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I’ve been very interested in MTV’s TV adaptation of the Scream films since it was announced. I was mainly concerned about how any of it would work. Taking the core essentials of the horror genre like tension, gore, and very little characterization and stretching it out over an entire season is a big task. After seeing the first eight minutes of the premiere the other day, I just had to see the rest of the episode. But how does it hold up? Does the TV series hold any of the charm of the original films, or is it just so different that it’s good in its own right?
Well a little of column A, a little of column B, and a little of neither.
It looks like the TV series has adapted the feel of the original films more than anything. There’s a completely new cast, completely new story, and a completely new “Ghostface.” But at the same time, there’s a lot of the same goofy meta narrative and bad writing. I should explain. The first episode begins with a Scream staple, killing off an actress with the biggest draw in the cast. Bella Thorne was touted as a cast member throughout most of the advertising, and her sequence, while entertaining, is hilarious in a different light. In terms of opening scenes, it doesn’t quite rank up to the films but there’s definitely enough to tantalizing things in there to draw for the rest of the episode. Then we get into the actual story.
The show takes place in Lakewood as Bella Thorne’s death spurs talk of a similar chain of murders that took place 20 years ago where a man named Brandon James killed a bunch of students. There’s this plot where he eventually gets captured thanks to his crush on a girl named Daisy, who happens to be the main girl’s mother, and we’ll eventually see how that all ties in. It’s too early to say whether or not this new killer has a connection with that story, but since there’s so much time devoted to fleshing that out I’m sure it’s a big deal. As for the teenagers so far, I don’t know what to think. I can’t remember any of their names. They’re all essentially horror archetypes: the girl who’s forced out of the closest, the overbearing douchebag duo, the promiscuous one in a relationship with her teacher, the nerdy guy who spouts the stuff about the rules, the guy with the porn star mustache who just transferred in from another school, and the main girl.
While the script pulls a Scream and points out its flaws, it also delivers a meaty mission statement – That it’s hoping we’ll care about these characters as the show rolls on before any of the murders take place. And if it can accomplish that, it’ll definitely separate itself from other slasher fiction. Basically, if it can make us care about these terrible people, then the game is won. Nothing else of note really happens,as the plot of the pilot is just mainly to establish these archetypes. There’s a party to mourn Bella Thorne’s character, there’s a bit of tension to remind folks there’s a killer running around, but there’s a lack of immediacy and that’s sure to be the show’s downfall.
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