Scream Season 2 Review

Mitchel Broussard

Reviewed by:
On May 30, 2016
Last modified:May 30, 2016


Sporadically clever and requisitely gory - but still awkward and forced - more than ever, Scream the TV series will work wonders if you can just forget Scream the movie series ever happened.

Scream Season 2 Review


In year two, we’re introduced to a few new wrinkles in the mythology: one is a new family member of last year’s maniacal mad man Brandon James, and the other circles around a group of online trolls harassing Noah’s new online podcast that he picked up in the wake of Piper’s demise. Both work for what they need to do, but that’s the thing, they feel economical and functional rather than playful. They’re the machinations of a behind-the-scenes creative difference (showrunners Jill Blotevogel and Jaime Paglia are out, now Michael Gans and Richard Register are in) rather than that of a psychopathic murderer.

As it was last year, when every member of the main cast is clumped together in a class with the most fortuitous topic of discussion on hand (psychology leads to dream analysis leads to the deconstruction of Heather Langenkamp’s final girl in A Nightmare on Elm Street – isn’t that how all high schools work?), the cogs and pistons making the show run practically burst out of the TV. In its transition to the small screen, Scream forgets how to be effortless.

At least it’s growing better in other regards. Emma feels expectedly broken and beaten as we return to Lakewood three months after the murders, and Fitzgerald fills her mysterious sabbatical with the right balance of mystery and tease. We know she was at therapy of some kind, but she never gives specifics – could she have been looking deeper into her mom’s scandalous history with the James family? Might she have turned up dirt on Audrey? It’s all up for grabs and it makes the show’s lead character – finally – feel like she can take one tiny step out of the monolithic shadow of Sidney Prescott. (And not to sound like a broken record, but no, she’s still nowhere close to fully escaping it.)

New blood is also thrown into the mix, with Zoe (Kiana Lede) introduced as a student lurking behind Noah in his Psych class that he might have his eyes on now that he’s over the slaughter of last year main cast member Riley (Brianne Tju). There’s also a new sheriff (Anthony Ruivivar) and his requisite hot, brooding MTV-ready son Gustavo (Santiago Segura), who drops some comic book horror knowledge on Noah to open his perspective on the situation in Lakewood. As it is with this kind of show, everyone gives slow over-the-shoulder turns with the best of them, harboring secrets that’ll either be scandalous (Mr. Branson last year) or straight-up deadly.

Of course, that’s the entire reason to jump head-first into Scream. The show is still, more than anything, a decent and energetic whodunnit. Last year’s resolution felt pat and fast-tracked for shock value, but it first and foremost made sense (not to mention paid homage to the movie franchise’s biggest shocker from Scream 3). The unmasking was Scream season 1’s juiciest, most gleeful moment that showed its creators can remember to be playful, sporadically. With a vivisection-by-scythe knocked out in season 2’s premiere, which finally builds on some of that oh-so-needed horror, there’s hope the new season will better balance that tone more consistently as well.

But maybe the most endearing quality about MTV’s Scream is how humorously traditional the show is. It deals in hormonal teenage relationships and tricky parent-child dynamics as much as bloodletting, and that’s even in the face of its brazen self-satirical moments (the premiere is called, bold-faced, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”). Of course, that’s what Kevin Williamson’s original script was all about: taking normal kids and putting them into a horror movie, crafting a parody that works as a brilliant version of what it’s mocking. With Scream the TV series’ lack of effortlessness, that doesn’t so much gel together in transition. It’s an okay high school soap opera with okay characters and an okay mystery; thankfully it’s also more than just the sum of its okay parts.

Scream Season 2 Review

Sporadically clever and requisitely gory - but still awkward and forced - more than ever, Scream the TV series will work wonders if you can just forget Scream the movie series ever happened.