Scream (MTV, Tuesdays 10/9 Central) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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MTV, Tuesdays 10/9 Central

Jun 30, 2015 Web Exclusive
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The mask is different, as is the cast of characters in MTV's small screen adaptation of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's glorious slasher-film franchise, but the heart is the same. Set in the modern age of texting, cyber-bullying, and viral videos, Scream finds the high school students of Lakewood again set upon by an unknown and bloodthirsty killer (or killers). Who will survive? Who will meet a grisly fate at the end of a blade? And most pressingly, who is the serial murderer?

The biggest question going into the series, however, is can a slasher film translate effectively into episodic television? (It's not an entirely new conceptCBS attempted it six years ago with the 13-episode, single season of Harper's Island.) True to its source material, Scream is self-referential enough to ask this very question via one of its more cinema-aware characters (the series' counterpart to Randy from the films). By acknowledging that the limited runtime of a film more readily lends itself to the horror story format, the series smartly buys itself at least a season in which to explore and eviscerate the inhabitants of Lakewood. Viewers looking for a more immediate reveal of who is behind the mask are not likely to find their answer soon, but that is (hopefully going to prove) the fun of it.

The first episode features a massive house party, which works as a perfect exhibition of the increased scale that the series has to work with. Unrestricted by a 90-minute run time, it is free to introduce as many bodies as it wants. The whole high school population (all of whom look like models in their 20s)and ancillary parents and adult figuresare all fair game for suspicion and/or death. Central figures are just as likely to get the knife as bit-players. No one is safe (with perhaps a few exceptions), lending an exciting feel of unpredictability to the show. Hopefully, creator Jill Blotevogel knows she must provide at least some answers along the way to keep fans intrigued, but the pilot indicates she knows what she's doing.

The biggest hindrance the program faces, though, might be in the visual limitations its medium affords. Who can forget Drew Barrymore's gruesome and vicious demise at the very start of the franchise's first installment? Scream (the series) attempts a similar slaughter, but strategic editing means we never see the knife go in, only the aftereffects of the stab. A bloody back, a spatter of blood. It works, sure, but the visceral effect isn't quite there. The result is the made-for-TV edit, which is apt, because that's (almost literally) what the series is. Still, Scream is a deferential adaptation well aware of its source material's strengths. It uses them to its advantage, fully embracing them for a result that, while never quite as salacious as the first film, is a more than worthy entry into Scream lore. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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