Wes Craven’s slasher film Scream is rightly hailed as a horror classic, a satirical deconstruction of a genre that at the time was in desperate need of one.
Netflix’s series based on Craven’s film doesn’t even come close.
Like the film, the plot of the series follows a group of high school students as their small town is haunted by a sadistic serial killer who dresses up as another famous killer from their past. As far as stories go, it’s not really that complex, but that was always the point.
Scream as a franchise has always been about pointing out how ridiculous most slasher flicks are (especially those of the 1990s) and this is where the series falls short.
Most of the attempted satire comes from John Karna’s character Noah Foster, who takes on the role of fourth-wall breaking meta commentary originally held by Jamie Kennedy’s Randy Meeks in the films.
At several points in the series, Foster stops everything and delivers a full-on monologue about how slasher films work or how a similar a certain event is to a specific horror film.
He all but winks directly at the camera.
Granted, the original film had these too and they were just as grating then, but at least it only happened twice.
Here, we get one every other episode.
Also the reveal of the killer’s identity is ridiculous and going back, there is next-to-no foreshadowing. It pretty much comes out of nowhere and it feels like a lazy attempt at a “gotcha” moment.
The worst thing about the series, however, is that manages to feel so outdated. The whole “nudge nudge wink wink” irony schtick may have been novel in the ’90s but now it’s just tired. In a post-Cabin in the Woods era, Scream not only comes late to the party but also proceeds to tell the same jokes everyone else has already heard a million times.
Of course, this series is also produced by MTV which explains a lot.