TV Review - Scream (2015)

John Karna (left) and Bax Taylor-Klaus in 'Scream'
The original, 1996 film was made ostensibly for the MTV generation, so it makes sense that MTV is the network to adapt it into this high school-centered series. MTV of late has gone into the horror business. It's now into the fifth season of Teen Wolf, which is a show all about the scares and the gore. Yet, instead of all the supernatural elements, this show has adopted a more grounded, slasher-flick feeling, occasionally commenting on the Internet and mobile-device era. The problem is that MTV already attempted this concept last year. MTV did an Internet-age, weekly slasher called Eye Candy, which was an adaptation of R. L. Stine's novel of the same name. The only difference, the main, female character is less empowered here.

Willa Fitzgerald (Royal Pains and Alpha House) stars as Emma Duvall, a high school teenager who is pretty bland and uninteresting other than the fact that she is the daughter of the town's coroner, a woman who 20 years ago was the target of a serial killer named Brandon James. Other than that, her claim to fame is that she was in part responsible for an Internet video, which outed and embarrassed two teenage lesbians.

Emma herself becomes the target of a serial killer. The murderer who dresses in black shrouds and a white, almost ghost-like mask wants to kill her but not before he scares and tortures her by killing all her friends. Her mom as well as the town sheriff investigate the murders and try to catch the killer. Emma herself also investigates in any way she can. Each of the first three episodes has killed one of her friends. This is a pattern that will probably continue, as the suspects are narrowed.

Jill E. Blotevogel, Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie adapted this series. It feels at times like the 1996 film, written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. Craven is an executive producer, so that's not surprising. There are even direct callbacks. The major difference though is that the characters aren't as smart. I'm not sure if that's commentary on the Twitter generation, but the teens here as opposed to the teens in the 1996 film feel extremely dumber.

The film forced the killer to be smarter. Here, the killer doesn't have to be smart because his victims are absolute idiots. Emma is the one at top of the stupid list. The 1996 film set the mold. If the series can't live up to that standard, then the whole thing just becomes boring. No where is that more evident than in the third episode where a victim is killed in the most unexciting way possible, due to the character's utter stupidity, like trusting text messages as if they're gospel.

One Star out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Tuesdays at 10PM on MTV.


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