After two sub-par episodes, MTV’s ‘Scream’ finally slashes its was back to form with an episode that pushed the plot forward more and adheres to character through the plot.
The following review of Happy Birthday to Me contains some spoilers. Don’t read if you want to go in fresh, but you should be fine to check out the review before you dial up MTV for Scream’s latest. Enjoy Screamers.
Finally Scream, you’re giving the masses what they’ve come expect-what they deserve. Finally you’re living up to your Season 1 prowess.
If What I Saw Last Night in the woods Was real, there is a new killer out there, and all of that is happening again-Emma Duval
When Scream’s second season started, it came out swinging, with knife in hand, and delivered an excellent opener in I Know What You Did Last Summer. Then the slasher series, a show loosely inspired by Kevin Williamson’s iconic script Scream, gave us two episodes in Psycho and Vacancy that were, how do I put this nicely, complete and utter crap.
With Happy Birthday to Me, named after the splattertastic 1981 slasher, Scream gets back on track with a tense outing that will satisfy even the most critical of followers. This is high quality stuff Screamers and I loved every minute of it.
Written by Brian Sieve, Happy Birthday to Me does so many things right that the previous two episodes did wrong. Where as the last two episodes fumbled worse than an NFL running back with motor oil on his gloves, Scream’s latest is a Hail Mary pass straight to the end zone.
For starters, Happy Birthday to Me is a plot based entry of Scream. Not only is Emma fully back into the plot, but the series is now allowing the killer to heavily dictate the plot-which is the only way to truly make a show like this work.
Emma now has a huge suspicion that there’s a new killer on the loose, and more than that, the killer now seems to fully care that Emma is even around. This leads a satisfyingly focused hour of MTV’ Scream.
Also, the show is not patronizing the audience with the Jake fiasco like the previous two outings. It’s entirely idiotic to assume no one, other than Brooke, realizes Jake is no longer around.
While the show does imply that the cover of his parents being in Mexico is enough to assume Jake is along for the trip, that fact that no one really mentions it is too fishy to take the characters as real human beings. Happy Birthday to Me certainly changes that.
Carlson Young as Brooke Maddox in ‘Scream: The TV Series’- Courtesy of MTV
Moreover, Scream’s latest is fun, fast, and energetically fantastic with the gang throwing a party for Kieran and all hell breaking loose. Not only is it interesting to watch, but through the situation that surprisingly ensues (one that I won’t ruin) it’s awesome to see the remaining “Lakewood Six” try to navigate the terrain .
Lastly, the ending will have your jaws on the floor, and after the shocking reveal, you will be counting down the days until next week’s episode. It’s gory greatness at its finest, involves a nod to a classic horror film, and pushes the plot into hyper drive.
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As for the direction, Happy Birthday to Me is not only the best directed episode of Scream’s second season, but the most impressively filmed outing of the entire series thus far. I mean this intelligently crafted film making Fright Fans.
Directed by Daniel Stamm, Happy Birthday to Me features so much amazing direction it was hard to keep up and pick the best shots. Much like picking the best month of Summer, shots come at you at the speed of a formula one car.
The great direction of Happy Birthday to Me includes, but is extremely not limited to: a great establishing (kinda) shot of Audrey waking up. Pull-down ceiling shot when Audrey is thumbing through the IPad, an amazing realization shot after Audrey is done with said IPad, the shot when Kieran leaves school after talking with Emma with Emma jumping into Kieran’s cousin’s car (this is done in one shot), shot where Emma enters the party and the camera swoops, and even the classic Alfred Hitchcock shot featuring Brooke (with the background moving further as the principle stays the same). That’s right, Happy Birthday to Me had a freaking Hitchcock shot. True fans of film making will eat this stuff up and beg for seconds.
As for the acting, everyone seems to be a notch or two higher than the previously two few outings. Not only do more actors get on screen, the performers don’t over stay their welcome by being involved heavily in the plot. While every performer is bringing it, Willa Fitzgerald and Bex Taylor-Klaus stand out.
So, will Emma get closer to finding out the new killer’s identity? Will Audrey finally be revealed to be Piper’s accomplice? Will the truth about Jake be uncovered? You have to grab that voice changer and call up MTV to find out Screamers.
Daniel Stamm‘s Happy Birthday to Me is a magnificently directed episode of MTV’s Scream. It’s a sharply written episode of horror television which pushes the plot further in intense ways and truly sets up the rest of Scream’s second season. Happy Birthday to Me is sure to please every fan of Scream and have then slashing for more.
THE GRADE: A
Check out a preview of next week’s episode, Dawn of the Dead, courtesy of MTV:
Love Scream? Think the series does the film franchise justice? Did or didn’t like what Happy Birthday to Me had to offer? Let’s all dial that number and join the conversation in the comment section below.