Most fans know by now that Scary Movie was the original title for Scream, which provides the main target for this parody.
Most fans also know, I hope, that Scary Movie isn’t all that good. Oh, it’s certainly not the worst (that would be Scary Movie 2) but it’s a horror comedy superceded by movies like Student Bodies, Bloodbath At The House Of Death (reviewed in this blog just last week) and even Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The Thirteenth, in my view.
The plot? Well, it’s essentially the plot of Scream mixed with a liberal sprinkling of moments from I Know What You Did Last Summer. And a Budweiser advert. And the obligatory, for the time anyway, Matrix gag.
The cast is a real mixed bag. Anna Faris is quite a delight and a wonderful, natural comic talent. I also really like Regina Hall even though her character is often annoying as hell. Jon Abrahams? He’s not bad but not all that great either. Cheri Oteri is pretty funny as Gail Hailstorm. Then we have two of the Wayans brothers. Marlon Wayans is, quite possibly, THE most irritating character to be included in a comedy movie ever while Shawn Wayans wrings a few more laughs out of numerous jokes questioning his character’s sexuality. Kurt Fuller gets some decent moments but the rest of the material is very much hit or miss.
The direction by Keenen Ivory Wayans simply allows for the parade of obvious gags and hammers home everything for fear of leaving any of the material seeming too subtle.
It’s no surprise to see the Wayans brothers names in the script department either but, more tellingly, the big warning lights should start flashing when you see the names Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Never mind the numerous comments about Michael Bay being the so-called antichrist or The Asylum being responsible for the very worst in movie entertainment, Friedberg and Seltzer between them tried to kill off comedy movies with their lame attempts at humour and this is where it all started. Well, the two first worked together on Spy Hard, but that had a title song by Weird Al Yankovic and was actually decent in places so let’s give that one a pass.
Despite the many things going against it (the irritating characters, the unfunny cast members, Friedberg and Seltzer), Scary Movie has just enough going FOR it to still make it a mildly amusing spoof. Faris is the biggest bonus but there’s also the simple fact that the riff on the most famous Scream sequences ARE pretty funny. So it gets by. Just.