SCREAM QUEENS (Series Review) A resolutely original work and a delight of entertainment…

SYNOPSIS: As students return to university, concerns about access to a fraternity or a sorority are quickly overshadowed by the arrival of a mysterious killer as masked as he is bloodthirsty.

It’s raining ryan murphy in this autumn period. As soon as his last series, Dahmerlanded on Netflix, he stacks up again by teasing his new project, The Watcher, which is expected to arrive on the same platform in October. The omnipresence of the showrunner in the American television landscape is not new, however: since his first big success Nip/Tuck, finished in 2010, we were treated to no less than 15 series directed by this workhorse, for the best as for… the less best. His series Scream Queensreleased in 2015, just after the very enthusiastic receptions of the first seasons of Glee and American Horror Story, received, at the time, more mixed reviews from the public. A look back at a work that is too little appreciated at its fair value.

ryan murphy has always created highly referenced works, whether through real events, films or other audiovisual works. Nip/Tuck freely adapted real miscellaneous facts in certain episodes, Glee kept paying homage to musicals and pop culture, citing Game Of Thrones or even going so far as to parody Saw, American Horror Story constructs each of its anthologies with references to horror cinema, etc. We do not change the paradigm in Scream Queens and, from the first episode, we find ourselves faced with a mix between a parody of teen movies from the 90s and 2000s and cult horror films from the history of cinema, since Thesilenceofthelambs until PsychosisPassing by Hellraiser, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even Clockwork Orange. The reference to the saga Scream of Wes Craven is still in the lead, whether it is the presence in the casting ofEmma Roberts aka Jill Roberts in Scream 4, of the setting of the university of season 1 which evokes that of scream 2, or the killer in a Halloween costume. One could ask the question of the relevance of an eternal revisit of this horrific saga (already well referenced itself), after the Scary Movie and its eponymous television series adaptation by Jill Blotevogel, Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattiebut Murphy quickly send the reserves to waltz.

The showrunner is much better at exaggeration and satire than he is at first degree and drama and he finds a challenge worthy of him by situating his series between two genres already very marked by archetypal constructions, which he s whether script or characters. He casts Jamie Lee Curtis in a role of strong (and manipulative) woman as in A fish named Wanda Where True Lies by bringing the characterization of his character from Cathy Munsch to psychopathy and parodies her status as the final girl in the saga of Halloween by making her explicitly invincible and immortal. Emma Roberts also goes a notch higher than any mean girl role she has been able to take on and portrays the most deliciously unbearable of egocentric spoiled rotten little princesses, going as far as pure and hard sociopathy and offering us excellent replicas of narcissism or viper’s tongue that would pass the Regina George and others Dear Horowitz for little angels. Murphy also resumes Lea Michele in his team after Glee, to give her a completely exaggerated version of the role she previously held. The actress goes from being a pretty self-centered, quarterback-loving left-behind high school girl character to the creepy college pariah who bullies, without any form of shame or questioning, the popular people around her. . It is not the only one of his personal archetypes that ryan murphy revisit : Glenn Powell interprets a student literally named Chad, narcissistic to the last degree and completely stupid that evokes all the characters of quarterbacks from the showrunner’s filmography in one. Murphy even makes fun of the premise of the secretly murdering horror movie boyfriend character by making chad a kind of sexual degenerate who openly fantasizes about murder without anyone taking the time to seriously question it in such a context (no spoiler here, just one false lead among many others contained in the series). You must, of course, not be refractory to such character writing for the magic to work, but you can only admire a series that manages to get attached to such characters and to what all their replicas (or almost) hit the mark.

The series directed by ryan murphy have always had the great strength of writing dialogues where the second degree sparkles, and where the punchlines are particularly inspired. Here again, Scream Queens is no exception, even strikes the final blow. The series knows how to take advantage of its most comical and entertaining characters and does not hesitate to eclipse its more “ordinary” characters to leave them center stage. The Chanel what plays Emma Roberts is entitled to full monologues (sometimes even reaching several minutes) as scathing as they are hilarious. Moreover, it gradually takes on much more importance than Grace, initially the main character of the series, who allows you to discover the plot through her eyes as a newcomer to university, then who is relatively evacuated, once the much more original and charismatic secondary characters are well established. This trend is also confirmed in the second season where the group of friends of Chanel officially take over as the protagonists of the story. The new characters of this second season work rather well and effectively renew the whole, in particular that embodied by John Stamoswho portrays a handsome doctor (that reminds us of something…) a genius in his field, who keeps the terrible secret of having had a hand transplanted like no other…

Murphy takes the part of forcing the line of its references as well as its usual gimmicks to the point of the absurd and thus manages to end up with a resolutely original work which surprises even the spectator accustomed to this type of content. This quality becomes the great strength of Scream Queens which is located in a context where the meta can no longer serve as a shock argument as such. The series then opts for a mise en abyme of its intertextual content, using what is now expected when it comes to meta or the hackneyed springs of the genre to take the opposite view. It then becomes very difficult to anticipate the actions of the characters or the identity of the killer, as the series has fun thwarting the expectations of its protagonists and thereby of the viewer. Of course, the main interest of Scream Queens lies less in its investigative aspect than in the interactions between its various colorful characters, but this is not neglected for all that and offers a very honest and controlled evolution and outcome in the genre. We can certainly note a slightly less successful fusion between horrific plot and daily life of the characters in season 2 which sometimes suffers from a slightly more uneven rhythm than the first, but the attachment to the characters still helps to balance the feeling. .

Scream Queens is perhaps one of Ryan Murphy’s most die-hard series, but it is also the one that best brings together and illuminates the rest of his filmography thanks to this constant extremity. Where one could still sometimes wonder where the second degree began and where it stopped in his works with a more dramatic vocation, as in Glee Where American Horror Story : Murder House, Scream Queens makes the intentions of Murphy as to the recurring themes of his filmography. We are witnessing a game of massacre in a bourgeois and elitist milieu which rejects all that does not resemble it with a satire which lends itself much better to dealing with a situation forced to “live together” than the ultimately very liberal multicultural smoothing with morals » Y’all are minorities, you’re in the glee club ” that Glee was operating at the time of its release. Similarly, the staging of a very random crisis management on the part of the management of the university (and the hospital in season 2) and which becomes more and more chaotic as ‘She gets publicized noticeably evokes past events since the release of the series. We also observe the consequences of this permanent climate of fear and the excesses that this can cause, from the propagation of unfounded rumours, to a search for withdrawal into the spiritual, often very risky. We are also witnessing a division in the ranks of the victims of the situation, who all want to get out of it, but above all, want the solution chosen to be the one that suits them the most, even if it means sometimes making the general situation worse by pure selfishness. Beneath its air of pure light comedy, Scream Queens is sometimes surprisingly relevant, and all the more corrosive. Scream Queens is an entertainment treat because ryan murphy understood that one can only effectively parody what one knows well and for which one has a particular tenderness. The love of teen movie and horror can be felt so sincerely behind the show’s caustic veneer that it’s a must-watch for fans of both genres.

Credits: FOX

SCREAM QUEENS (Series Review) A resolutely original work and a delight of entertainment…