Scream Season 1 Episode 1 – TV Review
I reckon “Oh, honey. No” will be a recurring theme when it comes to MTV’s Scream television adaptation.
As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, Scream is one of my Sacred Three: my favourite three movies of all time (Jurassic Park and Jawbreaker being the other two). I didn’t have high hopes for this version, and those hopes were not bolstered by the appalling (and, mercifully, cancelled) Eye Candy.
Well, Scream’s better than Eye Candy.
But not by much.
TL;DR This shit is cheap, yo. Which is something Scream has never been (well, maybe Scream 3). No-dimensional characters, zero wit, sparse meta references, and a groan-worthy “this town has had a slasher before” backstory make this show one to worry about. The violence is satisfying enough, though.
Bella Thorne should consider getting her throat slashed more often.
So this pilot episode starts out with a bland recreation of Scream’s opening scene, as the most famous actor in the cast gets murdered to start us off. We’re then introduced to a catalogue of archetypal characters, with the popular-but-decent girl, Emma, being our apparent lead. A significant amount of time is also dedicated to Sin from Arrow, who here plays Audrey, the victim of a cruel prank curated by Emma’s friend group (but not Emma herself, of course. Because she’s just too pure, you know?). News of the murder spreads, and all our main characters end up at an obligatory party (the party goes at the end of the movie, you fools. Gosh), where no further murders are committed. Disappointing. There’s also some backstory about a previous slasher (which a lot of other slasher movies have, but Scream never has. Weird) that targeted Emma’s mum (but shh, it’s a secret). Subcharacters include; a new guy in class who is dark, brooding, and kisses Emma; Emma’s boyfriend who cheated on her with Bella; their insensitive jock douche friend; their secretly nerdy Asian friend; their skanky blonde friend; the town sheriff, who is also New Guy’s dad; and Audrey’s geeky male friend who is straining every bit of his acting muscle, and failing, to do a Randy impersonation.
Silly boy. Nobody wants to be Jamie Kennedy.
I think it’s important to point out that I kind of love Teen Wolf. But in a campy, so bizarre and awful that it’s good way.
But I don’t want Scream to have to settle for that. Scream has always been two things: a functional, thrilling slasher movie (yes, even 3); and a pointed satire of its genre.
Scream on MTV is, so far, neither of those things.
Why I hate this episode:
It’s bad enough that this is a “reimagining.” It’s bad enough that we can’t expect any returning characters, and they didn’t even bother paying for the rights to use the original Ghostface mask. But they didn’t even bother getting Roger L Jackson, the iconic Scream phone voice, to do the phone voice. Hell, they didn’t even bother getting a soundalike. The phone voice only shows up late into the episode (this killer is more fond of texting. Which Scream 4 already made fun of, you know), and it is like the epic nail in the coffin of any hope for this show to be scary. The voice sounds like a prepubescent boy trying to sound menacing. It’s a joke. And I hate this show for it.
Speaking of not paying for rights, much like Eye Candy did with its dating app Flirtual, Scream ain’t got the money for popular Internet sites, baby. YouTube is hilariously rebranded as Cliplicious. And Twitter is Chirpster. It wouldn’t be so bad if Bella didn’t have to say Chirpster out loud.
The Bella scene is an insult to the Scream opening scene. Drew Barrymore wasn’t walking around in a fucking bikini. She had on a hideous, shapeless white jumper, bitch. And, predictably, Bella doesn’t actually get a chase scene. She runs up to her house’s glass windows for a second before being easily dispatched by Not-Ghostface. No fight. No back and forth on the phone. Just a few texts, a boyfriend’s severed head, and a slashed throat. Meh. And that was the best scene of the episode.
The supporting cast are all frighteningly empty. And given how Eye Candy panned out, I don’t expect them to get any more complicated. So here are the names I’m gifting them until (or if) they prove they’re worthy of better: New Guy, Token Blonde, Token Asian, Insensitive Jock, and Audrey’s friend will be called Friend Zone. It was that or M’Lady.
The only one to escape this fate is Will, Emma’s boyfriend. Because we can’t have two people named Insensitive Jock.
Token Blonde is in a shallow, supposedly provocative relationship with the gang’s hot English teacher; Token Asian has a nerdy flirtation with Friend Zone; and Insensitive Jock chooses to hang onto spy videos he and Will made of their friends, despite the fact that the police could trace them back to them if they find them during Bella’s murder investigation. They’re an exciting bunch, right?
Audrey turns out to be surprisingly garbage. She’s a textbook “I’m not like other girls” girl, who carries a video camera with her everywhere and so totally hates high school parties, despite immediately showing up to one the second she’s invited. She is also a brusque cunt to Emma, who is her estranged friend from childhood.
Audrey is also a source of lesbait for Scream, but ruins any fun with that, too, by repeatedly claiming she’s not a lesbian. Yeah, take a look at that haircut in the mirror, honey, and tell me that again with a straight face. Pun intended.
Emma is equally rubbish as the popular girl who outright claims she doesn’t like her friends, but still goes along with whatever they do, anyway. Except that she’s super appalled about the video being posted, because she’s, like, not a mean girl lolz. For reals totes.
Friend Zone elicits the most groans with his awkward, Randy-wannabe dialogue. He seems to be the only one carrying the meta torch, which is pretty important for a Scream property. The most amazingly awful sequence comes during his monologue at the end about how viewers (it’s meta, remember?) should learn to care about all the characters, because then when they die, it’ll hurt. Oh, honey. No. Not on MTV.
The thing that most shocked me was when they included the trite “there was a killer twenty years ago” backstory. The legend goes (as told by Friend Zone, naturally), that some guy named Brandon went on a minor killing spree when a popular girl rebuffed his advances because he had Elephant Man disease. He was eventually killed when Daisy, the girl of his affections, helped the police with a sting. Daisy is now Emma’s mum, and receives a human heart in the mail with a note vaguely threatening Emma. Scream has never pulled the “on this night, x number of years ago” bullshit. The Maureen Prescott murder was valuable to the original Scream trilogy, but it wasn’t anything like this. This isn’t The Town That Dreaded Sundown. This isn’t Prom Night. This isn’t Sorority Row. Hell, Wes Craven already found out the dangers of this kind of thing with the abysmal My Soul To Take. He should have warned them off it.
The mask resembles real Ghostface a lot, so I don’t know why they didn’t just use the original. And the killer rips off I Know What You Did Last Summer by wearing a raincoat. Are they cutting Kevin Williamson two pay cheques?
Oh, and they attempt to be edgy, like a real Scream property, and talk about how slashers can’t work as a TV show because the format doesn’t fit. That’s only cool if you go on to prove them wrong. Scream 4 just squeaked by, but I don’t expect this trash pile to pull out a win.
But it’s not all bad:
The kill part of the opening kill was alright. Eye Candy’s violence was so neutered, but Bella gets a nice, juicy gash along her back. We don’t get a full frontal of the throat slit, but there’s enough blood flying. I liked it.
I didn’t hate the new mask as much as I thought I would. Mainly because it so very closely resembles the original.
I’m glad the killer does get to have a phone voice. I was worried it would only be texts or Facebook posts or something. So as crappy as the voice is, I’m glad it’s there.
The adult characters ended up being equal to Sidney as the stars of Scream. Emma’s mum isn’t very awe-inspiring, but the sheriff has potential.
There are no supernatural elements yet. It better stay that way.
Oh, and we’ve got some girl-on-girl action. That’s kind of new.