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“SCREAM: THE TV SERIES: Season 1, Episode 4” (TV Review)

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The change has happened: we are in the beautiful future where SCREAM: THE TV SERIES is delivering a captivating horror story that I actively care about and look forward to. I never dreamed this moment would be realized, but it has been. As the fifth episode of Scream airs tonight, let us reflect.

In episode four, titled “Aftermath”, the show has opened up into a real story, not relying on shocking viewers into not changing the channel, but simply spending time with its characters and its story. The death of another member of their clique brings the entire cast together and actually affected me as a viewer. Dedicating the first act of the episode to her death, the mourning feels real and heavy for the first time. Emma and Brooke are blaming themselves. Noah is outraged. We get to see some real emotion happening on screen.

Of course, the show returns to the exploration of the murders just in time. The writers are laying it on too thick for Will and Jake, making their sinister, vague exchanges too obvious. It is blatant they are meant to appear as the killers, therefore they cannot be the killers. Or is that the exact reason the boys are the ones donning the Brandon James mask? I don’t know! When are we deconstructing genre and when are my new teen friends in real danger?!

Noah’s gotten ridiculously suspicious as well, especially if the writers are clever enough to craft a killer who is cocky enough to make sure his hard work is appreciated. Noah arrives during a tense scene to follow the heroines around, explaining what they are finding from a horror movie standpoint. But if Noah is the one committing the murders, who is he working with? Actor Jeremy Renner? Only time will tell.

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With every episode, I am appreciating the history being given to the mask more and more. The original Ghostface mask was iconic, and there was no development behind it. This functioned as yet another presentation of a horror trope: killer with a Halloween mask. When the promos for SCREAM: THE TV SERIES first began, everyone was quick to criticize the new visage of Ghostface, or as we at FANGORIA like to call him, Jamesface. The story of the new mask has functioned as the backbone of the show since episode one, laying the groundwork for the catty teen drama to develop into something audiences will actually appreciate.

A new social media element is introduced, revealing a kill poll pitting Emma against Brooke. Who’s even voting on this? What sick app developer thought this would be a good idea? Did Steve Jobs open an App Store on the dark web that no one told me about? I am hoping to see this explored further in the coming episodes, as a whole school of teens voting on offing one of their peers is pretty messed up.

In addition to all that, this episode has a really fun little scare that actually made me leap from my couch and then collapse with laughter as the show cut to commercial break. Much of the latter half of the episode involves the teens exploring a haunted house-esque set, which is purely entertaining horror movie fun.

Other viewers may have the complaint that this episode has been a little slow, but for this writer, the show has really taken a complete 180 degree turn. It’s unbelievable how much I’m enjoying SCREAM: THE TV SERIES now, and I’m excited to see what happens next. And after a week of seemingly no murders breaking the kill-story-kill pattern of the first episodes, this writer wonders who is next on the chopping block…

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About the author
Kristen Adelwerth
Kristen is a grad student studying screenwriting in New York, NY. She loves horror movies about dead teens and grew up with an insatiable appetite for bloody slasher flicks. Her favorite film is THE CONDEMNED.
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