Scary Movie

Scary Movie


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Scary Movie - the title is a reference to Kevin Williamson's original script title for Scream - takes a scattershot approach to the Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer franchises.

Its opening scene, a near shot-for-shot take off of the opening of Scream, neatly summarises the entire movie.

Copy picture

Drew - most of the characters names refer to Scream and I Know... related characters and actors - is home alone, making popcorn while she waits for her boyfriend to arrive. The phone rings. It's the ghostface killer, of course. He hears a popping noise. Except it's not the popcorn but Drew farting - the first of many such jokes. Soon, ghostface enters the house and chases Drew outside. Two signs read "safety" and "death". Naturally, Drew chooses the latter. Twice the killer almost catches her, reducing her to her underwear. Then the sprinkler turns on. Because Drew is played by Carmen Electra, formerly of Baywatch, she suddenly feels compelled to go into slow-motion and ghostface catches up. He stabs her in the breast, spearing her silicone implant on his knife...

The next day, Drew's friends at the BA Corpse High School realise that someone knows what they did last Halloween...

The humour, then, is a lowbrow combination of Mel Brooks or Abrahams-Zucker-Zucker style spoofery and sight gags, combined with post-Farrelly brothers grossness.

About the only thing the opening doesn't really tell you is that Scary Movie is also somewhat opportunistic in its targetting of films unconnected to the Williamson axis. The Sixth Sense and Blair Witch Project - very different interpretations of horror from the teen kill pics - both get the parodic treatment in a "they're popular" and "because we can" sort of way, along with the likes of The Matrix, American Pie, Amistad and Titanic, perhaps suggestive of a lack of focus from the Wayans Brothers' scriptwriting committee.

The one area where you'd have thought Scary Movie would deviate from the Scream formula - given its likely target audience and the presence of the likes of Carmen Electra and Shannon Elizabeth (the Czech exchange student Nadia in American Pie) in the cast - was in the T&A department. Yet, the movie is, like its models, surprisingly PG 13 as far as actual nudity is concerned. (But prosthetic genitalia is another matter entirely.)

This is, of course, the sort of film that doesn't really require much acting ability. Given this, the two stand outs are Anna Faris, who has the Neve Campbell/Jennifer Love Hewitt mannerisms down pat as Cindy (or, sometimes, Sidney) Campbell, and Dave Sheridan, who does some fine Jim Carrey-isms as retarded special Officer Doofy.

Although very hit and miss, Scary Movie is funny enough to be worthwhile. Looking at the history of horror spoofs perhaps that's all we could really expect: The brilliant Young Frankenstein had James Whale's superlative Frankenstein films to work with, while the awful Saturday The 14th had only the dismal slasher films of the Friday The 13th variety. Having middling quality films to spoof, Scary Movie is itself middling.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Scary Movie packshot
Horror spoof, based loosely on the Scream franchise.
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Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans

Writer: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer

Starring: Carmen Electra, Dave Sheridan, Shannon Elizabeth, Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Marlon Wayans, Jon Abrahams, Cheri Oteri, Shawn Wayans

Year: 2000

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


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