Can MTV’s ‘Scream’ Live Up to the Movie?

MTV is bringing Scream back to screen. The network dropped the first trailer for its upcoming horror-themed series at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night, and from the looks of it, viewers can expect as much blood, gore, and scares as the original cult favorite film it’s based on.

The Scream franchise, directed by Wes Craven and starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, kicked off in 1996. The hugely successful movie spawned a bunch of sequels, the most recent of which hit theaters in 2011 and featured Emma Roberts. This marks the first time that the long-running horror series (penned by Kevin Williamson) has been brought to television.

MTV’s new iteration of the story follows the events that occur in the town of Lakewood after a cyberbullying incident becomes the catalyst for a brutal murder. The violent death opens a window into the town’s troubled past, stirring up memories of another killing spree that previously took place and continues to haunt some of its residents. The viral video that led to the death also causes problems for a group of teens, all of whom soon become targets of a new killer who is out for blood.

The series features a young ensemble cast. Willa Fitzgerald stars as Emma Duvall, a classic beauty whose looks and popularity hide a natural shyness and intellectual nature. Her new life with the “in crowd” leaves her estranged from her childhood best friend, Audrey, played by Bex Taylor-Klaus. John Karna plays Noah Foster, Audrey’s closest confidant, while Tracy Middendorf portrays Emma’s mom, Maggie. Carlson Young, Connor Weil, and Bobby Campo co-star. Actress Bella Thorne also makes a notable guest appearance in the pilot episode, part of which is featured in the newly released trailer.

The clip kicks off with Thorne, who is reportedly taking over Drew Barrymore’s role from the original film series, receiving a strange text that reads “Heads up.” Minutes later, everything goes dark and something is thrown into the hot tub beside her. When the lights turn back on, Thorne leans over to see — you guessed it — a bloody head. And so, the body count begins.

Fans of Scream will see traces of the original movie in the trailer, with the latter also featuring similar meta-commentary that pokes fun at the conventions of the horror genre. “You can’t do a slasher movie as a TV series,” a character says within the first 15 seconds of the clip. “Slasher movies burn bright and fast.”

But though the series retains the film’s self-referential, mocking tone, audiences are already pointing out some noteworthy differences between the two projects. In order to bring Scream into the present day, the characters, like Thorne’s, receive ominous text messages instead of threatening phone calls – which is, yes, technologically accurate, but also arguably way less scary. More significantly, though, there’s no sign of the infamous Scream mask worn by the killer in the original franchise, at least in this particular clip. While it remains unclear if it will eventually make an appearance, the clip already has some wondering if the show can really be Scream without its signature prop.

Whether the series can measure up to the original movie remains to be seen, but the franchise’s longtime fans may be happy to know Craven is involved in the project as an executive producer. Harvey and Bob Weinstein will also executive producer alongside Jill Blotevogel (Ravenswood) and Jaime Paglia (Arrow), both of whom are serving as showrunners.

Scream will premiere on MTV on June 30.

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