When the first “Scary Movie” was released in 2000, the franchise was new, exciting and, best of all, highly entertaining. Now, 13 years and five movies later, “Scary MoVie” is a hollow shell of its humorous early predecessors.
The plot of the spoof film primarily parodies the “Paranormal Activity” franchise by focusing on the leading couple, Jody (Ashley Tisdale) and Dan (Simon Rex), who live in a mysteriously haunted house. Elements of horror film “Mama” are introduced when the couple is placed in charge of Dan’s nieces after they were lost in the woods for three months. Dan, a researcher at a primate-testing lab a la “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” is clueless as strange events begin to occur in the family’s home, leaving Jody, who is caught up in a “Black Swan-” inspired ballet subplot, to solve the mystery.
The film’s main characters do little to enhance the humor at any point. Both Tisdale and Rex are bland in their delivery and possess poor comedic timing. However, there is little that they could have done to save this film, because the base problem is its entirely unfunny script.
The script, written by Pat Proft and David Zucker, is nearly devoid of any jokes that actually have a chance of landing with audiences. Too many of the jokes rely on cheap, pop culture references that are, by this time, barely even relevant. One such example would be the plot references to “Black Swan,” a 2010 movie so old that is out of place among the newer films. In addition, many of the jokes, particularly those centered on the couple’s housekeeper Maria, are racist.
None of the directorial success from the earlier installments carried over in this film. In previous films, the directing was a large part of what made the multi-parody concept work. Specifically, each film that was being parodied would be directed in a style that would mimic the original movie. In the first “Scary Movie,” the “Scream” parody was handled with meticulous care, with certain scenes nailing the original’s editing style and camera work. In the new film, all of the director Malcolm Lee’s choices consist of the same zany elements, such as constant phallic gags and physical humor.
The only break from the poor quality is the film’s quasi-successful celebrity cameos. The most notable of these is the appearance of rapper Snoop Dogg. The jokes, many of which are self-directed, are blunt and worth at least a few chuckles.
By the end of “Scary MoVie,” it is quite possible that the film will bring hope to all those who view it — hope that the series will end here and spare the public from the truly horrifying prospect of “Scary Movie 6.”
The Scary Movie franchise returns for the fifth, and hopefully, last time.