Scream Season 2 Review: The Return of Surgical Face.

As Always Be Ware SPOILERSS!! Plus this is a very long review.

The heroes from Scream Season One return. Emma, Audrey, Noah, Keiren, Jake and Brooke are now known as the Lakewood Six. They are pretty famous now, so famous that someone in classic Scream 2 tradition decides to kill Audrey at a movie theater. Audrey being the legit bad ass, she is, stabs the person. Well, it turns to be less of a kill and more a prank. We are introduce to our first new suspect, crazy girlfirend. Yeah, I am terrible with names like I still have no idea how to spell Kieren even when his cellphone name popping up on this show like a hundred times. Besides Crazy Girlfriend, we get some new suspects to be the killer aka Surgical Face aka Brandon James. Lets meet them shall we. Zoe, is Noah’s new love interest. Salvatore, who is Brooke’s new stalker and son of the new police chief. Chris and his mom who happen to be Kieren’s aunt and cousin. Both of them are shady as hell. On top of them, we get our new psych teacher Kristen Lane. Miss Lane’s special hobby is writing a book about the Lakewood Six without telling them and banging the creepy former teacher, Mr Benson. So, you got all of that? Good, because we still have more housekeeping to do.

The LakeWood Six have been busy during the summer. Emma has been away at a special crazy camp after having an episode last year after all the killings. She is sorta fine…maybe. Brooke and Jake are bang buddies. Kieren has been able to stay in town even without a guardian thanks to his aunt checking in on him. Noah took over Piper’s Podcast, the Morgue. Audrey finds the entire thing weird mainly, because Noah thinks there is a second murder or at least an accomplice. Since we know Audrey wrote to Piper and we are not really sure what that means, she is terrified. And here is the crux of the entire show, Audrey’s sins. She constantly lied to everyone about Piper and it really comes back to bite her in the ass. Well, not as bad as it does for Jake. When I reviewed the show last year, I was legit shocked that Jake made it through. Actually I was shocked that most of the cast lived after the finale. Here, the show decides to reverse that possible mistake. Jake is captured as he looks to be ready to set fire to a building. A building owned by Brooke’s Daddy who is also the Mayor. Jake is then killed a pig farm that Emma remembers going toand belongs to the James family. Audrey is shown via phone of Jake’s murder and the murder refers to her as partner. See, where we are going with this.

The rest of the first four episodes is Audrey covering up for the murder. She finds Jake’s body and removes evidence of her being involved. She gets a motel manager killed, because he remembered her talking to Piper. All of this is done while the new murder plays mind games with Emma. It all falls apart when the murder pulls a Carrie on Brooke. Jake’s body and all of his blood comes down from the rafters after they open up the homecoming queen banner on top of Brooke. Let me, say the character I really liked in this go around was Brooke. She seems to have grown from Mean Girl to loyal friend to someone who is probably more of a survivor than Emma is at the end of this. Even Noah at this mark figures out they are just in part one of a three part story. Funny thing, its actually like four or five parts.

Anyway, Audrey finally confesses to Noah after she playfully kidnaps him and puts him in real danger. She says that she wrote Piper knowing full well she was Emma’s half sister. She does admit she did not think Piper was the killer and was played. Noah is accidentally recording all of this. Zoe emails the file to herself and it eventually lands on Emma’s phone. While Audrey confessing to Noah was a big deal, the bigger deal is when Emma and Audrey finally have it out. We find out Piper and Audrey were lovers. They were actually together when Audrey’s ex got killed. Emma not having a lot of this decides to cut Audrey out of her life and that lasts about a whole 20 minutes of show time.

Ok, here is the thing about this show. Its deeper than the last one. While the drama of the kids is playing out, more murders keep happening. Mr. Benson is killed after Brooke tries to seduce him. Miss Lang is attacked and almost killed. Crazy girlfriend is killed when she reveals to Emma, she is helping a special friend who is probably the murder. There is a ton of carnage on the show. Yet, the worse kill happens in the middle. Noah realizing he was bugged and Zoe did not send the tape to Emma, decides to have sex with Zoe. Ok, what are the rules again, kids? Yeah..Zoe not Noah dies.

As you know, I have a fondness for Noah as the horror movie nerd or overall nerd. The fact he went to podcasting about all this shit, really hammers it home for me. So, when Zoe is being killed, Noah is stabbed and buried alive. Its up to Emma and Audrey to save him. During the rescue, Audrey finally reveals why she wrote to Piper in the first place. She was in love with Emma and Emma broke her heart.

