So most of my friends might not be aware of the intoxicating relationship I have with the streaming site Netflix. Despite my crafted façade of a seemingly social butterfly, being in doors is my favourite thing ever. I have a huge window in my room that overlooks the rooftops and an impressive patch of sky which allows me to take in all the beauty of cloud formations at sunset from the comfort of my desk and/or bed. Whilst being distracted by what I like to think are great structures of distant worlds, I delve into the wide, sometimes unappetising, never samey catalogue of Netflix. Unsurprisingly I do like to watch the worst TV shows of all time. I’ll admit now that I’m on the 4th season of Vampire Diaries, the 5th of Pretty Little Liars and almost done with How to Get Away With Murder and I love it.
[SPOILER: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN SCREAM THE SERIES AND YOU WANT TO, DON’T READ ON.]
I decided that I would write a blog entry each week and I don’t think I have the mental capacity to write about anything life affirming right now so I thought I’d share my Netflix pick of the month – Scream (the series!).
I first saw the film Scream when I was about 12 at my friend’s birthday sleepover. About 8 of us watched it, and I don’t want to spoiler anyone who hasn’t seen it (why haven’t you seen it?!) but the part where Drew Barrymore’s character is strung up in the tree with her guts hanging out was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen. So while everyone was screaming and running out of room, hiding behind their hands, I was LAUGHING. I think that’s the first time I’d seen gore (James Bond films don’t count) and it was GREAT.
Admittedly I haven’t watched any of the succeeding Scream films so when I saw the series pop up a few months ago I wasn’t immediately attracted. I don’t really like horror films. I love gore, but horror can sometimes really haunt me and I don’t like that bit. But I had recently watched all of American Horror Story and loved it, the same with Fear the Walking Dead and Hannibal so as it started to pop up more and more, I mentally slid it onto my ‘watch soon’ list. It was actually my bff Stace who started watching it which then prompted me to start. I know, we’re about a year late to this party.
I don’t want to go too much into some of the gender dynamics, but I will just say that this show did not miss any opportunity to use classic stereotyping, I think that was done on purpose to really align itself into a non-serious, almost satyr state of horror. But seriously, slasher flicks are so redundant and unappealing because of these tired tropes. Predictably, the first to die were the beautiful popular bikini-clad girl, punished for liking sex, her boyfriend and the only person of colour (Riley =[). The rest of the series was also buried under tropes and head-nods to the slasher genre but the infusion of teen high school drama gave me something Pretty Little Liars never could. Disgusting deaths.
Anyway, the whole series is comprised of 10 episodes in which a high school student becomes the target of a ruthless stalker and killer. Her friends start dying around her; you’re left wandering if any of them will actually make it to the end of the series. They are all recognisable characters: the Survivor, there’s a Nerdy Sidekick who everyone thinks is the killer at first, the Sexually Frustrated Jock and my favourite, the Badass Princess. These people are friends, looking out and protecting each other but I have to say that they all REALLY know how to deal with trauma because they’re all still texting away, throwing painfully bate-worthy parties and NOT LOCKING ANY DOORS. As the deaths go on, they get more inventive and gore-fuelled. Tension predictably rises as three or four of the male characters are set up to your suspects. I love this part – the speculation – the suspense – OMG IT’S TOTALLY HIM ISN’T IT? (I yell at the screen.) But as it turns out, and THIS is a spoiler – The killer is a woman. There are many moments across the series that warn us of overlooking gender. The Outcast very early on says something along those lines and the Survivor dismisses her. The focus is so hot on the male characters – Tyler, Mr Branson, Kieran – that we don’t consider the women because WHY in a slasher film, would it be the woman?! If this is a nod to progressive horror makers and feminism then I’ll take it.
The Survivor becomes increasingly annoying as the series goes on, I don’t know why. I suppose I should be rooting for her but I honestly just want her to break down, to cry, to stop answering her damn phone and to stop being so PASSIVE. That’s it, I think she’s playing the role too passive. She might be trying to come across as strong and silent but the acting isn’t great if that’s the case. The moments of bravery in the Survivor conflict with her general character I think and this makes her hard to emphasise with. The Outcast does a much better job of being brooding and strong. The Nerdy Sidekick, despite witnessing the death of Riley via FaceTime seems to get over it pretty fast and even though is clearly the smartest of all of them, comes across as comical by the end which ruins his character development. The series tries to incorporate teen drama with the horror/slasher genre which in this case doesn’t pull it off without some serious scrapes. The plot doesn’t allow for much character development at all. The main romantic relationship doesn’t inspire much, it’s not very believable and their attraction definitely looks thrown together and could learn a thing or two from the Hanna-and-Tyler (PLL) way. The hour-long episodes are fast paced and there’s no real time to get to know these characters outside of their deaths.
The revelation at the end also seemed a bit weak, it wasn’t shocking to know who the killer was, which made it obvious that there was going to be another series. Which there is, yay! (20th April) I want to see more of the surviving characters and watch the plot thicken and spill in another direction. The Nerdy Sidekick says himself in an early episode that you have to care about these people and their stories so that when it comes to their bloody deaths, it hurts you.
On a scale of 1 – 10, I’d give it a 7/10. If you like a bit of trash teen drama and don’t mind blood, give it a go.