REVIEW: SCREAM: THE SERIES HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (2016)

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MAIN CAST

Willa Fitzgerald (Gotham)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow)
John Karma (Premature)
Amadeus Serafini (Smoke)
Carlson Young (True Blood)
Tracy Middendorf (New Nightmare)
Santiago Segura (Silicon Valley)

GUEST CAST

Alexander Calvert (Arrow)
Alex Esola (The Young Pope)
Zena Grey (Snow Day)
Austin Highsmith (Gangster Squad)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Anthony Ruivivar (Beauty and The Beast)

Everyone seems in good spirits following another of year of murder and torture. The Lakewood teens are just looking for a little break from the Halloween hype and decide to venture off to a remote island where they think a relaxing beach getaway will solve all their troubles. Aside from these teenagers’ total inability to spot a bad plan when it is right in front of their face, there were many changes among the Lakewood crew, some that may even play out for the recently renewed, yet shorter, season three.

I guess if you were paying attention, Stavo and Noah have a lot more in common (creatively) than we thought. Their obsession with the horror genre and death somehow lead them to write/illustrate a book together and therefore have an editor urging for more work. The basis for the trip to the island was their editor, Jeremy’s, idea to help inspire Noah through his writer’s block. Shallow Grove Island (nicknamed Murder Island, mind you) played host to the Whitten mansion where a terrible murder spree occurred in which Anna Hobbs apparently murdered her family and the people they worked for.

The story was eventually proven untrue through some sleuthing and puzzle piecing by Noah. However, this new partnership is one that I’m intrigued by and after Noah’s narration at the end of the episode, the two may continue collaborating in season three. Stavo is finally a part of the Lakewood teens group, instead of being considered as a suspect.

When Emma cozies up with the only remaining descendant of the Whitten family, things start to take a turn. Alex Whitten immediately catches Emma’s eye and most viewers too. He’s mysterious, quiet, good looking, kind. He’s had a troubled life, too with the tragedy of his own parent’s death. Emma relates to his feelings of being in the spotlight because of his trauma and is inspired by how he has made a good life for himself. However, their new romance is tainted by a new set of murders on the island, starting with the man who ran the museum with Anna Hobbs’ mask and murder weapon (garden sheers). Those things were taken and used as the killer’s disguise. Who knew a potato sack mask could be maybe even more creepy than the revamped scream mask regularly on the show?

Then everyone starts dropping like flies, including Stavo and Noah’s arrogant and annoying editor, Jeremy who by the end of the episode, wasn’t such a devastating loss. I thought we’d have to deal with him once season three was back but, apparently not. What this means for their book deal…I don’t know. The Lakewood 6 eventually find a sanctuary at Alex Whitten’s mansion as a storm comes in and prevents them from getting off the island.

I was a little disappointed by the trick factor. I guess this isn’t an M. Night Shyamalan. However, I did like the subtle nod to Shyamalon’s most recent horror film comeback, The Visit. Emma realizes Alex is the murderer on the island when she finds the real Alex Whitten’s mangled body in a chest at the mansion. Yes, Emma gets the final take down of Alex Whitten when she pushes him off a balcony. Emma’s gusto was pretty kickass in this episode and I can’t wait to see more of it. Her character has definitely taken a turn for the better as she has become a person with a lot more strength and gumption. Finally, the Lakewood teens are all reunited and get the hell off that island.

Overall, I was happy with this brief storyline they created for the Halloween special and am excited about the new storylines they introduced that will contribute to the direction of season three. We will have to wait for more answers once season three premieres in 2017. While the season will only be six episodes, that just leaves more opportunity for some jam packed episodes of shock, drama, and a good dose of horror.

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REVIEW: SCREAM: THE SERIES – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

WIlla Fitzgerald (Gotham)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow)
John Karma (Bindlestiffs)
Amadeus Serafini (Smoke)
Carlson Young (Heroes)
Tracy Middendorf (New Nightmare)
Kiana Ledé (Guidance)
Santiago Segura (In The Deep)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Tom Maden (Killer Coach)
Austin Highsmith (Dolphin Tale)
Anthony Ruivivar (Chuck)
Mary Katherine Duhon (Underground)
Bryan Batt (Funny People)
Sean Grandillo (Secrets and Lies)
Karina Logie (Bates Motel)
Tom Everett Scott (Dead man On Campus)
Bobby Campo (The Final Destination)

ScreamEmma returns to Lakewood after several months at a retreat. Her friends begin to question whether she has truly gotten over the killer’s crimes. Meanwhile, Audrey is hiding her connection to the killer, but is getting harassed by someone who knows the truth, and Noah is getting closer to the truth about the murders. Lakewood’s murderous past, both recent and distant, are once again brought to focus – with this killer’s psychotic mind-game intent on targeting the Lakewood Six survivors.

Although there appeared to be many cringe-worthy moments, I personally enjoyed all the pop culture references as it made the show feel more relatable growing up in world where social media is everything (whether we like to admit it or not). It brought the show into a modern era using terms such as ‘viral’ and ‘gif’ which would appear in everyday conversation of young adults and adolescents, making the show even more appealing. Also, the use of Samsung’s and iPhone’s was very well done as it used the proper text tones and ringtones. Even small technical adjustments such as these, make all the difference to getting the audience on the director’s side as it shows familiarity and makes an extremely dramatized show even the slightest feeling that maybe something this insane is possible.

