Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Cast: Anna Faris, Shawn Wayans, Regina Hall, Marlon Wayans, Jon Abrahams, Shannon Elizabeth, Lochlyn Munro, David Sheridan, Cheri Oteri, Carmen Electra
Plot: Six teenagers find themselves being stalked by a serial killer after committing a horrible crime a year ago.
This one is scary for all the wrong reasons.
The Wayans brothers are famous for their movie parodies. Their films often drag more famous movies, kicking and screaming, into their clutches, so they can be picked apart and ridiculed. It all started here with the Wayans diving into the easiest to joke about of all the movie genres: horror. Ironically, their main victim is Scream, meaning that a lot of the jokes don’t even work, because they are joking about how certain scenes symbolise everything wrong with a horror movie, without realising that that was precisely the point with the original movie. The movie takes jokes already told by Scream and just pushes them further, hammering home their punchlines with absolutely no attempt at subtlety. The other victim is We Know What You Did Last Summer, although those references feel like a ploy to stretch the plot out a little more. It is important to note that these two horror movies are the ones that feature beautiful teens going through their high school years, suggesting that the Wayans were drawn to this for the easy-to-make sex jokes. The impression is that the writers want to cash in on that sub-genre of horror in an amusing way, but have no idea how to go about it. They stick so closely to the original story, with their own jokes thrown in, that any sense of originality is shoe-horned away. Maybe this is less a movie about everything wrong with horror, but about everything wrong with comedy.
The jokes are just embarrassingly bad. Few among the endless thousands actually earn a smile on your face, either by the fact the bar for quality has been set painfully low, or because the writers, statistically have to land a win at some point in the entire script. Take for instance, one of the smallest jokes in the entire movie. The phone rings and Anna Faris’s Cindy screams. The camera zooms in close to her face, a cheesy old-fashioned horror movie trick, and gets so close, it smacks the actress on the face. It is unexpected, finds a joke out of an often over-looked cliché and works. However, the moment that laugh is over, we have moved on to another lead balloon and you instantly forget that you just enjoyed yourself for a heartbeat. It is also frustrating, when the Wayans get hold of a relatively good joke and just fumble it away. Shawn Wayans plays the alpha male of the group, but one so lost in his masculinity that it soon becomes clear he is just a horny gay dude, who hasn’t quite realised it yet. It was funny the first time, and admittedly for the next handful of jokes, but soon it becomes apparent that every word that comes out of this character’s mouth will be dedicated to telling the same gay joke. Every joke he tells you have figured out long before he even says it, taking away the unpredictable, shocking edge Scary Movie is going for. Other running gags just get embarrassing. Surely, Carmen Electra and Shannon Elizabeth got a little red in the face, when they realised that the writers are basically just shouting ‘SLUT’ at them for the entire running time. Elizabeth, for one, definitely deserves better. The only one who escapes with a shred of integrity is Anna Faris, and even she hasn’t quite nailed her talent at standing above the poor material in this first outing for Scary Movie.
Final Verdict: All of those terrible parody movies, titled ………… Movie, started here, and the original is just as gut-wrenchingly bad as the sequels.