I just recapped the whole second season of Scream, but MTV put out a very special 2 hour Scream Halloween Special this week which I just needed to talk about. Below is a spoiler-heavy review.
First, for an update on the characters… Kieran is given 10 life sentences, but is killed by a different (new? old?) masked villain at the start. Brooke and Stavo are cutesy-coupley, which is what I’ve wanted to see all season. Audrey even has a new girlfriend, Gina. Emma is… well, she’s Emma. Noah and Stavo have been writing graphic novels, and it was nice to see them bonded since the drama of the season.
Noah and Stavo are sent to learn about another true crime case for their next graphic novel with their publisher Jeremy, which is when everything goes screwy. The story goes… Anna Hobbs suddenly went crazy in the 1930s, killing her mother and brother, before moving on to Mayor Whitten on Shallow Grove Island – where the Lakewood Survivors (now: Emma, Audrey, Noah, and Brooke, newly including Stavo) are heading. Everyone was told it was for some fun, to get their minds off the Brandon James murders and Kieran’s Halloween-timed death.
We get a few new characters as well: Jeremy, the graphic novel publisher; Gina, Audrey’s girlfriend; Billie, the (female) groundskeeper of the Whitten mansion; and Alex Whitten, a descendant of the original Hobbs murders. Overall, they were a bit uninspiring. Alex was the only remotely interesting character, and that was only because of Emma’s interest in him and the classic ‘will he be the killer’ question. Of course, he IS the killer… but his name isn’t Alex.
Back to the story: Noah isn’t too interested in the Hobbs murder story at the beginning, mirroring my feelings pretty well. He’s clearly a reminder of Randy from the original Scream movies, but he’s a much better all-around character. They’re the movie-lover that understands horror cliches, but Noah uses it to his advantage. Plus, John Karna does a great scared and flustered look, and has superb comedic timing for this show.
All the best parts of this special were the callbacks to older horror films. The “Drew Barrymore treatment” is one of the best things to come out of 80’s and 90’s horror. I never thought I would be so excited to hear the words “turn on your back porch light”…but I really was. If only it wasn’t just to reveal Billie’s body.
A glaring problem of the special was the deaths, though. You can’t only kill off random new characters. Sure now we know this guy in a mask is a killer, but you don’t build up a fear for your favourite characters if they’re never threatened.
Normally I’m not too fond of the main girls in Scream. They’re always a bit too morose, and prim and proper. Luckily, Emma on this show is able to balance it out as she flirts with Alex. Plus, she’s a lot more kick ass then she used to be. No longer the helpless girl who can’t fight back, instead she’s the one who takes on masked villains (whether Jeremy playing a joke, or Tom Martin coming at her with garden shears). You go, Final Girl!
Death Toll: Kieran, museum manager, Billie, sheriff, Jeremy, Alex, Tom Martin (the killer). In the final twist of the season (and clearly what will be the main drama of third season, next year), we learn that Tom Martin didn’t kill Kieran – and he doesn’t know who did. but Emma’s dad is back in Lakewood, standing over Kieran’s grave (and… who paid for that, anyway?). Then someone checks into a hotel as “Mr. James”. Is that her father? Is he off on a murder spree? Is someone else? Who called Kieran in jail in the previous episode… Clearly no questions were answered, but I’m looking forward to picking back up with that next year.
The double-episode was a lot of fun, and really channelled all the old school horror movies. For people like me who loved the original Scream movies (and Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc etc), this episode is a perfect combination of them all. It uses the conventions of all those movies for a bit of nostalgia, while still maintaining understanding. The characters seem to realize they’re falling into traps, and know how to get out again.