‘Scream’ S2: E12 ‘When a Stranger Calls’ Review

Photo Credit: MTV

Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) and Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) find themselves on the run after being framed for all the murders in Lakewood last week. The friends have to face off against the real killer, and boy are they in for a surprise.


**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S2E12 of Scream. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.


The Good

The opening homage to Scream 2. I know I’m not the only one who had flashbacks to Scream 2 when Emma and Audrey found their police escort compromised by the killer. Of course, in this case, the girls didn’t have a protective detail, but were instead suspects. The killer manages to make sure the police officer crashes his car, then unceremoniously kills him while Emma and Audrey are trapped in the back seat. It’s unsettling and grabs you right from the start of the episode. You know the finale is going to be intense.

The Scooby gang arms up. Emma and Audrey don’t spend much time on the run before they tell Kieran, Brooke, and Noah where they plan on making their stand against the killer. The group, holed up in the empty movie theater, arms themselves with whatever props on display are real, plus the dead cop’s gun. They’re ready and willing to bring about the end of the killer and goad them into coming for them. It’s one of those moments in the show where you actually think this group of teenagers has it figured out and can handle it as long as they stick together, but then, they start making those classic slasher movie mistakes. (Side note: How great is it that even after losing her boyfriend and her father, Brooke still trusts Emma and Audrey, despite the evidence she's presented with?)


Classic slasher movie final act. The entire episode is like the final act of a slasher film. You’ve got the previous final girl in Emma trying to face the music, but the group of friends splitting up left and right, leaving more than one person in danger. There’s twist after twist that keeps you on the edge of your seat and it might just be the biggest nail biter of the season as a result. In fact...

Kieran and Eli give a nice nod to the original film. The big reveal finds Emma torn between Eli and Kieran, unsure which one of them is the killer. It’s very much like the original movie as Sidney isn’t sure which one of her friends she can trust, ultimately deciding to lock them both outside. Of course, here, Kieran ends up shooting his cousin coldly while Emma realizes the truth about everything that’s happened to her and her friends.

When a Stranger Calls. The movie, remade with Camilla Belle in the lead, was originally a 1979 movie where a killer terrorized a baby-sitter with repeated calls to her. After thinking she was free of him, he returned seven years later. Of course, the big reveal from this particular movie is that the calls that terrorized her were coming from inside of the house. She was being targeted by someone on the inside. It’s not exactly the same story, but the episode title draws its inspiration from that idea of trust being shattered and space being invaded. The movie is even what’s listed on the marquee when the friends make their stand in the theater.

That teaser. As Kieran finds himself in prison with a phone call, all the person on the other end asks is “who told you you could wear my mask?” It’s a great setup for a season three. I’ve been waiting for Brandon James to make a reappearance and if we know going into season three that he’s the killer, it definitely would make for a new take on the series.



The Bad

Emma and Audrey aren’t on the run for long. I realize the episode is only an hour long, but if it were me, I would probably have had them on the run at some point in last week’s episode to up the tension. They were reunited with the rest of the Lakewood Five (RIP Jake) before the episode was even half over.


The Killer Reveal

Kieran being the killer will likely placate the viewers in the first season who found him a little creepy and the perfect suspect. It feels a little anticlimactic to me only because out of the Lakewood Six, Brooke would have been the more interesting killer. Considering Kieran has been a suspect during the entire run of the show, and he’s the only one of the core group to not end up in the hospital with an injury at any point, he seemed like an obvious pick that I wanted to set aside. But I did very much enjoy watching Amadeus Serafini get to play crazy instead of the always controlled Kieran the show has given us.


Grading the episode: Quite possibly my favorite episode of the season. The finale in season one remains my favorite of the series, but boy do these writers know how to close a chapter of the show. I love that all of the threads of the season are closed while there’s just one dangling piece given to the audience for a potential new season. I also have to give the show credit for not killing Emma, Audrey, or Brooke since I think the three of them make up the core of the show. A