Scream: Resurrection Review: A disappointing resurrection that makes me wish it stayed dead
Scream is a horror franchise very near and dear to my heart and was actually one of my biggest influences for loving the genre so much. Horror master Wes Craven created a series that not only brought thrilling scares that could also make viewers laugh at times, fun characters that spewed lines that became iconic, and the legendary masked killer, Ghostface, but provided commentary on the genre that changed how people would tackle the genre and forced filmmakers to be just as unconventional as the original Scream was. Even the TV series that premiered on MTV back in 2015 captured Craven’s vision and provided a thrilling and mysterious story full of fun characters that had me glued to my TV for weeks on end. So, when I saw that VH1 was resurrecting the TV series under the name Scream: Resurrection for a three-night event containing six episodes, there was no chance that I wasn’t going to watch it.
Unfortunately, my curiosity has pretty much killed me because Resurrection not only looks and feels like a cheapened slasher masquerading under the Scream name and doesn’t understand the material it’s trying to emulate. Now, I don’t doubt that problems arose with Resurrection from the fact that it’s only six episodes and everything was shoved together in three nights, but this story is an absolute mess. In a simpler way, the series follows Deion (RJ Cyler), the high school quarterback with a dark past, as he and other oddballs that he meets in detention attempt to avoid the deadly grasp of Ghostface (voiced by Roger Jackson) as he uncovers Deion’s dark secrets. However, simplicity definitely isn’t Resurrection’s forte, as things become so ridiculously convoluted and contrived that I cared less and less about what’s happening with these characters.
The whole story between Deion and his twin brother Marcus is straight out of a soap opera and the other “plot threads” and “relationships” are just laughably uninteresting. The relationship between Amir (Christopher Jordan Wallace) and Beth (Giorgia Wingham) is pointless and evokes zero feelings, Keke Palmer is just doing a PG-13 impression of her titular role on True Jackson VP, and the whole mystery of who Ghostface is loses its intrigue fast. Frankly, by the second episode, I didn’t even care about the main characters as they’re just annoying tropes that never break from their molds and none of them carry any sort of connective energy. They also always go back on their decisions and even though they say how they are going to make a stand against the killer, they always just run in fear. Honestly, these main character make Resurrection more like a parody of Scream rather than another entry in the franchise.
It’s sad that the side characters are more appealing and interesting than any of the main characters, especially because some of them are barely in it. Tyler Posey puts in a fun performance as Shane and actually seems like he wants to be there, Tony Todd is great as the Hookman and every scene he’s in is just a treat because he’s an absolute horror legend, and Jackson’s voice is great to see back and I’ll even say that it’s great to see the original Ghostface mask back, even I hate that this series actually refers to him as Ghostface. Even Tyga puts in a decent performance as Deion’s stepbrother, Jamal, as his motivations and issues are more compelling and interesting than anything associated with the main characters.
Even the commentary and conversations about the horror genre completely miss the mark on what the series has done in the past. Nearly every moment that the character talk about horror films and the tropes that people would associate them with has no energy and completely forced. When I think back to my favorite moments from the franchise, I think about Randy talking to Stu in the video store about Billy standing in the horror section and Noah’s opening and closing monologues in the first episode of the TV series. These kinds of moments have energy, charm, and a sense of wit that hooks viewers and sparks some thoughts about the blood and guts of the genre. With Resurrection, it’s almost a chore for these characters to try to create any interesting dialogue about the genre. There’re some interesting moments, like Beth feeling sad about her realization that she’s the “bitch” stereotype, but you could easily count them on one hand. There’s even a mention about Jordan Peele and the impact of Get Out, but there’s no real discussion of why his work is so impactful today and it’s a shame because it could’ve been a nice way to talk about horror in a modern light.
Worst of all, though, is how the series basically just shames horror fans with its killer’s motivations and basically says that horror fans are just interested in becoming serial killers. As a horror fan, I felt disgusted by this because just saying that the horror genre is just those looking for gore and carnage shows how much you don’t really understand the genre. Just look at the works of Peele and Ari Aster; Peele created some social thought about racial fears in America with Get Out and Aster has effectively created horrifying stories that has made viewers reflect on how they deal with grief. Even films like The Exorcist, Halloween, Psycho, Jaws, and even the original Scream have changed the landscape of film and have inspired filmmakers to create their own original stories. So, to say that the horror genre is just a handbook for serial killers or that it’s just about the killers is just plain ignorant and it’s shameful to see that attitude displayed here. It’s just a strange cheap shot against fans that are actually watching this, but it reflects how cheap and ignorant the show looks, so I guess it makes sense.
Honestly, as I struggled to get through each episode, I could feel Craven rolling in his grave as whatever Scream: Resurrection reflects none of the complexity, charm, or care that should be associated with the Scream name. As the series came to close, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief that it was finally over and a sense of grief that it couldn’t even be remotely satisfying. Hopefully the next time someone decides to resurrect this franchise, they can at least make viewers feel as if they’re watching a genuine entry.