Director – Jamie Travis, Brian Dannelly, Rodman Flender, Leigh Janiak, Oz Scott, E.L. Katz, Gil Kenan, Kevin Kolsch, Patrick Lussier, Scott Speer, Daniel Stamm, Dennis Widmyer
Cast – Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young, Tracy Middendorf, Amadeus Serafini, Mike Vaughn, Santiago Segura, Anthony Ruivivar, Sean Grandillo, Tom Maden, Bryan Batt, Kiana Ledé, Alec Rayme, Austin Highsmith, Larry Bourne Jr., Mikki Val, Tom Everett Scott, Stevie Lynn Jones, Patrick Constantine Bertagnolli Jr., Karina Logue, Karina Logue, Chase McCleery Bouchie, Mary Katherine Duhon, Sosie Bacon, Alexander Calvert, Alex Esola, Zena Grey, Lindsay LaVanchy, Derek Roberts
Release Year – 2016
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Reading this review will give away potential spoilers for Season One. Read at your own risk.
I found the first season to be a pleasant surprise after assuming MTV would ruin a TV series we never asked for. It wasn’t amazing, but it did the job by giving me enough kills, decent gore, and an engaging story that kept me guessing until the final sequences. I knew that if the show runners paid any attention to the film series (they did) then they would include Wes Craven’s classic element of employing two killers, which is the basis for Season Two. We learned from Season 1 that Audrey had ties to Piper Shaw (the killer) and that Piper likely had an accomplice. The bulk of this season will stem from the “Lakewood 6” trying figure out who the new / uncaught killer is. Could it be Audrey, or is she being manipulated by a third-party she never saw coming. It will take 12 episodes to figure that out. A 13th episode was added as a two-hour Halloween special, so I will include that in this review as it is technically the true finale to Season 2. If you enjoyed the first season then you will probably enjoy this. You know what you are getting, except now we are able to delve deeper into the main characters. With a slew of genre veterans helming the directors’ chairs and 16 decently gory deaths for us to enjoy, Season 2 of Scream: The TV Series is a worthy watch for slasher fans.
Set three months after the death of Piper Shaw, the lives of the Lakewood Six will have to refrain from normalcy when a new killer arrives. Noah’s obsession with the killings has birthed him a growing following for his horror podcast and Emma has just arrived to Lakewood from a therapy retreat. The survivors have done what they can to move on, but the past won’t let them and neither will the new killer. Audrey finds herself blackmailed and framed for a new series of murders, Jake and Brooke’s relationship is put to the ultimate test, Kieran is still recovering from the death of his father, and a slew of new arrivals make for prime suspects.
If Season 1 left you wanting more insight into the protagonists then you should enjoy this season. We see Noah actually get a girl and are exposed to the depth of his friendship with Audrey, as well as the issues that will drive them apart. I really enjoyed the look inside Audrey’s character and the tribulations she was forced to go through. The killer’s hold on her is intense, and she must go through some drastic measures to clear her name. Noah’s obsession with exposing Piper’s accomplice lands him in the crosshairs of the killer, who could possibly be his best friend. Emma’s character is used to potential albeit she goes through the usual slasher cliches. By season’s end she will be strong and refusing to run, but things definitely don’t begin that way. Aside from kicking things off with the death of a major character, the first four episodes had me thinking I was not going to enjoy the season. These episodes were heavy in Emma’s re-entry into living a normal life again and things do not go well for her. She has breakdowns, cliché flashbacks, and becomes an unlikable character. As the other characters begin to surface and steal runtime the story begins to find itself and Emma becomes a character you can root for. Kieran’s character is also expanded, with the addition of some of his extended family members looking to cash in on Lakewood giving them a new start. Then there is Gustavo (goes by ‘Stavo), the son of the town’s new sheriff. With a fascination for horror films and spectacular talent at drawing the deaths of his friends in graphic novels, he makes the perfect suspect for the new killer in town.
With every episode giving us a new twist to the puzzle I found myself engaged but I did not get hooked until the final four episodes and the Halloween special. There is more going on with this season and the urge to uncover Piper’s accomplice drew me in, but for some reason I found the first season more engaging for me. Nonetheless, the writers managed to keep things fresh by doing what the previous season could not do and that was delve deeper into the main characters. This is a common advantage a second season or sequel will have over the previous material.
With 16 deaths this season delivers enough kills to keep me satisfied. I was glad to see that more than one major character bites the dust, which is something I wish I could have said about the last 5 seasons of The Walking Dead. It takes guts to kill off fan favorites, so I give props to these writers for making that happen. With decent gore the kills were mostly satisfying, however they were not as creative as I expected. We do get to see the killer use other tools aside from the usual blade, so that was nice, but I definitely wanted to see more scenes like the wood chipper one in the first season. These kills are executed by some recognizable directors in the genre, including Leigh Janiak (Honeymoon), Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), Kevin Kolsch (Starry Eyes), Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine remake), E.L. Katz (Cheap Thrills), Gil Kenan (Monster House, Poltergeist remake), Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism, 13 Sins), so you can rest assured that the horror is in stable hands.
While I enjoyed the execution of the horror you must keep in mind this is an MTV production. That means you are going to get some cheese and it may not be the cheese you are looking for. There were many times where I disliked the dialogue, story arches, incapable law enforcement tactics (or lack thereof), the killer’s CIA hacking abilities, etc. You probably will too, but somehow the directors find a way to make it work.
Writing on the Halloween special will possibly give away some Season 2 spoilers. Read at your own risk.
As far as the Halloween special goes, the two-hour event equates to an 81 minute episode that you can watch on MTV’s website. The story here takes place 8 months after the events of episode 12, which was the initial season finale. This Halloween special is more of a standalone episode, however it is still included as part of Season 2. Anyway, with the Lakewood killer gone Emma is now focusing on her future, Noah and Stavo have joined talents to create a best-selling graphic novel based on the second round of Lakewood murders, and Audrey is now in a relationship. When Noah and Stavo’s producer convinces them to fly out to a nearby island to study its horrific past, they decide to bring their friends with them for one last hoorah before going their separate ways after high school. Little do they know, in unlocking the mystery behind the island’s fabled murders they also attract a new killer and once again find themselves running for their lives.
I really liked that the Halloween special set the location outside of Lakewood and also left them in a nowhere to run scenario. With a storm approaching it becomes impossible to safely leave the island, so the friends must band together in hopes of surviving the trip. This episode throws the entire series for a look within the first few minutes, and manages to make the most of its 81-minute runtime. While there at 16 kills in Season 2, this episode accounted for 8 of them. If you feel that the series doesn’t dish out the goods often enough then you are sure to at least enjoy this.
Overall, Scream: The TV Series (Season 2) does a good job in giving us more of the same. The story and characters are expanded, but everything else is pretty much the same. If you enjoyed the first season then you should enjoy this. If you did not, then you should stay away.