Scream: The TV Series has had a variety of ups and downs, especially since the end of the second season. Season two aired way back in 2016, since then the series has been in limbo. After much time, it was announced to be a reboot with new characters and it filmed in late 2017 with an implied 2018 release date. However, no news came out about the release date until June of this year and before we knew it, after three years of waiting, the series was out and over.
Season three, titled Scream: Resurrection follows Deion Elliott (RJ Cyler) and some of his fellow classmates who are tormented by a killer wearing a Ghostface mask. It does not have any connection to the first two seasons and takes the anthology approach.
With a relatively short six-episode run, the series is paced pretty quickly throughout and doesn’t waste much time on all of the teen drama content. The story is very classic slasher. There’s a killer who has a vendetta against a character or group of characters and spends their time terrorising and killing people one by one. The ‘Scream’ formula is remarkably simple and it works more times than it doesn’t. The structure worked fine over the first two seasons and it works here too. The guessing game aspect of who the killer is, and seeing who is going to die next, makes the season an enjoyable watch despite some aspects that hold it back.
Is it scary? No. But slasher films aren’t meant to be, nor are they known for being all that scary. A few jump-scares might catch you here and there but, for the most part, it’s not a terrifying ordeal. The key to a good slasher is when it can hold a certain level of tension and build that tension when leading into the final act. Having to stretch that out to cover six episodes is a challenge, but it’s a challenge that’s handled well here. From the initial setup scene to where the Ghostface killer starts making appearances it’s a tense ride and one with some genuinely enjoyable sequences.
It does have its moments where the story starts to lose it. A couple of times you can tell it’s stretching to fill the six episodes by drawing out some sequences longer than they need to be. The slightly messy sequences and sub-storylines do impact the overall enjoyment of the show, but they don’t ruin the fun of figuring out whodunnit. That being said, the story does pay off with some great twists and turns.
Humour is a core element of the Scream franchise with cheesy jokes existing in the movies and series as well as the presence of occasional meta-humour about the ‘rules’ of horror films such as ‘never say “I’ll be right back”‘. That’s not integrated as well here, although, there are a couple of notable funny moments that get a chuckle. It’s mainly all cheesy humour, as expected. A lot of it doesn’t work for a reason I’ll get to next, but when it does work it brings back the tone of the movies which is a nice touch.
Now, there is a character in here; Beth (Georgia Whigham); who is an expert on horror films, the horror genre, and all of the horror tropes who is responsible for the semi-fourth-wall breaking jokes about slashers. The reason why a lot of the humour from her doesn’t really work as well as it should is that the same type of character and same jokes appear in the previous two seasons. In those seasons Noah (John Karna) was the one making those jokes and now it’s Beth, so, it all seems like rehashed humour as opposed to new content. She’s a fine character, it’s just stuff we’ve seen before.
The acting and performances are where this season does fall quite flat. RJ Cyler is great in the lead role as Deion. He’s a strong character who you can root for and Cyler does a great job at getting you on his side. He’s strong in the horror sequences and is the performance that makes this season. Other than him, no one else really delivers with supporting performances that aren’t always great. Jessica Sula (Liv), Giorgia Whigham, Tyga (Jay), and Keke Palmer (Kym) are all okay at best. The line delivery isn’t great and their performances do, at times, take you out of it. Actually, I’m not being fair to Tyga, I thought he’d be the worst of the bunch, but he is surprisingly very capable at holding most of his scenes.
The season is overall okay, despite some of the above issues. The score from the first seasons is still used here and I think it still really works. On top of this, the season brings back the original Ghostface mask and voice-actor Roger Jackson to give it that level of authenticity and nostalgia. It has some cues of I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) in the tone and feel of the story which I like. The callbacks to other horror films are mostly good. Some are too on-the-nose but most are blended well.
In the end, it’s great to finally receive Scream: Resurrection after such a long wait even if it isn’t great. There are some redeeming qualities that make it an enjoyable watch such as the ability to remain a tense experience, but the performances and story woes hold it back. It’s a good watch for slasher and Scream fans, but don’t expect too much so you’re not too disappointed.