Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Starring: Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Marlon Wayans
Tag line: "No mercy. No shame. No sequel"
Trivia: In British Columbia, the film was given an 18A rating by the provincial FCO, but was re-rated on appeal by the Motion Picture and Liquor Appeal Board to a 14A. This resulted in a record number of complaints to the Film Classification Office from parents who felt it should have been rated 18A
While the recent onslaught of film spoofs has left me kinda cold (I didn’t bother watching 2008’s Meet the Spartans, which poked fun at action flicks like 300 and Casino Royale, and odds are I never will), I did enjoy 2000’s Scary Movie, a Wayans Brothers production that, while not perfect, managed to make me laugh.
Following the violent murder of classmate Drew Decker (Carmen Electra), a group of friends: the virginal Cindy (Ana Faris) and her boyfriend Bobby (Jon Abrahams); Brenda (Regina Hall) and her slightly effeminate beau Ray (Shawn Wayans); and power couple Buffy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Greg (Lochlyn Munro), can’t help but wonder if her death was somehow connected to a terrible event from the previous summer, when, while out driving, the six of them accidentally struck and killed a fisherman (Craig Brunanski) as he was walking across the street. At that time, the friends vowed never to speak of this tragedy again, but when the masked killer starts bumping them off one-by-one, Cindy urges her remaining pals to bite the bullet and head straight to the police. But is the fisherman actually the killer, or is it someone much closer to them?
Directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans from a script written by siblings Shawn and Marlon, Scary Movie focuses most of its energy on Wes Craven’s Scream. Aside from the killer, who wears the Ghostface mask, we also have the characters Gail Hailstorm (Cheri Oteri), obviously inspired by Courtney Cox’s plucky reporter; and Deputy Dookie (Trevor Roberts), the mentally slow law officer based on David Arquette’s Officer Dewey. In addition, Scary Movie takes aim at I Know What You Did Last Summer (via the plotline involving the dead fisherman), and as a spoof of these two films, it works rather well. I especially liked the beauty pageant scene, a send-up of a similar moment in I Know What You Did Last Summer, where Buffy watches helplessly as the killer claims his first victim. There are references to other horror movies as well, including The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense, and a fight towards the end could have been lifted straight out of The Matrix, but it’s the two teen-centric ‘90s horror franchises that are the film’s primary focus.
At times, the humor is juvenile (there are far too many fart jokes), or, worse yet, dated (I remember the “Whassup” Budweiser commercials, but I’m guessing younger viewers won’t), and while Marlon Wayans has his moments as Shorty, the pot-smoking brother of Regina Hall’s Brenda, he’s a poor stand-in for Jamie Kennedy’s Randy, arguably the most popular character in the Scream series. Still, if you’re at all familiar with the films listed above, Scary Movie will, at the very least, give you a few laughs.