Boom! The real truth that they sorta hinted at in season one is revealed. All of this is happening due a broken heart. The girls are able to save Noah, but he is broken. So, broken he quits the podcast and the investigation. Meanwhile, the adults are sorta convinced thanks to Miss Lane’s duality theory that Emma and Audrey are the killers. She makes the Scream Movie One case of two killers feeding off each other. It even leads to them being arrested after Brooke’s father is murdered at the pig farm. The murder sets the girls free. The heroes decide to trap the murder at the movie theater, but Brooke is stabbed and Audrey is kidnapped. So, leading up to this, there is only two real suspects Chris and Salvatore. Chris is creepy. He seemed to be stalking Emma all the way back when her first boyfriend died in season one. He also has the letters Audrey wrote to Piper. Salvatore likes to draw pictures of our heroes being killed and yeah…he is fucking Brooke at this point. With those two being the only options and Salvatore crying over Brooke…it has to be Chris…right?

WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONGGGG!!!

So, fucking wrong. Its Kieren. Kieren and Piper were fucking before they came to LakeWood. They planned all of it, but Audrey got in the way. So, Kieren who has all the time in the world to kill all of them especially in the summer when most of them are separated from each other, does this. Kieren even kills Chris who tries to save the girls. Eventually, Emma and Audrey are too bad ass for him and he is captured. End of the story….?!!

WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONGGGG!!!

I just copied and pasted that wrong. Anyway, we get season 2.5. I shit you not. Its three months later. Kieren is sentenced to ten life sentences. While in a holding cell, Surgical Face snaps a guards neck almost 360 degrees and kills Kieren. It is alluded at Kieren had another accomplice, but that has to wait as we get Scream Island. Yep, the Lakewood Six now Four or Five if you count Salvatore go to this mysterious island on Halloween. The episode is legit called Halloween I and II. All of the episodes are named for horror films even if it makes zero sense. Noah and Salvatore did a graphic novel, I love this kid btw, about the Lakewood Six and its in its third printing. Their business partner heard on the forums…ok…who really reads and believes anything in the forums anymore after this election…I guess this guy. The forums talk is about this girl, Anna Hobbes murdering her family and the whiskey baron who owned the island. Long story, short…the guy on the forums is the killer and thinks Emma is his soulmate. He says he did not kill Kieren and the only real victims are people we meet for like ten minutes during this episode.

The real end of this season comes with Noah saying he has to be the voice of the victims. Brooke and Salvatore going to NYU. Audrey getting a new girlfriend and Emma embracing who she is…the hero. However, Noah alludes to another sequel maybe breaking the fourth wall as we see Emma’s Dad looking over Kieren’s grave and a Mr. James checking into the local motel.

Ok, where to start. Its better than Scream 2 the movie. A lot better. It does some nice touches of mentioning that film with the possible murder to start in theater. They really tease hard they are going to kill Noah, who is the living breathing embodiment of the Jamie Kennedy character from the films. We finally get to the boyfriend being the killer. You know what lets start there. I don’t know what to think about it. It is a giant callback to at least Scream 1 which I love. Yet, it makes almost no sense.

As I said before, he could have killed them all at any time. He is in deep with all of them especially Emma. His logic at the end makes no sense. The season is sitting up for Surgical Face to drive Emma crazy thus the cops believe its her and Audrey are doing all of the killing. However, Salvatore’s Dad thinks its his own son during most of it and really doesn’t think its Emma or Audrey. So, Kieren’s plan never really works out. Even Emma at the end has the police arrest him. It does not solve a giant problem I have with this season. Surgical Face is borderline mystical at times. He has super human strength, appears out of thin air, makes zero sounds when he walks and he sees them all the time. Even with bugging Noah’s room and Kieren knowing most of their plans since he is beside them, there are times where it makes no sense how Surgical Face is almost omnipresent. The cool part with last season was the fact that Piper was using Audrey to get details and she seemed to have a legit plan. We also now know that Kieren was in league with her and we kinda figured that out since you know its Scream, so there must be two killers. Here, it seems like a giant leap. Way too giant.

Another problem, I have is I believe this season was either rushed or told to drag it out, because the finale is bullshit. It really is. It feels like the writers really wanted to tell this mystery island story, but had no idea where to put it. It might have been season three, but early on, they realized it was going to be too short, so throw it in at the end. It really adds nothing to the show other than we know Audrey has a girlfriend who is sorta jealous of Emma. That is about it. The victims and even the killer are disposable. It feels more like an episode of Gotham than Scream. Nothing really matters here. I like the idea of the killer being a stalker super fan, but that is about it.

