When the movie Scream came out in 1996, it launched a horror renaissance. Suddenly big studios were making horror movies again — although many were written and/or produced by Scream‘s Kevin Williamson. There were four Scream movies in all, and the fact that Neve Campbell still starred in the fourth is a spoiler for the first three.
So to give Scream new life, it was developed as a TV show instead of a Scream 5. Having seen the pilot episode of the series when it premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, I now know how Scream can work on television. Here’s what you can expect when you watch Scream this summer on MTV.
Spoiler for Scream, but when people saw what happened to Drew Barrymore before the title even came on screen, they were shocked. Now it’s tradition; every Scream movie opens with a big shock and so does the TV show. So don’t get too excited when you see the first starlet on screen. If you know Scream, you know the first girl is not the final girl.
When Scream came out, it answered decades-long frustrations of horror fans. Finally, a horror movie with people who had seen horror movies so they knew not to say “I’ll be right back.” But now Scream is on television and the rules have changed; there are horror TV shows like The Walking Dead and Bates Motel (and even Pretty Little Liars). With at least 10 hours to fill, the stories for television take longer and not everything happens in every episode. The new Scream has figured out the rules of horror TV and it’s following them.
In Scream, Jamie Kennedy played Randy, the movie buff who helped others survive their real-life horror movie. With new rules, there’s a new Randy to explain them. John Karna plays Noah, a TV buff who’s also obsessed with real serial killers. That gives him a lot of knowledge bombs to drop every week in clever monologues.
The Scream movie killers would always call their victims up and ask them about their favorite scary movies. This was before cell phones. Now nobody talks on the phone anymore, but the killer has new ways to stalk his prey. He taps into our cell phones, tablets, and laptop cameras. He uses our social media against us. This is way scarier than answering horror movie trivia questions.
All the Scream movies used the same mask, because each killer was copycatting the original. We kinda thought it was the last mask that wasn’t already taken by a famous killer, but after the spoof Scary Movie used it, they probably had to come up with a new one. The new Ghostface looks more homemade (the original was admittedly store-bought). A methodical killer taking the time to craft his own mask makes him even deadlier.
Don’t get too attached to these characters, because Scream will make good on its promise to make them scream. But to start out, Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) seems like the good girl, or is she? Brooke (Carlson Young) is the party girl. Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) is a bullied bisexual teen who carries a video camera with her. Will (Connor Weil) is the jock and Emma’s boyfriend. Kieran (Amadeus Serafini) is the troublemaker, provoking dangerous situations and taunting anyone who can’t keep up. Of course, you already met Noah in item #3.
The original Scream trilogy centered around a love affair Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell)’s mother had and its far-reaching consequences. MTV’S Scream starts a whole new family legend. Brandon James was a disfigured and bullied teen whose vengeful legacy still haunts the town. Emma’s mother (Tracy Middendorf) has a history with Brandon that comes back to haunt her in the present. Does it have something to do with the new killings? Hmm… it’s doubtful that they told us Brandon’s story just to kill time.
The Scream movies had high box counts, but when it comes to television, there won’t be a death every week. That means you have to live with the characters and get involved in their lives week to week. That’ll make the kills hurt more, as Noah says. He even compares it to Friday Night Lights. If they really stick to that, the Scream TV show might end up killing fewer people than a season of Game of Thrones, but look how much those deaths matter!
Scream premieres Tuesday, Jun. 30 at 10 p.m. Do you dare to watch?