Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Stars: Carmen Electra, Dave Sheridan, Frank B. Moore
Release Company: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R
I’m stumped on whether to recommend Scary Movie or not. It depends on a number of factors. The main pre-requisite for being able to enjoy this spoof is Scream. Don’t even try watching this if you haven’t seen it. You should also have a general knowledge of teenage slasher flicks to understand the humor. Other specific films vital to appreciating this spoof include: I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch Project, and The Matrix. There are also passing references to The Sixth Sense, The Exorcist, and even a small one to the classic Psycho. If you haven’t seen these films, read no further and don’t even think about watching the film.
Scary Movie isn’t ambitious. It only seeks mindless fun and entertainment, and it succeeds at that level a good deal of the time. The only film I’ve seen that parallels Scary Movie is Airplane!, which broke new ground when it emerged to poke fun of the various Airplane movies and disaster movies in general. Scary Movie is not in the same class because it relies even more on sophomoric bathroom and sexual humor than does its predecessor. That means that it should play quite well to the crowds of teens who pack the summer theaters.
Did I laugh? Yes, I did in places.
The biggest laugh I had was in the beginning when Carmen Electra (playing Drew – get it?) tells the creepy phone caller that Kazaam is her favorite scary movie. When questioned, she calmly makes a statement that caused me to howl a bit. I did chuckle at the whole spoof setup of Scream, as the film mimics its beginning perfectly. There’s some excellent sight gags here as the short lived Drew runs into two traffic warning signs with one leading to safety and the other to death, and there’s a clever moment that plays upon her made-for modeling appearance. And need I mention that all the teenagers are deliberately played by actors in their 20s?
For film sophisticates who may be puzzled that there are actually some Psycho references in this lightweight film, they are subtle and are barely audible in a couple of lines that parallel the classic screenplay. One has to do the person who is “buried in Lakeword Cemetery” and there’s another place where one character states that “we all go a little crazy sometimes.”
While Scary Movie primarily pokes fun of Scream and the whole gory teen slasher genre, it also spoofs Keenen Ivory Wayans and his typical material. The film is directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, is co-written by Shawn and Marlon Wayans (and others), and stars all the Wayans. This gives the Wayans a chance to spoof Keenen’s brand of humor, so we see them doing the obligatory drug, homophobic, and stereotypical black scenes.
There is also a funny scene with Brenda (Regina Hall) playing an obnoxious movie theater patron that everyone in the theater would like to kill. She talks loudly on her cell phone about “Brad Pitt’s former girlfriend” and screams “That ain’t no man” during Shakespeare in Love.
The plot, well actually … we don’t need no stinkin’ plot! The plot basically parallels Scream, which was originally called Scary Movie. The original working title for this spoof was Scream If You Know What I Did Last Halloween. It must have been too long for the marquees.
Scary Movie consists of a series of spoofs and gags. Some will work and make you laugh, while others will remind you of a recent Saturday Night Live skit that failed. There are a lot of jokes that deal with really basic scatological matters and bodily fluids that ooze or shoot from various human orifices that I could have done without, but I’m sure that there are teens who will lap that stuff up.
The tagline “No mercy. No shame. No sequel” turned out to be bogus. Hollywood is a business, and decent box office receipts guaranteed further sequels. The original does succeed in keeping it audience entertained, even when grossing them out in spots. If you have seen various teen slasher movies, including the original Scream, and if you enjoy lightweight spoofs, go ahead check out the DVD. If you don’t, forget about it.