Let me start off by saying that I love slasher films. Everything from A Nightmare on Elm Street to Slaughter High to The Burning are among my favorites. Hell, I even loved the polarizing My Bloody Valentine remake enough to see it multiple times during its theatrical run. But at the risk of sounding trite, there is one slasher that is a cut above the rest: Wes Craven’s 1996 classic, Scream.
This film was smart, funny, and scary. It did not reinvent the wheel, but its use of meta-humor indicted the horror genre while delivering an instant classic. Plus, it arrived at a point in time when the horror genre was all but played out. Incidentally, I was in Junior High at the time, the perfect point in my life for such a fresh film to make a dramatic impact on me, and it revived my interest in horror films.
Two decades later, this film has been adapted into an MTV show and while this news initially peaked my interest, I have remained skeptical. Now, after watching the first episode of the television adaptation, I can honestly say that my skepticism still remains.
This show, like the film, relies on the use of self-referential irony aimed almost-exclusively at the teenage audience. But unlike the film, there is is a glossy sheen of commercial influence that drips from every frame. The cast largely has an Abercrombie look to them and the characters seem to all live in luxurious houses, which is a bit hard for the average person to relate to. And while the use of social media is to be expected to play a part in a current adaptation of this film, it almost feels weird to have so much of the plot hinge on such timely issues as cyberbullying and viral videos. It makes me feel like the killer will soon be tweeting #AnotherOneBitesTheDust every time he claims a victim.
Other than that, the first episode of this show was a nice starting point for the series, albeit a bit cheesy at times. There are more than a few kinks to work out, but I was expecting much worse, especially given the online outcry about the change in the Ghostface mask. The characters are sort of bland at the moment, however the only one that really resonated with the feeling of the original is Noah (played by John Karna) who appears to be an update on the Randy character.
So while a part of me wants to shit all over this for having the balls to try to replicate this classic, I feel that the best thing that we (as the audience) can do is to treat this with a fresh set of eyes and not draw the easy comparisons to the original film. If it were trying to BE the original film, those comparisons would be valid, but the makers of this show have gone to great lengths to revise the plot, the look of the mask, and the cast of characters in an effort to incorporate the elements of the original while delivering something completely different. At this point in the series, the viewer is swimming in a sea of red herrings but waiting patiently for the creative team to deliver a brilliant payoff.
At any rate, it’s still better than Scream 4.