MTV’s ‘Scream’ is a horror-movie-in-a-TV-show with lots of meta-fun

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MTV’s original programming has been a big miss for me. No matter how hard I try I just can’t get into shows like Teen Wolf or Skins. But when I heard they were remaking one of my favor now-classic slasher flicks into a series, I had to check it out…and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fun, new take on the often overdone “we’re in a horror moving commenting about being in a horror movie” idea. The series premier payed homage to its predecessor, and some other classic horror flicks, in some interesting ways.

The use of phones (updated)

The Scream franchise’s use of phones as a scare tactic was a major plot motivator in each of the films, and it made many 90s-era teens (including myself) afraid to answer their landlines. While wall-bound phones a pretty much a thing of the past, the MTV version made great use of cell phones to incite terror in its victims. Phone calls did occur, but ominous texts also played a part.

The meta-dude

Each part of the movie version had the horror-film-geek who served as the voice of reason and explained why the main characters should be doing the things they were doing because, if it were a horror movie, they would end up dead. They were, in fact, in a horror movie, and most of them did, in fact, end up dead. In the first film, this character was Randy Meeks (played by Jamie Kennedy), and in the TV show it’s Noah Foster (played by John Karna).

A mother’s trouble past

The movie’s “Ghostface” killer was Billy Loomis and Stu Macher, who plotted together to kill main character Sidney because her mother had an affair with Billy’s father. While the black trench coat remains consistent across both platforms, the mask has changed, so I’m not sure what this killer will be called, but I’ll refer to him (or her) as Ghostface 2.0. On the show, it appears as if 2.0 is taking on the persona of Jason-esque Brandon James, who was obsessed with main character, Emma’s, mother. James went on a killing spree at the high school and was later shot at Rend Lake, where his body was never found.

Some other fun nuggets:

  • The opening death scenes of the first film and the TV are very similar, with Drew Barrymore’s cordless phone conversation replaced by creepy text messages
  • The party garage scene, where I hoped Emma’s friend Brooke would meet the same death-by-garage-door fate Tatum experienced in the first film…but no such luck

While serial-killer-fanatic Noah tells us a slasher film can’t be a TV show, I’m beginning to disagree. While the pilot did verge on the line between meta and corny, that was the characteristic I loved so much about the Scream franchise…it never took itself seriously. So I’ll watch this fun, campy summer romp and head Noah’s advice: I’ll root for them. I’ll love them. And when they’re all brutally murdered and there’s no one left, it might hurt.

Here’s hoping!

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