Is it possible for a major tragedy to change someone for better or simply reveal their true colors? That’s what happens in a small town when a various citizens get murdered by a mysterious killer in MTV’s “Scream,” which followed another town under siege from a monster and its own wicked secrets. It’s too early to say who will make it to the finale, but no one has proven to be safe so far about halfway into the first season.
“Scream” followed the citizens of Lakewood as they dealt with the sudden murder of resident mean girl Nina (Bella Thorne) who was the first major casualty of a masked killer looking to relive Lakewood’s more troubled past. There was another serial killer that plagued the town 20 years ago in the form of a troubled young man who had a connection to someone that started the murder spree. With the police looking for Nina’s ex-boyfriend Tyler as the primary suspect, they remained blissfully unaware that Tyler couldn’t possibly have done it and that another sinister force was at play. This mysterious individual was calling good girl Emma Duval (Willa Fitzgerald) and getting her to play games with him as the caller revealed repeatedly that everyone in her life is a liar. Emma found out that her once perfect boyfriend Will Belmont (Connor Weil) not only slept with Nina once and that their whole relationship started off as a silly bet of Nina’s. These lies forced Emma to rely on the mysterious new guy Kieran Wilcox (Amadeus Serafini) for support and some intense make-out sessions, even though their Emma’s mother was involved with Kieran’s father. Emma also doesn’t know a lot about Kieran’s past, which could come back to haunt her later. Due to the tragedy, Emma lost another good friend and had to rely on another mean girl in Brooke Maddox (Carlson Young) who wanted to be like Nina; but she never could due to her having a conscience. She also just found out that her father could’ve likely murdered her long absent mother. She was blissfully unaware that a few of her friends were blackmailing her panic stricken father as well. After the murders began occurring, Emma renewed her friendship with polar opposite Audrey Jensen (Bex Taylor-Klaus) who enjoyed being a rebel and was part of a big cyber-bullying video plot that helped to kickstart the premiere. Audrey and her best friend Noah Foster (John Karna) become part of Emma’s circle as they try to find the killer and stay alive themselves. Will they be able to live for another season or perish before the finale occurs?
In terms of questions, the season has raised quite a number of them, but the biggest one hasn’t been answered as of yet as to whether it was necessary to make the popular movie series into a television show. Is it possible to sustain a horror movie plot into a 10 to 12 episode series? The show did get off to a little bit of a shaky start in the premiere by taking one too many plot points from the first movie, such as the quick departure of the pretty popular girl who simply died for brutal shock value. As a whole, the series needs to find a way to balance the dark terror with some even darker comedy to help shake things up in a way that made the movies so memorable. The show also needs to pull in a few flashbacks from the past murder case to further draw in viewers, because this murder mystery won’t likely be solved anytime soon. The series will likely drag it for a while, but let’s hope that the show doesn’t drag it out too long like “Pretty Little Liars” has with the numerous false reveals as to who the real villain was. As for some of the show’s plot stereotypes, they need to flesh a few of the characters by making them less like cookie cutter Hollywood stereotypes and more like flawed teenagers made for television. The love triangle between Emma, Will and Kieran had some potential, but the story could use some work in providing proof that either suitor was viable for Emma or just another mistake waiting to happen. Young’s redemption story for Brooke had some early potential as she started to see the error of her ways and her realization that her father wasn’t so heroic as she once thought. Young’s horrified reaction to watching a shocking video of her father appeared genuine. The only true weak plot point was the random blackmail story that involved Will and his friend Jake because the plot wasn’t developed properly and was better demonstrated as one of those good ideas gone horribly wrong. It was recently revealed that the show was renewed for another season. Let’s hope that the show continues to keep building on it’s later momentum in future episodes. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
As for breakout performances, Fitzgerald, Serafini and Karna led the pack as their very different characters were impacted by recent on-screen events. Fitzgerald’s Emma started off the show as a trusting good girl who often took people at their word. Unfortunately, too many lies have made her weary of everyone around her; including her mother who was also the target of a serial killer’s affections 20 years ago that left her father too traumatized to be part of her life. She showcased Emma’s hurt and humiliation when she saw a sex video that was made without her knowledge and exposed for the world to see. She also demonstrated that Emma was a character that the killer or her ex Will should mess with, especially after he lied to her one too many times. Fitzgerald had a comfortable rapport with both Weil and Serafini, even though a recent scene in this week’s episode put one of them in the lead in the Emma/Kieran/Will triangle. Serafini’s Kieran embodied the perfect role of the mysterious bad boy who could either be a good guy or a killer in disguise. He brought some dark comedy and upped the intensity whenever Kieran was in the same room as Emma, but the character could use a separate story line as well in order for viewers to get more familiar with him. Karna, on the other hand, had the more challenging task of trying to make the usually acerbic friend role more than a nuisance to viewers. Sure, Karna brought a lot of humor to his scenes, but he was more memorable in the quieter moments as Noah mourned the loss of a potential love interest before the relationship truly got off the ground. Hopefully, Karna’s Noah will get more of a chance as the season, and series, goes on. Fingers crossed that he’s around long enough to see the end of the season.
“Scream” premiered on June 30th and airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on MTV.
Verdict: Another small screen remake that has a lot of shock value, but lacks the original movie’s sense of humor.
TV Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)