The fifth installment to the Scary Movie franchise is being released tomorrow, and I thought what better way than to go through its predecessors? Before I get into the mini-reviews of each individual film, I wanted to first go over the overall series as a whole.
First of all, for the most part, this series is making fun of horror films, and the stupid stereotypical things that they constantly do. Yes, it goes over the top, and totally butchers the original idea of a parody, but it continually is seen as the best of their kind. It is funny. I know each of the reviews are under 45%, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. I appreciated them for being better than most, for many reasons, just professionally speaking, they butcher the idea of parodies.
Also, the first two films had a pattern, as did the last two films. You may hate the third for getting rid of the Wayans, and I do too, but they introduced the other black characters, which are hilarious as well in their own regards.
Positives: They get real actors and celebrities to play themselves and make fun of themselves instead of look-a-likes. They have amazing set designs that look like the original source. They mimick the same camera angle and movements. The acting is only over-the-top and bad in the first two films, the others weren’t. Each story is so stupid it’s funny.
Negatives: THEY USE NON-HORROR FILMS TO PARODY. Seriously, putting things in just because they are popular is a copout. Get brave; go back to your roots. Don’t let your same mistakes come back to haunt you in the fifth.
As for the fifth, I hope Ashley Tisdale can take over for Anna Farris somehow, but I doubt it. Anna was huge, and getting rid of her is like getting rid of the glue that made this thing work. Who knows though, it could all turn around.
Scary Movie (2000) – 42%
This first film is arguably the best film in the series, but that isn’t saying much. The first movie revolves around two main storylines mixed together, which is both Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Try to imagine the guy in the scream mask running around killing people because he knew their secret, which is what they did last Halloween. The comedy wasn’t terrible, they had a bit of every type of humor imaginable, ranging from physical, random, and even real life comedy (the kind of comedy that feeds people that have already made fun of scary movies for the stupid stunts they pull), and that actually helped it out quite a lot. Even today, you may hear people quoting one-liners that originated from this comedy. It also managed not to go too far with the references involved, as many parodies often do now, it stayed respectful in the pacing and keeping things more connected. The references were from movies that people would recognize, and the jokes did have some stereotypical genre humor as well, which if you knew anything about parody history, that is the key element of what they’ve been stripped of nowadays.
However, it failed because it did take things too far. You have to remember that it is in fact a stupid humor film, and there are just some shots that were actually very smartly put in. There are other things that could have been done better. Just because it is a stupid humor film does not mean the acting has to be stupid and unbelievable. That is when the movie stops feeling like a movie all together. Also, if you are going to pull in other characters from movies, that can be fine, but not so many, and try to keep the genres consistent. That wasn’t so much of a problem in this one as it is in later sequels, but it is in there nonetheless. It was indeed the best of the series, and it does go downhill, but the second film is a close second.
Scary Movie 2 (2001) – 34%
This film is hard to place. Like the first, it has its positives as well as negatives, but believe it or not, its tame references made the movie worse. That’s right, I’m going to say it, and it just didn’t have enough references to feel like a Scary Movie. This film’s main parody was off of The Haunting, which is not a movie that I see as widely known, but maybe can be seen as stupid enough to make fun of. There are plenty of other references to other horror films in this, as the first as well, but they aren’t as readily understood, so you might not even catch some of them. It could be because these two films only had a year to separate them, while the others started to spread out, but even the main story seemed forced. The first film did a remarkable job at reconstructing the sets of the original film they parodied, making it look like there are these new characters in the original sets. This film did not look a thing like the mansion the group stayed in in The Haunting. It looked more like a regular house. There were positives though. For one, even though it made no sense why some of the characters returned, it did establish a common theme that appeared not to be repetitive, but instead – a budding tradition. Cindy is the main character, Shorty is a hilarious pot head, there will be some kind of scene where something hilariously random and gross happens, something over-the-top sexual happens to Cindy, and it just has to end with some kind of kung-fu end battle just for the heck of it, and someone has to yell “NO” at the top of their lungs in the last shot before getting hit by a car. It made sense. They had lovable, funny characters, and they did redefine the genre of parodies, maybe not so much in a positive light, but even though you know the movie is bad, you still watch it. Everything that you think was positive that this movie established, however, is destroyed in the third.
Scary Movie 3 (2003) – 40%
Yeah, most of the traditions that seemingly were set in the first two films were abolished in the third, but that doesn’t quite mean the third was bad, in fact it was better in some regards. It just didn’t feel like it was part of the Scary Movie family, at least not in the same way. This film had two, well…actually 3 major focuses for its parody – that was The Ring, Signs, and for some odd reason, 8 Mile. There were even bits and pieces from The Matrix in the film as well. Imagine if you will: There is a scary VHS going around killing people, and our gang believes it is the works of aliens as a preemptive strike to their oncoming obliteration of human life. For the heck of it, let’s throw in some Michael Jackson humor. Here’s the thing: the set designs were spot on, the music was nearly identical, the acting was better, and the story and dialogue were so bad it was actually good. Its fault fell when it was clear to the audience two things: this movie went over-the-top beyond your typical “over-the-top” definition. It took in things from movies that weren’t even horror because they were popular trends, which is just a parody, not Scary Movie. It wasn’t cool that the Wayans brothers left us, but we were treated with two more black characters that were actually hilarious and played so well off of each other – those two returned for the fourth. That’s when you realize that there is still a pattern.
Scary Movie 4 (2006) – 27%
Now, the fourth movie in the series, when we’re talking about how lost and far away from the original idea and concept of the original, was the worst. Like the third, it had really good set design, the camera angles mimicked that of the original source, the acting wasn’t terrible, and the comedy has been pretty constant throughout each film, but the choice in references is the worst. So, the primary parody of this film was War of the Worlds, the secondary story was The Grunge and The Village. The only movie out of those three that is actually a horror film was Grunge, the rest was thriller and suspense. Again like the third, the other minor parodies weren’t even close to horror, including: Brokeback Mountain, Million Dollar Baby, and Deuce Bigalow. Come on. This was just a parody and you know it. I will say, however, that Leslie Nielson is a comedic god, and helped the movie out tremendously.