The last problem, I have is the parents. Fuck these parents. As a Dad, I may not tell my kid everything about my past, but if I helped a possible killer who may or may not be a parent to said kid escape, I would like to think that might be brought up by at least their 10th birthday. You know to scar them and be ready to have to deal with that in the future especially if said parent turns into a homicidal magical being. Emma’s Mom, Maggie, is the worst and Salvatore’s Dad, Miguel, is not far behind.

Apparently, Miguel helped Maggie fix up Brandon James and he knows about the pig farm. The pig farm is where Maggie took Emma to meet with the James’ family before they were exiled from Lakewood. Even when Emma dreams about the place, Maggie is not forthcoming about it and is forced to talk about it. After everything in season one, you would think Maggie would sit Emma down to tell her everything about her past. I mean everything. Nope, its still secrets and lies. We even find out Emma’s “Dad” hit Maggie and possibly not once. I mean Jesus. They are the worst people in the world or the worst written characters in the world. I have no idea.

Other than that, its great. This is way better than season one. The conceit of the show spelled out by Noah in the pilot was you will care more about these characters by spending about 500 minutes a season with them than you will care about the characters in the movies where at tops you spend 360 minutes for all four movies. So, far we are almost at a thousand hours with these characters and I do love them. Its easy for me to really identify with Noah who seems to come in and out of horror nerd this season. He does even talk about the rules changing when the killer brings up him not being a virgin anymore. I love how they are using him in this meta way, but you still give a shit about him. Zoe’s death is the most brutal of the show, because you got to care for her. So, check mark there. I was scared for Audrey about her secret. At the same time, too I did want to know more about her relationship with Piper and how it related to Emma. I even liked Brooke. A girl in real life, I would be ok with being a victim. Here, she is a victim and probably next to Noah gets the killer’s full wrath of losing Jake and her father. She is a great actress as I do feel for her and she even helps Zoe get with Noah. She is a great fully rounded character. As for Emma…that is tough.

Like I said in the first season review, I love Neve Campbell as Sydney. Just in love with her even through the crappy sequels and 2 is straight garbage. Still, I love her and her strength. Here, I like Emma, not love, like. Which is good enough. The acting is ok. The writing for her is off. Almost every word out of Emma’s mouth is “I feel betrayed” or “I am not crazy.” That is half her dialogue this season. I get it though. She should feel betrayed by Audrey for keeping the secret and Noah helping for like a whole day or so. She is betrayed by Kieren at the end and I guess the writers are setting up for that, but we need more from her. The best scene she has is at the end with the fanboy killer whose name, already forget and I just finished this thing an hour ago. She screams “I am Emma Duvall…I do need not a hero to save me!” Then she throws the killer off a building. Pretty awesome. That really should have come sooner. There is another good scene where she puts the gun to Kieren’s head like she is going to kill him, but choose not to. For a split second, you believe she will kill him and Audrey seems to have zero problem with it. If there is a third season, we need more of that.

As for a third season, I just looked it up and we are getting a new cast. The fuck….so, like…what?! Ok, here is a true statement. I binged watched this yesterday and today thanks to the magic of Netflix. I knew nothing going in about this season or the next. While researching stuff for season three just now, I just read that the cast is dumped, but we get Ghostface back. I…ok…I…fuck. So, yea, they totally wasted that finale. God lord. Anyway, as I am thunderstruck by this, I still think this season was pretty good. The ending especially now makes no sense, but it was still a fun ride and I am going to legit miss these characters. I guess the new season is going to be six episodes long. Hopefully, there is some fan outcry over this and we get six episodes to wrap all of this up. I do think the cast deserves that at least. Oh, they are making the lead a male football player…I sorta hate it already.

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Scream the TV Show: Hello…Syd…Emma..is this the right number?

SPOILERS AHEAD. BEWARE ALL WHO ENTER HERE!

Scream is to horror movies what Pulp Fiction is to crime movies or just bad ass movies in general. It changed everything. Instead of clueless teens we now have self aware teens who know the rules. We had for a time real living breathing killers instead of supernatural beings. We have gone back to the supernatural elements in films like Insidious and Paranormal Activity. It sorta works, but there is some joy lost by no longer having the who done it. We also now have the twist ending of multiple killers. If we don’t get it, we are lead to believe there is more than one killer. Scream’s sequels made fun of the slasher sequels as well, but with lesser effect til we got to a fourth film even I, a big fan of the franchise, did not see. So, when MTV decided to option the series, I was leery. I may have gotten around to seeing it eventually, but I doubt it. When Wes Craven passed away, I decided to give it a chance. This will be his last project, a project almost twenty years ago helped people remember why he is one of the masters of horror cinema.

