I’ve loved the “Scream” films from the first time I took in the original on video. My love for the franchise was reluctant at first as I refused to watch what I considered to be a cash grab for studios to profit off of classic movies like “Friday the 13th,” “Halloween,” “My Bloody Valentine,” and the likes. I discovered how wrong I was and never missed another witty and brilliantly self-aware entry in the series when it premiered in theaters. Even “Scream 4” kept my interest and is way underrated in my opinion.
When it was announced that MTV would be creating a television series based on Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s masked slasher concept, I was again cautiously optimistic but willing to give it a try. However, I became even more concerned when I saw that they were “updating” the Ghostface Killer mask from the original movies.
In “Scream” the TV Series, a brutal murder in Lakewood is instigated by a cyberbullying incident that goes viral. It stirs memories of a crime spree from the town’s past that has haunted some, intrigued others and maybe just spawned a new executioner. At the center of the story is a group of teenagers — with two old friends struggling to reconnect at its heart — who become lovers, enemies, suspects, targets and victims of a killer who’s out for blood.
Even though I know that “Pretty Little Liars” was obviously influenced by “Scream,” it’s hard sometimes to shake the feeling that somehow the tables have been turned on Wes Craven’s modern classic in its present state. There are a few aspects of the “Scream” TV series that seem lifted from ABC Family’s teen murder mystery. One of those is an inappropriate teacher / student relationship. Another is the constant texting the killer and victims do instead of just talking on the phone. I would say that’s more of a sign of the times than a rip-off of an idea.
The new Ghostface mask is an interesting update of what we got in the “Scream” movies. It looks very different but still holds the same frightening power of anonymity that the original one did. There’s a sense of familiarity to it, though, in its basic form.
All the high schoolers in “Scream” are pretty faces and even the geeks are somehow attractive. As is usual with all these types of television shows, the drama is over the top and the way the kids talk and act are ridiculously adult like. Everything has been MTV’d, as I would put it.
Another thing that really bothered me is the way that MTV uses a lesbian relationship as the catalyst for the new show like it was something shocking or taboo. Two girls are video-taped kissing and then the footage is posted on YouTube. We’re supposed to believe that this sort of thing wouldn’t be acceptable in high school “these” days. Seriously? It’s 2015, people! Same sex marriages were just legalized! Material like this is no longer considered scandalous or unacceptable the way it would have been in 1995 when the original one came out. High schoolers today are taught tolerance and diversity starting in elementary school.
I’ve been impressed by the killings so far on “Scream.” They’ve all been rather brutal and graphic. We don’t really see any stabbing or gouging onscreen, but the aftermath has been rather gory and graphic. I think most horror fans will find the series pleasing in those aspects.
“Scream” the TV Series would be rated PG-13 if it were released in theaters. It contains adult situations, profanity, violence and gore, and frightening and intense scenes. Believe it or not, there’s quite a lot of bloodshed found from week to week. The latest episode also included what felt like a safe sex condom commercial or after-school special.
I’ve taken in three episodes of the “Scream” television series so far. Don’t get me wrong, I do have my problems with the show. I’m happy to report that, for the most part, it’s an enjoyable watch that keeps me coming back for more each week. There are several layers to the story that make the mystery and drama something you want to see solved. I do think showrunners failed to tie the TV show and the movies together. It quite easily could’ve been done much in the same way the “Final Destination” movies are shown as related to each other by a common thread.
Episodes of “Scream” the TV Series are available now for Kindle.