Overall, this show is thrilling and constantly keeps the audience wondering who the killer under the Scream mask is.  Although it appears far-fetched at times, the story is interesting and the characters are lovable as well as having the scare-factor within each episode. I would definitely recommend if the horror genre is something you’re interested in.

REVIEW: SCREAM: THE SERIES – SEASON 1

CAST

WIlla Fitzgerald (Gotham)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow)
John Karma (Bindlestiffs)
Amadeus Serafini (Smoke)
Connor Weil (Sharknado)
Carlson Young (Heroes)
Tom Maden (Killer Coach)
Jason Wiles (Zodiac)
Tracy Middendorf (New Nightmare)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Bella Thorne (Amityville: The Awakening)
Bobby Campo (The Final Destination)
Brianne Tju (Opposite Day)
Max Lloyd-Jones (Izombie)
Bryan Batt (Funny People)
Amelia Rose Blaire (True Blood)

We’ve been here before: A girl home alone at night; a killer taunting her by phone; a twistedly gory denouement. The new MTV series Scream doesn’t even try to distance itself from its iconic predecessor  which stood out from the slasher film pack because its young, alternately nubile and nerdy cast of potential victims were hip to slasher film mechanics. They knew the genre they were trapped in and acted accordingly, which still didn’t up their chances of survival. Nina Patterson (Bella Thorne), one of the architects of a vengeful viral video targeted at rebellious outcast Audrey Jensen (Bex Taylor-Klaus). While images of Audrey making out with another young woman are drawing Twitter and Facebook OMGs, rich-bitch Nina is basking in the glow of her prank with a late-night Jacuzzi dip. Then the texts start flooding in — seemingly from a guy who wants to climb in beside her and put the “hot” in “hot tub.” But then the guy’s severed head comes flying through the air, and it isn’t long before Nina finds herself on the wrong end of a blade wielded by the Scream series’ ghostface killer. (His/her mask has been redesigned to resemble a dead-eyed porcelain doll.)So the mystery begins, but how does one stretch the tale of a knife-brandishing maniac over ten episodesResident film and TV nerd Noah Foster (John Karna) — basically the show’s Jamie Kennedy — ponders that very question over two scenes of the premiere, noting the rise of pop and cult series like American Horror Story and Hannibal before ultimately articulating the show’s mission statement: “You need to forget it’s a horror story … that someone might die at every turn.”There’s a Sidney Prescott-like heroine, Emma Duval (Willa Fitzgerald), who isn’t as innocent as she initially seems, and whose mother, Margaret (Tracy Middendorf), is hiding a dark secret. There’s the new guy in town, Kieran Wilcox (Amadeus Serafini), who despite his own shady past, seduces Emma away from her cheating boyfriend Will Belmont (Connor Weil). And there’s catty mean girl Brooke Maddox (Carlson Young), who seems set to go the way of the first Scream’s Rose McGowan (death in garage), until being granted a reprieve.Each episode just gets better and better, with no character safe from the killer, with each episode keeping you guessing as to who the killer is, and when the killer is revealed in the finale it’s truly amazing, with a nice little cliffhanger to keep people intrigued for season 2.

REVIEW: THE NEIGHBORS – SEASON 1 & 2

MAIN CAST

Jami Getz (Twister)
Lenny Venito (The Brave One)
Simon Templeman (Lois & Clark)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Clara Mamet (Bad Neighbours 2)
Tim Jo (Glory Daze)
Ian Patrick (Looper)
Max Charles (The Strain)
Isabella Crovetti-Cramp (Joy)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Megan Park (Diary of The Dead)
Doug Jones (Batman Returns)
Leslie Grossman (Popular)
Amy Farrington (Faking It)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Meagen Fay (Agent Carter)
Maribeth Monroe (The Back-Up Plan)
Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men)
Debra Mooney (Everwood)
Billy Malone (Sleepers)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
Carla Renata (Hart of Dixie)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club)
Grant Harvey (Billy Boy)
Lora Plattner (Turkey)
Patrick Cassidy (Smallville)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jerry Springer (The Ringmaster)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard)
Jack Scalia (Red Eye)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Rhea Perlman (Cheers)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
Candace Cameron Bure (Full House)
John Karma (Scream: The Series)
Scott Weinger (Shredder)

3rd Rock from the Sun is a tough act to follow. The Neighbors does a pretty good job, but uses wit and timing instead of zaniness and slapstick comedy to get its laughs. That makes it consistently funny, just not side-splittingly funny. Naming all of the aliens after sports heroes was an inspired choice– they’ll never run out of funny names (a tot named Dick Butkus?), and the fact that the aliens are dorky doubles down on the running gag. So are all their matching outfits/uniforms that remind us of golf clothes from the 1970s.

Also on the upside, some of the cast members are real gems. I don’t know where Toks Olagundoye has been up til now, but she’s got real movie star power as the glamorous alien mom. Her rapid fire back and forth with alien husband Simon Templeman, who has perfect comedic timing and never wastes a good line, are my favorite parts of the show. Jami Gertz and Max Charles are good enough as the earthling straight man/woman, but I think maybe too much of the plot compares their unfunny ordinariness to the aliens’ backwards/upside down view of what humanity is like. The child actors are pretty good, too, even if the show relies a little too much on alien child Ian Patrick’s precociousness. Clara Mamet is exceptional as the brooding, frighteningly calculating and cynical teenager.

I was worried that after a few episodes the running gags would wear thin and they’d run out of ideas. Not so at all! It was a series that went from strength to strength but put on in American in the Friday night death slot, so sadly only 2 seasons were made.