I’ve been open about my lack of passion for horror as a genre, however, there is always an exception to the rule and for me, it was Wes Craven’s Scream franchise. I love all 4 of the films, mainly due to their ability of being self-aware and deprecating in regards to horror clichés, whilst still being a thoroughly entertaining ride, with gore and scares aplenty.
I’ve only just, for some reason, gotten around to watching the Netflix rendition of Scream, which although still holds Wes Craven’s name as an executive producer, is very much it’s own entity. So, what did I think?
The Netflix series has no relation to the film franchise canon, and is set in an entirely new location with a whole new group of characters. But it instantaneously makes it clear that this serves as a tribute to the film franchise in a number of ways, it follows similar beats of the movies throughout and does lean on heavy nostalgia for those hardcore fans on the franchise, but it is also ideal for new viewers who may have never seen a Scream film before.
It also, is extremely self aware and self-deprecating, perhaps even more so than the films. There are moments where one of the characters, Noah, often narrates sequences of the episodes, describing various horror clichés as the same cliché is occurring elsewhere. Although this could become annoying and silly, it is delivered cleverly throughout the season, it’s very much an essential component of this series charm. The fact that we are literally being told that things are unfolding exactly how they would do in a generic horror, without detracting from the overall impact, is commendable.
We have our high school crew trying to solve the mystery of the killer terrorising the neighbourhood, as usual. I wouldn’t say any of the characters were particularly engaging or interesting, and there are no real stand out figures, but their chemistry is undeniable and it really does drive this series forward. Much like the horror clichés that riddle this series, each character embodies a standard stereotype that will be instantly relatable to anyone who has ever seen a movie/TV show involving a US high school, it means that some characters are more likeable than others, whilst some I disliked throughout the entirety of the series, in fact, without spoiling, when one or two of them died, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy about it. It might sound quite sadistic to say that, but it was all part of the fun.
The main positive for me, was The Killer, Ghostface is non-existent in this rendition, replaced instead by a masked person donning the mask of Brandon James, a deformed serial killer from years ago. The Killer is equally as creepy and unsettling as Ghostface, and much like the films, the tension that surrounds this character is potent. The mystery behind The Killer is compelling enough too, it took me a while to work out who it was, and the overall pay-off in the series finale felt satisfying, leaving me eager for Season 2.
I did enjoy this series, it’s nothing ground-breaking, but it’s a very easy watch and I was never bored watching it. Fans of the film franchise will enjoy it a lot, and I think there’s enough here for a casual viewer to get on board, it’s very much Scream for the modern age and if you’ve never seen anything related to it before, then this is a great starting point. As long as you don’t go in expecting much more than a fun ride, jam-packed with every cliché or stereotype you can think of, then I’m certain you’ll have a good time over this 10 episode stint. It nails the blend of comedy and horror, neither tone is overbearing and there’s plenty here to unsettle and scare you, without it being completely unbearable. (Basically, if a wuss like me can handle it, then you easily can.)
I’m getting a few more things off my watch-list, but I will be watching Season 2 as well, so look for a review of that in the near future.
I give Scream – Season 1 a 7.5/10.