakewood is suddenly under attack as a masked killer begins to kill the people involved.
Having been twelve when it was released, I grew up a fan of Scream. It was my generations The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, changing the horror genre and rules therein. Before Scream, slasher films were very cut and dry. There was a masked killer stalking hot young teens, murdering them all until one final girl remained, perhaps a friend or two, but, if she returned for sequels, that final girl would eventually die. That wasn’t the story with Scream.
Scream changed the formula. First off, there wasn’t one killer, but two. This pattern carried on through three of the four films in the series and the killer(s) was always someone different. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) not only survived the first film, but all four along with two other main characters: Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox). Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox were also huge names at the time with their hit shows Party of Five and Friends and big stars like them just didn’t do horror films at the time. After Scream they certainly started.
Now, why MTV would want to market off the success of my generations [arguably] best horror film in the form of a series is a no brainer. Why they would want to do so with a totally different cast, storyline, town and, most importantly, mask is a question worth asking.
The cast is made up of people I’ve never heard of, with the exception of Bex Taylor-Klaus whom I recognize from The Killing. Already this strays from the big star charm of the original film. The shows answer to Sidney Prescott is Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) and the Tatum Riley replacement is Brooke (Carlson Young). Randy’s character is replaced with Noah (John Karna), Billy is replaced with Will (Connor Weil) and Stu is now Seth (Bobby Campo). They even had an opening scene to replace Drew Barrymore’s infamous Casey Cooper death involving a character named Nina (Bella Thorne) but the scene was less Scream and more of the movie within the movie, Stab where Heather Graham played Casey. None of these characters are really like their film counterparts with the exception of Emma who has that innocent Sidney Prescott vibe and Noah who is kind of a Randy but I would say he is more of a Robbie from Scream 4. Without a Gale Weathers character, however, the show just doesn’t have that bite.
Scream: The Series tries to be clever with mentions of George Romero, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween but nothing even remotely obscure, which is a dead giveaway that the writers lack the originality and horror knowledge that Kevin Williamson, the writer of the films, had. In fact, only one of the shows four writers has ever worked on a horror themed project before and that was writing only two episodes of the show Ravenswood, a show I have never even heard of. The writers try to be cheeky by making meta tongue in cheek jokes like “You can’t make a television series out of a slasher movie,” which is exactly what they have done here, or attempted to do at the very least. They desperately need Kevin Williamson to be involved.
The backstory of the movie Scream involves the death of Sidney’s mother whom you believe was murdered by her lover but, was, in fact, killed by the son of another man she was cheating on her husband with. That son also happened to be Sidney’s boyfriend, which was the big plot twist.
The backstory of Scream: The Series involves a local deformed boy, Brandon James, who was in love with a pretty girl and was beaten severely by a bunch of guys who thought he was harming her. They say he murdered five teenagers before drowning in the lake. It turns out the pretty girl is actually Emma’s mother, who begins to receive bloody messages from the supposedly dead killer.
Last, but not least, we have the mask. Scream is nothing without the legendary Ghostface mask. You couldn’t have A Nightmare on Elm Street without Freddy Krueger so I don’t know why MTV thought they could have Scream: The Series without Ghostface. The mask has changed severely and the cowl looks like a big cheap black hooded raincoat. Without the mask, the show is missing any real Scream connection, which would really help in drawing in the diehard fans of the film. The change will do nothing but push them away.
So who is the killer? Is it the lesbian film student and her movie nerd friend? Will they play back to the film and make it the boyfriend and his handsome jerk friend? Maybe it is the sheriff or a vengeful relative of Brandon James. Perhaps they are one in the same. I suppose we will have to watch to find out. The real question is, is it worth sticking through to get the answer? I think it is at least worth another episode to give it the chance to improve.
Scream: The Series premiers June 30 on MTV
========================================================================================================= Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk and writer for Geekandstuff.com. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter