Scream: 2-Part Halloween Special (Recap/Review)

Scream
MTV

If you were pleading for more of MTV’s Scream series, you’re in luck! MTV confirmed that the show will return for a third season but also provided us with a Halloween-themed two-parter that gave new direction for Scream. We begin nearly eight months after the conclusion of Season 2, where Kieran is sentenced the maximum sentencing for murdering roughly a dozen people with the help of Piper. Kieran is taken into the court holding cell while waiting for the press to leave; however, a killer in the Brandon James mask strikes and nearly twists the head off an officer and slices Kieran’s throat — before stabbing him once more. As an opening scene, we are already being granted more bloodshed for this Halloween-themed installment. We find out that Brooke is prepping to apply for NYU, Stavo and Noah have co-written a graphic novel on the Lakewood 6, Audrey has a girlfriend from the theatre and Emma has avoided deciding on her future or even college in general.

Beginning with enough time for the characters to have gone through change, it’s a great starting point for the series in reminding us that they are trying to move forward when their lives have been repeatedly in danger. When Brooke shares the news of Kieran’s murder, reporters begin to follow the selected survivors for comments. Noah and Stavo are given an opportunity to write another story after finding success, so they get an invitation to visit an island where a girl was said to have murdered her own family in a burlap mask with garden shears. They ask for the others to join them in an escape from the media, not disclosing the truth behind the trip. The group consists of Stavo and Noah, their editor Jeremy, Brooke, Emma, and Audrey (her girlfriend was unable to join them). By the time they realize why they are on the island, it’s too late, and they can only hope to enjoy the brief vacation from Lakewood to “Murder Island” and the Whitten legend.

As Noah and Stavo are informed on the history of the Whitten family (there was a hole in the tale that doesn’t explain how the young girl could have committed the murders), Emma and Audrey stop for Emma to look at potential tattoos. Emma admits to feeling like she’s labeled as the girlfriend of the killer, so this is her version at finding something expressive to feel like she has control. A young man notices, and Audrey plays into it by asking him to provide her with his own thoughts — leading him to suggest ‘Carpe Diem’. She declines for the moment, and the two briefly exchange names while lightly flirting, as they both leave seemingly happy. They come across him later, coincidentally, and she finds out he is the heir of the Whitten family after he invites her to go out on his boat together during their vacation. The two bond over being cast in the shadows of their family name, making Emma feel like someone could actually understand the rationale behind her persona.

Stavo, Noah and Jeremy track down the caretaker of Whitten property, a girl named Billie who enjoys flirting with Stavo and offers to talk all things Whitten with them later. That evening, they all meet for a bonfire, and Billie seems territorial over Alex when she hears about Emma’s possible date and proceeds to flirt with Stavo in front of Brooke before better detailing how Anna Whitten killed several family members. The story still doesn’t sit well with Noah, and the kickback is broken up after Jeremy tries to prank them, but Emma uses her new jujitsu skills to take him down with ease. Stavo offers to walk Billie home and passes up her flirtatious gestures but is killed by the time she enters her home by herself. (A nice cat-and-mouse scene from Scream.)

The next day, Stavo and Brooke feud about him going to New York (she resists him joining her), and he tries to apologize for his mannerisms towards the female caretaker. It isn’t a successful reconciliation, so he leaves with Audrey and Noah to get that tour of the property — finding a bloody scene and no sign of Billie anywhere. A storm seems to appear, and, after Jeremy’s stunt (and now disappearance, too), they aren’t allowed to leave. Emma is still on a date with Alex when the storm hits, and they share a kiss before he drops her off at the rental property. When Emma enters the dark home, the phone rings, and the voice of the Brandon James-masked killer tells her to look out the back porch. When she turns on a light, she sees the body of Billie, and he tells Emma she’ll never get away from him.

As the officer is headed to check on the Lakewood group, he finds a body in the middle of the road with major loss of flesh, and he’s attacked by the Whitten masked killer, who cuts his fingers off and slices him open with the shears. Like I mentioned before, the gore factor of Scream has hit a high, and it feels like they wanted to amp up the horror as best as they could. Brooke, Emma, Audrey, Noah and Stavo group up to talk about the best course of action while in disbelief they could be going through this — again. I enjoy their awareness of the situational horror they find themselves in, making you root for at least one of the survivors of the Lakewood murders. They are soon joined by Gina (a new character and Audrey’s girlfriend), who finds the head of the sheriff and claims to have arrived to surprise Audrey. She’s definitely in shock but hilariously addresses the more alarming deaths going on around them — yeah, I could say I’m enjoying Gina already. The only thing left to do for the group? Track down Alex and ask for help getting off the island.

With Alex now joining them, they get to the dock and discover his boat is missing — so they must go back to his mansion for safety. Brooke points out that it’s a major hindrance that they are cut off from the world (cell towers), and Audrey is more concerned that Jeremy is the killer because of his absence. (Jeremy is Noah and Stavo’s editor, in case you aren’t following.) Emma is generally worried that this is the same killer who murdered Kieran, who has proven to be resourceful thus far. Confused by the Kieran reference, Emma fills Alex in on her past, and he says he admires her for being a true survivor; at the same time, Audrey begins to question Gina’s arrival’s timing, and she becomes defensive for being suspected when she only tried to do something nice. Emma and Brooke try to talk about what teenage girls usually would (boys), but a panicked Jeremy hits the window in the midst of the storm, begging for them to let him in. They agree (but end up locking him in a room), while Noah and Stavo work on repairing a vehicle radio and Audrey searches for Gina. Emma and Alex take the time to flirt and tell stories, as Brooke enjoys wine and food, doing her own thing (Brooke is still as queen-like as always!).

When looking for her girlfriend, Audrey finds her phone with pictures of Audrey and Emma from the day before — so she confronts her, which is explained as her looking for them and being suspicious of being cheated on. Gina feels like Emma is her biggest priority, which is given weight when she leaves the conversation after Emma summons her to look at the blood smeared on her wall as a taunt from the killer. Noah and Stavo bicker about Noah having writer’s block because of guilt regarding telling the stories of the deceased (survivor’s guilt), but they stop when he finds a signal and calls for help. The others learn that Jeremy has escaped, and we see him coming across Gina (who runs away from him), and he’s stabbed by the killer when he finds some incriminating evidence — this time, we see who the killer is without the mask, and it’s revealed to be the supposed Alex Whitten. Sorry, Jeremy, but at least you gave us insight on the killer’s identity with your death.

With everything going on, Brooke realizes how much Stavo means to her and insists he comes to New York with her, finally moving past their life-path struggles. They are interrupted by Noah and Audrey, who all find photos that suggest the man murdered in the past had secrets. It leads them to find out that the same bookshelf the album was on is a secret pathway that eventually leads them to the quarters that Anna lived in, adding to the theory that she was innocent and the girl killed him after he murdered her entire family. When the others get to the end of the tunnel and into the room, they see Jeremy has been murdered and that the real Alex Whitten is someone entirely different — making them wonder who the man is who claims to be Alex and romancing Emma.

Emma is attacked by Alex (in the mask), and she uses her new skills to fend him off again, throwing some kickass survival tactics. He escapes and comes back without costume through another entry point when she accidentally finds the real body of Alex Whitten, cueing Emma in on who the real killer is. He admits he isn’t him, but he was overtaken by a media-influenced persona as a child who was locked in a room with his murdered parents for days. He wanted to be Emma’s savior and felt like, when he saw her on television, he could understand her pain — wanting to be with the girl who survived brutality. Emma (who will lure psychos for a long time, clearly) pretends to buy into the idea of running away together, getting info from him — like the fact that he didn’t kill Kieran — and attacks him to escape. The fight is taken to a balcony where she has a realization she doesn’t need to run from her identity. She’s her own hero. She’s Emma Duvall. She pushes him off, making one more killer who has fallen at her hands.

In the Halloween special’s closing moments, Audrey and Gina move past their doubts and agree to give it a shot romantically. While I still don’t care much for Audrey, Gina could be a great character inclusion for the third season. Brooke and Stavo agree to stay together, regardless of location, and Noah’s voiceover insists he has cured his survivor’s guilt by deciding to tell the stories of fallen friends. We also see Emma has begun to find herself and decided on her tattoo — her last name on her wrist to remind her of the fact that she’s a strong final girl who is capable of overcoming anything. In addition to that, Emma applies for Lakewood University, making another decision to give her direction in her future. The last two scenes show Emma’s father standing over Kieran’s grave (he killed him, perhaps?), as well as a man arriving to Lakewood and checking- in to a motel, referred to as a Mr. James. Is Brandon back for more horror? Or is his brother Troy ready to join in on the action? We’ll have to find out when Scream returns for Season 3 in 2017!

