After falling to generate much plot momentum for a few episodes, MTV’s Scream continues Happy Birthday to Me’s trend of quality with an episode that will change Lakewood forever in Dawn of the Dead.
The following review of Dawn of the Dead contains some spoilers. Id probably watch the episode before you dial in for the review. Enjoy Screamers.
When MTV’s Scream started its second season, after a stunning and surprisingly great premiere year, the sophomore season was a huge disappointment. After a highly effective opener in I Know What You Did Last Summer, we got two seriously stale outings out of Psycho and Vacancy.
You’re my favorite person in the world. But You’re Acting Weird.-Noah Foster
Then like wild waves in the heart of the Atlantic, Scream turned the tide with last week’s amazing Happy Birthday to Me. While the body count still wasn’t rising (something you need on a slasher series but doesn’t necessarily define a good narrative), the show again let the killer dictate the plot, and out of that, came a suspenseful good time that saw Emma be reincorporated back into the fold.
With Dawn of the Dead , the fifth episode of Scream’s Second Season and one whose title comes from George A. Romero’s immortal 1979 zombie classic, we gets mostly thrilling time that intelligently builds on the final moments from Happy Birthday to Me.
When stripped down to its essentials, what’s most effective about Dawn of the Dead is its insistence on plotting and less on mostly useless character moments. While the dialog isn’t completely mind-blowing, the plotting is fast and furious. Whereas some of the crappier Scream episodes this season focused on character and less on plot, such as the moments between Emma and her abusive drunk of a father, Dead is almost all plot.
Carlson Young as Brooke Maddox in MTV’s ‘Scream’- Courtesy of MTV
Also, because of the Dead’s adherence to plot, Scream slashes up the ante and extremely raises the stakes for the remainder of the Season; This is without a doubt the true turning of Season 2.
Moreover, Dawn of the Dead’s script is a solid export from Scream’s Second Season. Written by Heath Corson, Emma is more heavily involved in the plot (the killer) and with almost every core character also involved with the plot, the suspense behind the killer is vastly heightened. Characters know damaging information about other characters and one of the best relationships of Scream will never be the same again.
More from Horror on TV
- Recap and review of What We Do in the Shadows season 5 episode 9: A Weekend at Morrigan Manor
- 31 Days of Horror: Netflix’s Dear Child is a twisty turney German mystery thriller
- Recap and review of What We Do in the Shadows season 5 episode 8: The Roast
- Classic SpongeBob episodes to binge for Halloween
- Highlights and review of What We Do in the Shadows season 5 episode 7: Hybrid Creatures
The acting is also very serviceable and, due to the script being sharper and more plot heavy (getting rid of the many CW-inspired character scenes), we get some great work from the cast. Carlson Young, Bex Taylor-Klaus, and Anthony Ruivivar (who also co-stared on one of my favorite shows, Banshee, as Alex Longshadow) all stand out.
As for the direction, we get a few deliciously cinematic moments to chew on. While Dawn of the Dead, an episode directed by Oz Scott, is nowhere as accomplished as last week’s Birthday, Scream’s latest still boasts some scarily crisp shots.
The great direction includes, but isn’t limited to: A slow push in on Audrey (when Brooke is in the shower), nicely composed shot with Brook in the foreground and Audrey in the background, a stellar sideways push-in with Noah on the stairs (talking to Audrey), a ceiling shot when Emma is in the office, and the hyper realization shot when she emerges from said office is flipping fantastic and freaking works wonders.
So, how will the fallout from the Jake free fall effect the remaining “Lakewood Six”? Will the killer get any closer to exposing Audrey for what she’s done? Will Brooke deal with the Jake free fall without going crazy? You have to dial up MTV to find out.
Oz Scott’s Dawn of the Dead is further improvement on a season that was increasingly fumbling at every turn. While not as great as Happy Birthday to Me, Dead helps make Scream finally back to being worth your time; excitement for Season 2 has never been higher. Take care Screamers.
THE GRADE: B+
Check out a preview of next week’s episode, Jeepers Creepers, courtesy of MTV:
Love Scream? Think the series does the film franchise justice? Did or didn’t like what Dawn of the Dead had to offer? Let’s all dial that number and join the conversation in the comment section below.