The biggest problem with new MTV horror series “Scream” is that adults are involved at all — otherwise, the horror romp rejoices in its teen terror.
Based on the ’90s film series that starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, the not-music television network adapts the Ghostface-killer concept for a millennial demographic with cyber-bullying, bi-curious controversy and a more self-serious attitude than the Wes Craven original.
Poor Emma (Willa Fitzgerald), the good-girl with a guilty conscience — she bleats convincingly when her old friend Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) is the subject of school slut Nina’s (Bella Thorne) public humiliation trials. A girl-on-girl makeout session posted to YouTube should’ve done the trick, but relaxed Audrey won’t take the bait.
Not that it matters anyway, because by the time the controversy hits the fan, Nina’s been offed by a mysterious serial killer. Audrey’s sexual proclivities — true to millennials’ general indifference about such matters — take a back seat to the why and the wherefore of Nina’s bloody end.
Where’s her boyfriend Tyler (Anthony Rogers)? He’s a suspect, though it’s clear to viewers that the MIA pretty boy isn’t the culprit.
Speaking of pretty boys, the cast here is a best-of look-alike rehash of ’90s and aughts teen heartthrobs: smart guy serial killer expert Noah (John Karna) is the goofus-hottie Topher Grace of the bunch, Tom Maden as Jake evokes young Matt Dillon, Bobby Campo is the teacher with a Harry Connick Jr. vibe who tastes forbidden fruit, while Amadeus Serafini as Kieran has the smoldering quality of River Phoenix.
(“Thanks, MTV!” say viewers everywhere.)
The powerhouse performances here are with the ladies, however: Fitzgerald’s dimpled angst as the object of the serial killer’s obsession, Taylor-Klaus as the level-headed misfit, Carlson Young as the slut-upstart who seduces her teacher, and Thorne filling the Drew Barrymore role from the original “Scream” film.
Luxe environments mixed with bitchy teen entitlement and karmic vengeance drive “Scream” beyond its slasher-exploitation film genesis to a stylish metaphor about a new generation’s excesses and mean-girl cruelty.
“Scream” premieres on MTV on Tuesday, June 30 at 10/9C.