Dimension Films // 2000 // 88 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // October 25th, 2007
A killer comedy?
When it comes to parodies, some films show a lack of longevity the moment they're released. Take 2000's Scary Movie, for example. The film's main goal was to take merciless aim at the mindless-yet-moneymaking Scream franchise of the late 1990s. Although that franchise was already self-aware parody of the tiring slasher film, the Brothers Wayans -- Keenan, Shawn, Marlon -- determined they could still squeeze out some more laughter that might have been left behind among the half-empty popcorn cups and congealing nacho cheese. Somehow, they managed to squeeze out an additional $157 million from a weary idea that gave audiences of the day fits of laughter. Now, just seven years later, we find out what kind of shelf life the Wayans wackiness might have.
At B.A. Corpse High School, four upwardly mobile school kids are frightened when their friend Drew (Carmen Electra, Baywatch) is killed in a bizarre lawn sprinkler mishap -- or so it might seem. In truth, the four are fearful that the strange man they ran down and dumped off the dock might be coming back to exact revenge, although what that exact revenge might be isn't exactly clear to Cindy (Anna Faris, My Super Ex-Girlfriend), Bobby (Jon Abrahams, Scenes of the Crime), Brenda (Regina Hall, Ally McBeal), Ray (Shawn Wayans, White Chicks), and Greg (Lochlyn Munro, Daddy Day Camp). Wait, that's actually five friends, not four. Anyway, it'll be four soon enough. So this group of friends realizes they're being stalked by a killer that wears a garish white ghostface costume and seems to have an unlimited minutes plan for his mobile phone. Greg soon falls victim of the killer just after the gang sees a photo of his woefully tiny baby-dick. Then, Ray takes a bad turn in a bathroom stall glory hole. Brenda, meanwhile, is trying to talk some sense into her perpetually stoned brother, Shorty (Marlon Wayans, Norbit), who seems as if he'll party with anyone wearing a mask an brandishing a knife -- so long as they brought some bud to share. And poor Cindy struggles to make the police believe that a deranged killer who most certainly isn't her boyfriend, Bobby, a boy in anguish over the fact he has never actually been able to have sex with his impenetrably chaste love, is stalking her and her friends. Who will survive, what will be left of them, and if they save their ticket stub, can they ask for a refund?
Scary Movie was an unexpected hit upon its 2000 release because it touched a raw nerve with moviegoing teens who were tired of the trite tricks of Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, and all the others. Successfully clambering into a window of opportunity, Director Keenan Ivory Wayans parlayed his experience from In Living Color -- not to mention his brothers -- and captured lightning in a bottle of Colt '45. But, much like the maligned malt liquor, Scary Movie proved itself to be fun going down the first time but really just headache-inducing on the third or fourth hit. The Wayans film spawned a fast sequel but Keenan was keen to get out of town quickly thereafter, letting Dimension pictures farm out parts 3 and 4 to others. All of the films were relatively successful in parodying the horrors of their year but the joke hardly remains funny upon subsequent telling. While it does have a few chuckles left in it, Wayans' first outing now reveals itself to be just an outgrowth of his WB-TV days -- an extended skit that's funny the first night it airs but doesn't hold up well during reruns. And so the humor of Scary Movie is going to likely find limited appeal in this latest Blu-ray release, largely because it might be difficult to ensure viewers will be properly familiar with the Scream oeuvre. Sure, there's a bit of Blair Witch Project and I Know What You Did Last Summer thrown in yet, in this day of high-volume, high-turnover filmmaking, the films riffed on here seem downright ancient, especially since they lacked any competent staying power. As it stands, Scary Movie will now likely only appeal to the early teen crowd, they who are still straining to catch a first glimpse of breasts, pubic hair, or girl's P.E. coach, Mrs. Mann's, hangin' ballsack (?!).
So, testically...er...technically, this new Blu-ray is similarly just "OK." The 1080p / AVC encoded transfer is clean and smooth and has good coloring but lacks the sort of detail we've become accustomed to seeing (like Carmen Electra's protruding nipples in the cool night air). The source material is damage free but it's also rather comedy-free -- but, hey, that's just beating a dead horse now, isn't it? The audio comes in a clear and occasionally immersive PCM 5.1 Uncompressed mix that maintains clarity of all the best lines of the film (as well as all the worst ones). Extra features consist of six deleted scenes, a 7-minute "making of" featurette, and a theatrical trailer.
While it's the perfect season for a film like Scary Movie, the truth is this is a film whose time has come and gone. Sure, you'll get a half smirk or two out of it, but you'll likely find your twelve-year-old and his buddies will have a better time with it -- that is if you don't mind they giggling to a non-stop stream of sex and drug jokes plus some bare breasts and plenty of f-bombs. And, beware that Mrs. Mann's unnatural nards might likely cause confusion in youngster's pre-pubescent awareness.
You've been warned!
Review content copyright © 2007 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Dimension Films
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* PCM 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Making-of featurette
* Deleted scenes
* Theatrical trailer