Upfront there is no Sydney, no Gale Weathers or even a Woodsboro. There is also no Ghostface. Instead we get Surgical Face. The killer wears a surgical mask that helped a person by the name of Brandon James keep his face together as he battled Elephantiasis. Brandon apparently went on a killing spree for his love, Daisy. Daisy convinced Brandon to meet her by a dock where the police shot him dead in front of her. This happened in the 90s of course. So, we fast forward to meet our new Scream cast.

Emma is our new heroine whose Mom was Daisy, but goes by Maggie now. Emma is the focus of the killer or killers’ plan. We have the jocks, Jake, Tyler and Will. Will is dating Emma for a short period of time. There are the rich bitches in Brooke, Reilly and Nina. Nina gets the Drew Barrymore treatment to start it off. Its not as effective as the first Scream, but that scene is routinely listed in the top ten or twenty scares of all time. There was no way they were going to top it, so they homage it. Then we have our outcasts in Audrey and Noah. Audrey starts the show off by being filmed making out with her girlfriend, Rachel. The video goes straight to YouTube, gotta love social media and teenage douchebagery. We also get the mysterious Kieran. Yeah that is his name, I think. He is the lost son of the local Sheriff who is dating Maggie. Then we get this podcaster named Piper, who..shows up to investigate the murders for her mystery show. For the record, I will not investigate vigilantism for our show. We also have a Mr. Benson who is having an affair with Brooke.

Noah is our resident Jamie Kennedy character from the Scream films. I adore that character and his death in Scream 2 is probably where they lost the fan base or at least me. I mean David Arquette is right there just be killed for three films. Anyway, Noah gives us the fairly good reason why a TV version of Scream would work better than a movie. Instead of 90 minutes to know our characters, we have a whole season to get the know the characters thus their deaths will mean more. That is good in theory, but in fact we have to wait and see if its true. Eventually, Nina’s murder is pinned on Tyler, but we, the audience, knows Tyler is dead, because we saw the killer throw his head at Nina. The cops and everyone go after Tyler who keeps texting the kids especially Reilly. Reilly could have been an interesting character. She is a secret nerd who is ready to nail Noah when Tyler texts her. The cops and Emma convince her to lay a trap for Tyler. Remember when I said Reilly could have been interesting. She is killed in the police station by Surgical Face. Tyler’s car is burned to the ground and he has no head when the police find his body.

Emma is taunted by the killer through the entire ordeal. I am sure you believe you know who the murder is since this is Scream. Emma has a boyfriend who has another friend. Of course, its them. Will and Jake are scumbags. They as well as Tyler and Nina are blackmailing everyone including Brooke’s Mayor Dad in town using some magical malware. Emma find this out, dumps Will and heads straight for Keiran or Kieran..I have no fucking clue where they got that name. Will tries to do the right thing by Mayor Dad, but that gets him captured. The crew rescues him at a bowling alley where Brandon James worked. Jake and Will are stabbed, but not fatally. Again like Scream one, but this time around the killer brutally murders Will in front of Emma with a giant farm saw later in the episode. Its pretty bloody good. Kill of the show really.

Now, we are down to the rest of the cast where everyone minus Emma looks guilty at one point in time. Even Audrey’s girl, Rachel, is killed when it looks to be suicide. Everyone is a suspect and everyone lost someone. So, it becomes muddled which is good. Audrey and Noah finger Mr. Benson when they find the murder weapon in his office and figure out the magical malware came from his List-Server. He also changed his name and may have killed a girl like Brooke. This is closed right? Right?

The real meat of the middle is what is Maggie’s big secret or secrets. Let me state now, that the acting in this thing goes from good to why its on MTV. Primary from the adults if you can believe it. The actress playing Maggie couldn’t be less forthcoming or interesting even though the entire mystery really centers around her relationship with Brandon. A relationship that gave birth to a child which is why Emma has no Dad around. It also brings up another point at the end of the series I want to get to. Emma finds all this stuff out in the course of the series yet she never asks her Mom upfront what the fuck was really going on when her Mom was her age. Its weird.

