Do you like scary movies? I sure do, and as a kid who grew up in the 90s, Scream was one of my all time favorites, and ultimately one of the early influencers that turned me into the horror nut I am today. So about this new Scream series then…
Today, MTV has released the first 8 minutes of the pilot episode, and it’s a pretty good example of why I’m keeping my expectations low. In keeping with the Scream franchise tradition, the series is offering up some of today’s hottest young stars to be slaughtered for our entertainment, the major difference being that they’re doing it without the craftsmanship and love for the genre that made their predecessor distinct. Take the clip below, in which we see the lovely Bella Thorne reenact Scream‘s opening sequence, which was such a taught, finely composed, and ultimately devastating scene that it still stands as an iconic moment in horror history. But what they’ve done with it here is – well, I’ll let you see for yourself.
There’s a lot I don’t like about this clip, but most importantly, they’re breaking a cardinal rule of horror – if you want what’s happening on screen to have any impact, you have to care about the people it’s happening to. The horrors beset upon Casey Becker in the original film’s sequence were only so impactful because Casey, played by none other than the 90s reigning sweetheart Drew Barrymore, was gentle, kind, and instantly likable. In contrast, Thorne’s character here is not only snotty, rude, and arrogant, she’s immediately revealed to be a cyberbully. It’s easy to write this all off and say, “Don’t be so harsh, it’s for teenagers!” But so was the original film, and that didn’t stop it from being quality.
I’ll give credit for the way the scene is staged, and the clever way they’ve translated 90s phone taunting into something today’s tech-based audience will relate to. There’s still a big problem though, all the clever set-pieces in the world can’t rescue unlikeable characters and lackluster thrills. The Scream film franchise has it’s own self-referencial movie-in-a-movie ‘Stab’, which skewered bad horror’s lowest-common-denominator approach to cheap thrills, exploitative nudity, and paper-thin characters. This looks like ‘Stab’ the TV series.
The official Scream series synopsis. The first episode debuts Tuesday, June 30th at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
When Nina, a gorgeous entitled teen at Lakewood High School, is murdered in an apparent crime of passion, it exposes the inner workings of the town’s complex social hierarchy. After Audrey, a young artistic loner, is “outed” via cyberbullying, she has to find a way to hold her head up high with the help of Noah, her nerdy, hyper-intelligent best friend, and a renewed relationship with Emma, her former “bestie” from elementary school. In the meantime, Emma’s mom, Maggie (the town’s medical examiner) works with the town’s sheriff, Clark, to solve the murder and determine if it’s connected to a crime spree from the town’s dark past — a murder spree committed by a previous generation’s “bullying victim” Brandon James.
“Scream” stars Willa Fitzgerald as “Emma,” Bex Taylor-Klaus as “Audrey,” Carlson Young as “Brooke,” Amadeus Serafini as “Kieran,” John Karna as “Noah,” Connor Weil as “Will,” Tracy Middendorf as “Maggie” and Jason Wiles as “Sheriff Hudson.”