MTV’s adaptation of Wes Craven’s Scream franchise came to its climax in September, finishing the series by tying a few knots but unravelling many more. With the storyline being very different to the original Scream trilogy, one of the series’ redeeming qualities is that it is culturally significant, having a direct bearing on the use and consumption of social media amongst young adults.
The series begins with a video of Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus), the school outcast, kissing a girl, and here beings the mystery of who leaked the clip online. This leak coincides with the murder of Nina Patterson (Bella Thorne), the cliché popular girl who doubles as Drew Barrymore’s Casey, and the iconic opening murder scene which is switched up and swapped for a text message conversation; slightly unbelievable with Nina’s lightening texting speed. When the murderer is found to be using the same mask as mass murderer Brandon James who struck the town of Lakewood twenty years earlier, the police don’t know whether to believe Brandon James has returned or a copycat has been inspired. Following the seemingly innocent Emma Duvall (Willa Fitzgerald) at the centre of the story, the series unravels not only her deepest darkest secrets, but the ones that those around her are also harbouring.
One of the most iconographic images from the original Scream franchise is the Ghostface mask, but in the series they do not keep this. Instead, it is changed to a waxy looking mask, somewhat resembling a porcelain doll. Whilst it may still have the white face and black orifices, it’s neither memorable nor iconic. Although it is revealed that the mask is a surgical one originally worn by Brandon James, the series feels as if it is trying too hard to distance itself from the franchise that inspired it.
The redeeming quality which opposes the mask is that the series makes itself post-noughties contemporary, just like Scream made itself relatable in the nineties. It also brings into question the use and consumption of social media platforms amongst young adults, along with the effects of cyber bullying on communities as well as individuals.
One of the problems with the series is that from the onset it lets go of Scream‘s satirical nature and self-awareness. Whilst at the beginning of the series Noah Foster (John Karna) leads the way with his comments on the storyline of generic horror films, it seems to decline throughout the series. This is unfortunate as the series desperately requires comedy at certain points.
Overall, Scream is a series for those who love horror but are easily scared. With a lack of gore and suspense in comparison to the films, it poses more as a teen drama with the occasional murder. Whilst it may have nothing on the original film franchise, it could easily become your new guilty pleasure.
What did you think of the first season of Scream?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Heather Thornton