The big finale of course happens at a big party at a rich house ala the first Scream. The Sheriff is killed away from the party after Mr. Benson escapes prison. So, its up to the kids to survive which they do. No joke, all of the kids survive. Emma eventually confronts the killer at the dock where Brandon James was killed. In a surprise twist, its Piper the podcaster. Which gives my profession/hobby a bad name. She is the daughter that got left behind by Maggie. The girls have a knife fight ala monkeys. It ends when Audrey shows up, shots Piper off the dock and then in typical Scream fashion Piper comes back only for Emma to head shot her dead. So, that is it. The mysterious Kieran…Klingon whatever his name is, who at one point looked guilty as hell is actually the good guy. He and Emma are now an item. Jake and Brooke get together even though Jake is a blackmailing asshole. The nerds survive even commenting that it ended like Noah said how it would end with the sun coming up and the heroine in the back of an ambulance leaving for safety. Pretty simple right…

No. In an M. Night twist, we see Piper and Audrey were mailing each other letters. Very detailed letters that included where Emma should have died. This will lead into season two of course. If there is a season two. Minus why did Audrey do it question and why did she allow Piper to be stopped at times, the big question is who the fuck murdered all those people in the past??!! Through the entire series we get massive clues that Brandon was more than likely not the murder. So, who was it? Emma’s Dad or her Mom…the Sheriff?!! I have no clue and I am going out on a limb and saying unless Audrey is a timelord or has a Delorean that goes 88 MPH in her garage neither do the creators.

Is this good TV? I am going with a slight yes. Is it Scream? Maybe. Yes, all the characters are there in some fashion, Emma is a bit more ballsy than Sydney in  the first film, but she is not Neve Campbell. Neve nailed Syd. Like stone cold nailed that character and was one of the few believable things as the franchise went on. Why Syd went into acting Scream 2? No clue. Honestly, a lot of Scream 2 makes no sense. Scream 3  Syd is a better character where she wants to help people and is a shut in. That makes sense thus why Scream 3 is superior to 2.  Which is what this show is. Its Scream 3.They steal the abounded child out for revenge storyline from Scream 3. I liked Scream 3 except for that moment. Yet, here on the show I am sort of ok with it. Does it explain why Maggie doesn’t say anything about it til episode eight of a ten episode series though? Hell no.

Hopefully, season two they abounded that plot and move back to the scary movie plot. We do get the scary voice changer which is cool, but its weird hearing the killer say Emma and not Sydney. There is also no horror riddle games which made the films awesome. Its also a bit of stretch that a group of kids for months were fighting the killer or killers while the cops were useless. In the original Scream it happened in the course of days and they original caught the right guy only no one saw the two killers angle coming. No one regardless of what anyone online says. I saw it on opening night and everyone was fucking shocked when it was revealed. Yet, everything else sorta works. You do care about most of the cast especially Noah, Audrey and Emma. The rest not so much. Yet, half is better than none.

After re-watching the movie series for Halloween this year, I still think this show a bit more. The first Scream holds up really well, but Scream 2 and even Scream 3 seem to be all over the place. Scream 2 is a very weird film mainly due to the multiple re-writes. The original script is online where it turns out that Sydney’s boyfriend and roommate were in on it. They were emailing back and forth when they found each other on a message board. Something the TV used for their ending. The ending comes with Cotton and Syd killing each other. I think my main problem with Scream 2 is Cotton. He really should have been the killer from the beginning and even in the completed film, it takes Syd making a deal with him to be on Diane Sawyer to get him to kill Mrs. Loomis. I also think Syd having a boyfriend in Scream 2 is weird considering the last one tried to murder her. It really is up to Gayle and Dewey to carry parts of the film in Scream 2. They carry all of Scream 3 which introduces a bunch of actors just to be used as knife bait. They also admit killing Randy was a bad idea in Scream 3 to the point they bring him back via video. The good thing about the TV show so far is they have not made the mistake of killing a character who fans like and is knowledgeable enough to survive.

At the end, I am biased. Like I said I saw Scream on opening night. It was the first horror film I saw in a theater. It will always be in my top five horror clicks next to Jaws, Exorcist, Halloween and Dracula. I want to cheer for the show, because it does make sense to bring slasher horror mystery back to TV. You do need time to flesh out the characters and they did do a good job of making you second guess everyone. My big complaint minus who the fuck did the original killing, is the most of the cast shouldn’t have survived this thing even if you knew you were getting a second season. Jake or Brooke or even K-Guy should have been goners at the end. Still, they can bite it in season two. As a Wes Craven project, its good. Its actually amazingly good at times when it works. I am sure he would be proud of it. Rest in Power, Wes. Your work lives on as long as people are afraid to go to sleep or pick up their phones with an unknown number.