Overall Grade: 8.8/10

The horror in the two-part Halloween special showed a major increase in blood and gore, as well as actual deaths, making it a great addition the the series. This Halloween installment also teased the third season’s plot, creating more mystery around the Lakewood horror stories. Still not as much focus on Brooke as I would have liked, so hopefully they can utilize her in the third season as the final girl she truly is. Lastly, the character development and survivors’ struggles took center stage on multiple occasions, making it more understandable to root for our core cast through the traumas they face.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– I seriously can’t wait for the third season.

– The idea of a Halloween special worked rather well for the Scream series.

– If Brandon James is back, you can bet there will be much more to the story we haven’t been privy to.

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Scream: 02×12, When A Stranger Calls (Review/Recap)

scream
MTV

It’s Scream finale time horror fans!

After a season filled with death, mayhem and a plethora of suspicious characters, the second season is at its end and the killer is finally revealed – so let’s dive into the episode that provides a lot to discuss. When we begin, Audrey and Emma are taken by police but a car crash ensues (tribute to Scream 2) where the killer frees the girls and kills an officer to begin his unusual game. They finally find a gas station that appears to be in the middle of nowhere before the phone rings asking for Emma. She takes the phone while audrey checks windows to see his whereabouts, and the killer says if the two of them get caught he will kill someone they care about. Stavo stops by Brooke’s house (while there are officers watching over her thankfully) insisting that the suspicion around Emma and Audrey is valid. Not believing her friends are capable of murdering her father, she tells him to get out which leaves Brooke alone – similarly to how she usually feels.

Emma and Audrey sneak their way to Kieran’s house and he greets her with a hug and his concerns for her safety. They agree that they can meet more discreetly at a later time, but a snooping Eli enters just moments after the two “wanted” girls make their way out his window. A slight clash between the two occurs again with both of them trying to intimidate each other showing little trust for either cousin. Audrey comes up with the idea to hideout in the theatre she works at while it’s vacant, as Brooke goes to be with Noah at the hospital. When she arrives, she shows that she is struggling with the loss of her dad – saying he may not have been the best father but he was at least always there. Obviously it would be difficult to comfort someone going through what Brooke has dealt with, but he offers a slight reminder that they are all going through this horror together as a group (an undeniable bond between the Lakewood 5.) Emma manages to call Noah’s phone from a blocked number and checks in with him and Brooke, but tells them to wait it out. Noah and Brooke decide they have no interest in letting them face the killer alone so they make the choice to join their friends.

Kieran arrives first and lets them in, with all of them being reunited under not so positive circumstances. The three girls go to get Emma and Audrey  cleaned up but Brooke receives the next phone call – taunting her about her father’s demise. Emma takes the phone and tells the killer if he wants her or anyone else, to meet at the theatre and man (or woman) up. She offers everyone a chance to leave but they all are on the same page and are prepared to put an end to this new masked murderer. On one end, Brooke and Noah are guarding an entryway together while discussing the potential of this being the final showdown as if it were a horror film, and Emma and Audrey guard another with Kieran on his own. Noah tells Brooke that there could be another accomplice or to expect the unexpected as Stavo knocks on the glass doors. He shows texts from Brooke’s phone asking him to meet her but she claims to not have sent them in the first place. With Noah’s advice taken into consideration, she declines to let him in (like Kirby during Scream 4) but the focus shifts to sounds of screams coming from the theatre itself.

As they get to the same theatre, we see a video has been looped of all of the killer’s murders that strikes a nerve for Brooke and Noah having lost those closest to them. Kieran heads out to find a missing Audrey and Emma heads to the projection room to stop the real life horror film.Emma discovers a way to cut the power which makes the theatre dark – but as Brooke turns a light on, she finds the killer behind her as he stabs her and leaves her for dead. (Not Brooke!) Emma takes a few shots at the killer (missing) telling Noah to call the police with Emma pursuing the masked figure. She loses his trail and returns to see Kieran and Noah trying to keep Brooke conscious as she bleeds out. Kieran reminds her she must keep moving and even Brooke chimes in with little to no energy to say she should run while she can.

Brooke is rushed to the hospital in critical condition (Noah and Kieran tagged along) which causes Emma extreme guilt when calling Kieran for an update. Stavo is next to arrive to the hospital with eyes tearing up when he discovers she was seriously injured. His father sits with him (first interaction in a while) but Noah cuts it short by trying to clear Emma and Audrey’s name with the photo evidence against Eli from Will’s funeral. Emma gathers her thoughts and tries to determine her next move alone but the killer sends her proof that he/she has Audrey captive until Emma makes her way to the orphanage Piper was raised in to let the showdown commence. Emma decides to go, not wanting to risk putting Audrey in danger – the killer then calls her and seems unforgiving about Piper’s death, but the masked murderer appears and stabs Emma before she fires a few rounds to keep him at a distance (since her aim isn’t the greatest.)

