How delicious was the Scream premiere? Campy, meta, just the right amount of scary and featuring an entirely new mystery, the opener set itself apart from the original while drawing clear inspiration from it. Our heroine, Emma, is just as connected to the dark past of her town as Neve Campbell was in the original, and the opening scene featured a beautiful blonde and her boyfriend being unceremoniously offed by the killer. The similarities didn’t stop there. Additionally, there is Will, the not quite boyfriend of the lead, who is a direct mirror to the original movie’s killer, a horror-movie obsessed nerd with longings to join the in crowd and an oblivious best friend (Brooke) for Emma, who will likely end up on the chopping block sooner rather than later.
After one episode, I already feel like I have a decent handle on who these characters are and on who the killer could be. My theories are based on the character’s motives, the movie, the series’ desire to subvert the movie and some good old-fashioned speculation. After all, the original Scream broke the ultimate horror movie rule by having one of its two killers have no motive at all, so logic may not come into play in this universe.
These are the characters currently at the top of my suspect list:
Ah, the scary movie-loving nerd with the (supposed) heart of gold. Noah is obsessed with the mystery behind Brandon James, the serial killer who suffered from Proteus syndrome (the disfiguring condition of the “Elephant Man,” Joseph Merrick). In the final moments of the episode, Noah pulled back his bangs to reveal a jagged scar indicating some sort of surgery. Perhaps he was born with the disease as well, and that is why he feels so much sympathy for Brandon.
Motive: The first victim, Nina, posted a viral video of Noah’s best friend Audrey and her girlfriend. Noah asserted he would do anything for Audrey. He would also be a subversive choice since the movie went out of its way to try to convince the audience the movie nerd was the killer, only to reveal he was a completely normal guy. Add in the scar, and much as I love Noah, he lands at the top of my list.
Emma’s boyfriend Will is on the verge of snapping. He is already worried about being implicated in Nina’s death because he was sleeping with her on the sly. He also really wants to get a scholarship and move out of town, and murdering someone and torturing Emma is not the way to do it.
Motive: The kid has some anger management issues. Could he possibly be connected to Brandon somehow? Unless there is some connection there, he’s shady, but murdering two people and stalking a third is not the best way to get out of a small town. I think his behavior is a red herring.
Kieran Wilcox/Sheriff Hudson
Never trust the new guy. So far, Kieran seems like a sweet enough guy, but he’s the son of the sheriff and he has a fascination with Gothic horror. He immediately buddied up with Emma, almost as if he knew her already. If a guy seems too good to be true, he often is.
That goes double for his father, who is carrying a torch for Emma’s mom. He has access to their house and an intimate connection to their past. He hasn’t had a lot of screen time yet, but Hudson is definitely a suspect.
Motive: Kieran’s connection to the sheriff who is dating Emma’s mother makes the whole family suspect. His father was around when Emma’s mom was still known as Daisy (remember, only her family called her Daisy). Maybe the father/son duo is in on this together.
If the killer is Audrey, I will riot. However, thanks to the video, she had every reason to want Nina dead. She films everything, and she’s Emma’s former best friend. She also has a photo of Brandon in her room. One more thing: Audrey is played by Bex Taylor-Klaus (The Killing, Arrow), far and away the most experienced and nuanced actor on the show. If anyone could make us fall for a character and then have them turn out to be the bad guy, it would be Taylor-Klaus.
Motive: I think I covered everything above, but her anti-motive is that she doesn’t feel like a killer. If anything, she’s a protector. I’m keeping her in the long-shot pile for now.
Ah, the English teacher who is busy teaching Gothic horror and sleeping with his students. His affair with Brooke definitely puts him on the skeevy side of the fence, but is he a murderer?
Motive: If he’s sleeping with one student, chances are he has slept with others. He also has plenty of literary crimes to draw inspiration from. Curiously, there seemed to be someone in the garage with Brooke during the party, and this was after Mr. Branson tried to end their dalliance.
Will’s best friend and partner in crime, Jake, has files on his computer featuring Nina. He’s also just super creepy.
Motive: I don’t think Jake needs a motive. He has footage of Nina on his computer. He behaves somewhat manically and seems unaffected by Nina’s death to the point where he gleefully watches footage of her undressing. The kid is not all right, is what I’m saying.
Sweet Riley is the last person the show would want us to expect. She appeared to be generally moved by Nina’s death, and she instantly fell for outsider Noah. Also, she is super tiny, making it hard to believe she could behead someone on her own.
Motive: What drew Riley to Noah? His talk of Brandon and murder-movie tropes. She’s also much smarter than she lets on. Riley may not be the person behind the mask, but it would be a killer twist if she was the mastermind behind the killings.