July 7, 2000 -- "Scary Movie" is an attempt to out-spoof, horror film spoofs like "Scream," and while it falls short in the areas of wit and sophistication, there is plenty to laugh at and plenty to make the viewer cringe as well.
Comedies like "Dumb and Dumber," "Me, Myself and Irene," and others have lowered the bar for tasteless humor in movies. There seems to be no bottom to the depth to which moviemakers and audiences will descend for a laugh. Murder, suicide, racial epithets and stereotypes are fodder for laughs. Jokes at the expense of the obese and disabled, all sorts of sexual humor, bathroom humor and other crass and crude forms of humor are indiscriminately thrown in to "Scary Movie" as well.
This film is a spoof of the "Scream" movies and the "I Know What You Did Last Summer" movies, as well as "The Usual Suspects," "The Matrix," "The Blair Witch Project," and some other well-known films. There are countless references to other films, such as "The Exorcist," and a character from a well-known Warner Brothers television series aimed at teens shows up for a cameo appearance.
The movie takes the "Airplane" approach of throwing in as many jokes as possible while using the framework of "Scream" and "I Know What You Did ... " as the basic story line. The action takes place at B. A. Corpse High School where a lot of stupid guys and big-breasted women hang out, just waiting to be slaughtered.
The opening sequence has Carmen Electra playing the Drew Barrymore character, aptly named Drew Decker. Being chased by the killer, she stops in front of two signs, one points the way to safety, the other towards death. She picks death, naturally. After the killer rips her clothes off so the men in the audience can ogle her great-looking body, she pauses under the lawn sprinklers to strike a seductive pose before running again, spoofing the well-known linkage between sex and violence in the movies. This is typical of the humor in the film.
The movie certainly goes over the edge in places with a killer penis, a woman stuck to the ceiling by semen and a talking head that has been severed from its body by the killer. Another woman is killed in a movie theater during what must be many a moviegoer's fantasy. The winner of a high school beauty contest is "Miss Fellatio." As you can tell from this small sampling, there are plenty of gross, tasteless and mean-spirited jokes in this movie.
It's the sort of movie that you laugh at sometimes and feel ashamed of yourself for doing so. There are some clever bits in it here and there, but it is not nearly as clever or as witty as "Scream," or "Young Frankenstein," two of the top horror spoofs. Unlike "Scream," "Scary Movie" does not pretend to be scary. It is way too silly for that. Unlike "Young Frankenstein," it has no genuine nostalgia or respect for the genre it is lampooning, not that the horror genre really deserves any respect for the most part.
The creative team behind this movie are the Wayans brothers ("Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood"). Keenan Ivory Wayans is the director and his brothers, Shawn and Marlon, wrote the script. Marlon (Randy), and Shawn (Ray), also star in the movie, along with Shannon Elizabeth (Buffy Gilmore), Anna Faris (Cindy Campbell), Cheri Oteri (Gale Hailstorm), Dave Sheridan (Doofy), Jon Abrahams (Bobby), Kurt Fuller (the Sheriff). Keenan Ivory Wayans also has a bit part in the movie.
This film, while not all that bad, reminds me of an awful existential story (wait, that's redundant) I read once where this guy finds himself trapped on a train that keeps going faster and faster until it ends up going straight down into the earth at an insane speed. That seems to be the direction that the quality of films is headed, at least the ones aimed at younger audiences. This one rates a C-.
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