20 years after the post-partum cover-up of a Kappa Kappy Tau sorority sister’s death, a killer dubbed the Red Devil begins cutting down students and everyone that gets in their way on their quest for the ultimate bloody revenge. Their main target, the sorority sisters of Kappa Kappa Tau.
The leader of this sorority is house president, Chanel Oberlin, played by Emma Roberts. A new cast favourite of creator Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Horror Story, since being part of the main ensemble for 2 consecutive seasons – Coven and Freak Show – Roberts was plucked from one universe and dropped into another. And it’s painfully obvious that the character of Chanel Oberlin is really just a prissy clone of Coven’s Madison Montgomery, just as spoilt, just as scheming, just as cruel and just as fucking annoying! The only real difference is that she has minions – Chanel #3 & 5.
I found #3 to be the most tolerable of the Chanels, thanks to Billie Lourd’s commitment to the hilariously apathetic character. She is Daria’s prettier, dumber, blonder twin. Abigail Breslin on the other hand is criminally miscast as Chanel #5. Breslin isn’t a whiny, helpless, shallow rich girl. She’s a tough cookie. She’s a leader, far better suited to Skylar Samuels’ final girl role as Grace Gardner. I would propose a switch, but if remaining a Chanel graduates Breslin to the second season, then at least there is still time to redeem and nurture her talent…if that’s even possible on a show like this…
I’m sorry to say that Niecy Nash didn’t pop up on my radar until she played the vivacious Regina in 2013’s Nurse 3D. Sorry because her turn here as hapless campus security guard Denise Hemphill is a constant breath of fresh air, a scene stealer in her own right. Her excessive need for exposition and recapping coupled with her unhealthy disposition is comedy gold. Jamie Lee Curtis just seems to be enjoying herself in her role as the formidable university Dean Munsch. And why not? She’s paid her dues. She is one of the original scream queens. She was the only thing that was bearable in Halloween: Resurrection (2002). And no one in their right mind takes a show like this seriously.
But what about the horror? Hmmm, that depends. Do you hate Arianna Grande? YouTube celebrities? Joe Jonas? Well, they are all here and like Paris Hilton in House of Wax (2005) you get to watch them all die. Sometimes more than once! Aside from that there’s not much blood. There’s no atmosphere. There’s no suspense. It won’t scare you. It won’t make you jump. But there are slashings, burnings, amputations, decapitations, stabbings and lawn-mower-ings??? Not a word? Oh well…
Screams Queens is described fairly by Emma Roberts herself as Mean Girls meets Friday the 13th. While there certainly is a lot of bone-dry humour and an eclectic array of murder weapons, it all wears rather thin when you find yourself unable to sympathise with the daily problems of spoiled rich girls. Their detachment from the real world can be funny, but they’re just not relatable or interesting. And Lea Michele was much creepier as the psycho choir girl from Glee. You may enjoy the show for what it is, but don’t expect a satisfactory pay-off.