Sometimes I’m a little late to the party with TV shows but I became intrigued with the premise of making a commercially successful horror movie into a TV series, so I knew I’d watch it eventually. I decided to finally sit down and knock the MTV series Scream out of my queue. Scream was the movie that poked fun at the rules of horror and was self-aware of what horror had become leading up to that point. Here’s my spoiler free rundown.
The Good: Like Scream’s cinematic predecessor, it is self-aware and at times can be somewhat comical in how the characters resist the path of their horror archetype. Noah is the TV reflection of Jamie Kennedy as Randy in the movie. He’s usually the one to point out the stupid decisions that the group is making and I appreciate him for that. This isn’t always the case, which naturally ends with me yelling at characters that can’t hear me or often accusing them of being morons.
The characters, despite being somewhat static at times, are actually pretty likeable and they do an excellent job of making anyone be plausible to be the killer. This aspect is what helps the show stand; they do a great job of keeping you guessing until the end. Noah points out that anyone could have motive and anyone could be the killer at the end of the first episode which helps further reinforce the self-awareness aspect.
The killer is very well developed while putting together a reasonable (for a horror show) background for the town, the mask, etc. Creating a new mask for the killer is what helped set it apart from the movies and create its own identity. The mask is also considerably creepier than the Ghost Face Killer mask used in the films. Did I also mention the killer is really fucking smart? Nobody likes a killer that can’t seem to get their shit together and just slice a few people up. That’s also because they needed 10 episodes and it wouldn’t exactly make sense to have the killer get caught in episode 3.
The Bad: The acting can be painful to sit through, at times some of them seem underwhelmed by their situation or like they’re playing the character version of themselves. Brooke is by far the worst offender of “character” syndrome and it tends to pull you out of what’s going on. She has an ongoing relationship with a teacher at her high school and the way that she talks with him (and other characters for that matter) is far too unrealistic. Kieran is also in the state of forever being dark, mysterious and tortured which makes him very unlikable even as “the good guy”. These certainly aren’t the only characters over or under-acted but they definitely stand out.
The fact that this is an MTV show also means that it’s saturated with some of the nonsense that they’re trying to preach to the upcoming generation. While there aren’t blatant product placements, there are moments that I half expected the characters to turn and wink at the camera. For example, every sex scene was very clear to make sure the people involved were using a condom. It’s not like MTV airs Trojan commercials every 5 minutes or anything. The only thing it was missing was having a group of kids point out that smoking isn’t “the cool thing to do”. I get it, younger folks are more impressionable but it gets a bit preachy when you need to shoehorn it into everything they’re watching.
The characters in the first season are essentially direct reflections of characters in the first movie which is simultaneously kind of cool and kind of annoying. There are a few outliers, change in personalities and the story isn’t exactly the same but it’s easy to draw a lot of parallels. Luckily with Season 2 the characters grow a bit more but in the mean time you have to watch Sidne… I mean Emma deal with the killer and Lakewood’s murderous history.
The Judgment: Does this stand up as a TV series? My thoughts are yes. I was pleasantly surprised with what the show had to offer and didn’t end up being a 100% replica of the movie series. It walked a fine line of being similar but different and I think that’s what people were hoping for. I’ll just say I ended up calling a few things but they didn’t come to fruition until Season 2. It’s a fun show that I’d almost recommend watching with someone else so you can play detective and spit theories back and forth. For the few bad qualities this show has, the good outweighs them.