Emma manages to find a room where Audrey is chained to a chair in the Brandon James costume and Kieran enters close behind. She asks why he’s even aware of it, so he tells her that Noah tracked their location via cellphone. Soon after, a bloody Eli walks in and warns Emma that he was stabbed by Kieran but he managed to survive and call the police to turn him in. Eli tries to convince her by saying the restraining order mentioned earlier in the season was because Kieran pinned his strange obsessions on his cousin to begin with. The scene is very close to the Scream 2 ending with Mickey and Mrs. Derek, adding extra tension and suspense like the films accomplished perfectly. He finally makes a move to stab Kieran until Emma fires the gun and shoots Eli assuming she killed him in defense of her boyfriend. Audrey regains consciousness right as they think the killer has been stopped but Kieran says they will feel safe again – something the killer similarly said earlier on the phone which cues Emma. She points out her observation and asks him to tell her it couldn’t be him, but Kieran goes from quiet and kind Kieran to twisted psycho showing he’s been putting on a facade the entire time. Yes folks, my long running season 1 theory proved to be accurate and Kieran wants some revenge.

With Audrey at gunpoint and Emma at knife point, he cops to aiding Piper with both wanting to seek vengeance on their absentee parents. The murder spree would have concluded with Emma dying, followed by Sheriff Hudson (for ditching his son for a drug addiction.) then Maggie for… well, multiple reasons when you think about it. They couldn’t stand seeing those two together which sparked their reason to work as partners, making many moments from season 1 feel even more elaborate than before. As Kieran goes to make a move, Audrey slides her chair into him and Emma escapes the room. He brings a shackled Audrey to keep Emma near, threatening to kill her if she left so she’s forced to wait for the right timing. After knocking a dresser into him, Audrey wraps her chain around his neck to keep him up against a post and vulnerable. Emma is given the chance to shoot him right then and there, but she chooses to let him face prison for his crimes instead – so Kieran is taken into custody for the mass murders (a nice surprise!) In the more final moments of the season, we are filled in by Noah through his podcast that three months has passed (and reminds us that he predicted an accomplice early on of course.) He talks about how shocked he and his friends were by a betrayal that will make it difficult to trust gain. As he speaks we see Brooke joining Stavo and his father for dinner (hooray for queen Brooke!) Ms. Lang is typing up her book on the murders after all and Emma and Audrey appear to be on a movie date – potential third season couple? We catch a brief glimpse of the note Maggie left for Brandon with a knife through it into the specific tree – with Eli being dead and the only person to see it, they must be referring to a Brandon James related comeback. The last scene is of Kieran in prison receiving a phone call said to be his lawyer. As he answers the phone, the disguised voice asks what he was doing wearing “his” mask. Is Brandon James back? Is it possibly Troy? So many questions still to be answered and after another strong season – we need a season 3 of Scream from MTV!

I’ll be back for more Scream coverage in October, farewell for now Scream Team!

Overall Grade: 9/10

The payout of a killer reveal is often one of the best parts of the Scream franchise so this major unmasking felt like a perfect way to shake things up. Despite having predicted the killer in the first season, it actually made sense to have Kieran working with Piper which is a very important indication of a successful reveal. Amadeus Serafini executed the role of the killer with ease, making it believable and eerily interesting how he portrayed both extremes from good to evil. The finale brought all of the major characters out into play and the only thing I would have enjoyed more would be if Brooke was able to help take down the killer – her whole life was turned upside down because of him and she has untapped potential. The Scream finale was certainly entertaining and fitting for the series, but we need more Scream in our lives so everyone cross your fingers for a renewal soon!

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

  • I’m proud of my killer snooping skills, but a few questions still remain… could there have been someone else aiding the two?
  • There will be a 2-part Halloween special (like a bonus two part season epilogue perhaps?) that will supposedly tie up loose ends. Based on set photos it looks like we’ll additionally be getting a few new characters so even more exciting things to come!
  • Brooke survived the season and I couldn’t be any happier! I’ve been worried about the sassy survivor for an entire season so I could finally breath a sigh of relief now that she’s still around. If we are blessed with that third season I hope to see her given a larger role in the overall narrative of Scream, because she continues to be the most interesting character.
  • I’ve thoroughly enjoyed recapping, reviewing and covering Scream for 2 seasons. For those of you who have been here for part of the ride, I hope we get to continue with a third season – but I’ll be back in October for the “Halloween Special.”

