HOLLYWOOD—Being an avid fan of the “Scream” franchise which reinvigorated the horror genre, I was saddened by the news that the evolution of the series was headed to TV. I mean “Scream 4” wasn’t perfect, but was set to usher in a new trilogy. “Scream: The TV Series,” takes the popular horror series in a new direction.
The one thing I can say to fans of the movie series is this is not “Scream,” but it does its best to imitate the classic. The show kicks off with a cyber-bullying incident involving Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) who is seen getting hot and heavy with another female in a car. The video becomes so popular, that Lakewood’s resident mean girl, Nina Patterson (Bella Thorne) gloats about her victory. What she later discovers, her moment of fun, turns into a night of thrills.
The opening sequence of the series attempts to capture the magic that Drew Barrymore’s opening sequence, but falters in creating a level of suspense that leaves the audience on the edge of their seat. She dies in bloody fashion, and her death sets the stage for the chaos that soon takes over a small-town.
Watching the series, I kept thinking, this is Woodsboro, but it’s not. The writer’s decision to attempt to mimic something that has already been seen on the big screen was a mistake in my opinion. We have Emma Duvall (Willa Fitzgerald) who tackles the role of Sidney Prescott, innocent, yet lovable. Her core group includes basketball star and jock, Will Belmont (Conner Weil), sarcastic mean girl Brooke Maddox (Carlson Young), as well as notable sidekicks Jake (Tom Maden) and Riley (Brianne Tju).
And of course we can’t forget the new kid to town, Kieran Wilcox (Amadeus Serafini) who is brooding and quite dark. For viewers looking to uncover the face behind the mask, he might be the red herring that audiences will go for. We have Noah Foster (John Karna) who tackles the nerdy role that made Jamie Kennedy a fan favorite, and happens to be pals with Audrey.
Other notable players in the series include Tracy Middendorf as Margaret Duvall, Emma’s mother; as well as Sheriff Clark Hudson (Jason Wiles), who happens to be Kieran’s dad.
Emma is too trusting of her boyfriend Will, who has been secretly canoodling behind her back. While the rest of the school seemed to have their eyes on Audrey, Noah did his best to shy her attention away from the scandal. Hmm, seems Emma was surprised to learn that the video of her friend Audrey has been leaked. Looks like Brooke could be trouble; she has the hots for Mr. Branson (Bobby Campo).
Within minutes Mrs. Patterson discovers her daughter’s bloody body in the pool. As Noah points out, “you can’t do a horror movie on TV.” It is interesting that show is taking a Meta approach. Noah reminisced about town legend, Brandon James (a disfigured kid) who went on a murder spree. Noah chronicled the rise and fall of the legend who was fatally shot, while confessing his love to ‘Daisy.’ Any guesses as to who Daisy is? It’s Emma’s mother, but that doesn’t explain why Audrey has a figure of James plastered to her mirror?
Emma decided to have a confrontation with her former bestie about an invitation to a party. It’s funny how best friends can drift apart and find themselves back together. So Will and Jake played a role in that viral video, and by the end of the video it becomes apparent Jake has a thing for recording people. Margaret received a packaged full of bloody body parts, hinting that Brandon James may have a connection to Nina’s death.
Who expected a party so early on in episode one? Someone dies and people parties, such a generic formula in the horror genre. Margaret revealed to Clark that she was the woman who Brandon James was obsessed with. It took Emma awhile, but she realized that Will slept with Nina.
It was quite annoying to hear Noah explain the rules of a horror movie, which came to fruition as Brooke ventured into a dark garage. Being the nubile character, she ventured to the open car door, as she ran towards the exit she collided into Will who delivered a massive threat. Emma got closer to Kiernan who revealed tragic circumstances that brought him to Lakewood. Noah’s drunken tyrant left him in the middle of the lake in his boxers. It became apparent early on that something bad might happen to the one character audiences might actually like.
It turned out to be a prank, but there could have been someone else in the lake. Audrey got reassurance from Rachel about their viral video, as the masked figure watched from a distance. The face is scary, but it’s no Ghostface, in my honest opinion. The killer looks too cloaked if you ask me.
As the first episode came to a close, Audrey and Emma were when Emma disclosed she knew about the video which led to a fracture in a budding relationship. The ending delivered the best cliffhanger for fans of the franchise, with the killer calling Emma and making threats. The voice is no Roger Jackson, who infused a level of fear and insanity to a character we never saw. I will admit was utterly pleased they saved that moment for the end. The episode concluded with revelations that several characters were keeping massive secrets from the rest of their friends.
While I’m not completely thrilled by episode one, I’m going to give the series a shot. What can I say; I’m a sucker for a mystery. “Scream: The TV Series” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.