Scream: 02×11, Heavenly Creatures (Review/Recap)

Scream

We’re approaching the end of Scream season 2 and everyone has felt loss courtesy of the killer. This week begins with Noah being hospitalized for his wounds, still traumatized by the loss of the girl he began to love. The others hope to comfort him but the podcaster has concluded he’s done with his involvement and asks them to remove everything from his room, including the murder-board. While going through the items, a newspaper clipping reveals Eli was present at Will’s funeral which is enough to add extra red herring suspicion to him. Audrey finds a photo of Zoe and Noah, taking it to him to share information (which he declines to hear) but he does decide on making one final podcast in Zoe’s memory. Kieran, Emma and Audrey discuss the likelihood of Eli being the killer and Kieran decides to be the one to snoop for another lead.

Eli’s mother tells him they need to leave Lakewood before people find out about them, including the mayor who had been blackmailing her for her troubled past. Eli says he isn’t leaving and will take care of the mayor problem himself. At the Maddox household, he calls his daughter who had left after the Jake reveal but hears music blasting from her room. When he enters, we see it was a distraction as Eli finds things that could put the mayor in trouble too. Ms. Lang finally regains consciousness and Sheriff Acosta begins to question her about how her and Piper have a connection through the orphanage. She says that she was doing an informal case study on them and that Piper has nothing to do with her interests. The untrustworthy teacher tells the sheriff that Stavo’s death fascination is because of trying to understand his father while Emma seems genuinely obsessed with Piper (come on, really?)

Brooke finally decides to return home and face her father, telling Stavo to do the same – but he makes a stop at the hospital to persuade Noah from quitting what he does. To prove how much Noah influences people, Stavo sends him a comic he’s created where Noah seeks out answers and fearlessly faces the killer. At Kieran’s house, he waits for Eli and his mother to leave before showing Emma and Audrey an assortment of letters to Piper that suggests he knows more than he’s let on. The letters also include the pictures of Emma as a child, which means there is a definitive connection the James’ pig farm. Brooke’s father sees she has come home and while things are cold between them, we can tell that they still care because they are the only family they have left.

Noah conducts his memorial podcast for Zoe, changing his mind to keep it running as she would have wanted. He goes to upload the sweet recording, but as he tries his computer is hacked and another video uploads to The Morgue. As he opens the video, he sees someone created their own film with videos of the understanding and Audrey’s letters/Emma dream journal to make them seem like the killers. Everyone is able to see the video including Brooke who watches Jake’s death and Audrey’s role – and the video is looped for the entire town (and more) to see. Maggie interrupts the sheriff to say she heard from Kieran that Emma and Audrey are heading to the pig farm so a police unit heads out to meet them there. Emma and Audrey find the property so Emma decides to head inside while Audrey watches to make sure nobody else arrives. During Emma’s search of the farmhouse, she finds the secret room the sheriff noticed last time and enters (calling Audrey to join her.) They realize someone had definitely been living in the home, even finding Emma’s journal used for the video to implicate them. At the same time, Brooke’s father gets to the property and heads to the barn from text messages about the info against him. He searches the dark barn, hearing someone’s phone as he texts it but can’t find anyone around – until he gets a picture of the killer holding a pitchfork. When he turns around, the killer stabs him with it through the chest and leaves him to die. Emma wants to know why the mayor could be there, so her and Audrey head into the barn where they see him pull the pitchfork from his chest. The two arm themselves knowing the killer is around and try to stop the bleeding, but at that same time the police enter and discover a scene that doesn’t look to great for the two girls.

Audrey and Emma are both arrested by the sheriff, despite the two telling him the killer is nearby. Kieran arrives just as they are being taken away, but it’s too late – and the girls realize people will be pinning all of the murders on them. Only one episode remains folks, prepare yourselves for an unmasking you won’t want to miss…

Overall Grade: 8/10
This episode acted as a premise to the finale in many ways, giving us a lot to look forward to. I enjoy that all of the main characters are still in play and it makes the stakes feel especially high. Scream has found extreme success in creating drama, tension and mystery elements crucial to keeping the franchise alive.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-Kieran has been my front-runner in terms of who is the killer and Maggie would be my next major suspect after Zoe’s death and Noah’s stabbing.

-Brooke needs all the screen time possible, I keep hoping they will tap into her final girl potential even more.

-The mystery of Scream is a true nod to the films which deserves recognition.