When I originally heard that there was going to be a parody of the teen horror films I thought the worst. Obviously, unless in the hands of some fairly talented filmmakers, this could have gone very wrong, but director Keenan Ivory Wayans really put things together well with this hilarious parody. The film raked in a gigantic amount of money at the box office, and amazingly escaped the dreaded NC-17 rating. Wayans operates much like the Farrelly brothers ("There's Something About Mary") in that there's no ground that can't be covered.
The film is gleefully profane and wonderfully crude, throwing out jokes at the rate of one at what seems like every few seconds. Quite a few of the jokes fall flat, but we appreciate the effort. There really isn't much in the way of plot - the film just attacks what seems to be an endless list of movies from "Scream" to "The Matrix" to "I Know What You Did Last Summer" to "The Sixth Sense" to "The Blair Witch Project". At 80 minutes, the pacing works and the film never drags.
Lead actress Anna Faris plays Cindy, our lead character and does a very good job in her first role. Other highlights include Cheri Oteri and Dave Sheridan in smart take-offs on the Courtney Cox and David Arquette characters from "Scream". Marlon and Shawn Wayans are also quite funny in their roles.
As with any movie like this, there's really not a lot to talk about. Is it funny? Yes, definitely - although if you're one that's easily offended, you'll definitely want to stay away from the film. I'm still impressed that the filmmakers were able to get away with the "R-Rating" with all of the crude humor throughout the flick, although I suppose I felt the same way about the "South Park" movie. As dumb as some of the jokes are in "Scary Movie", at least I thought the way they came up with some of the bits was creative - and most importantly, I laughed quite a lot. And, with a movie like this, there's really nothing else to it.
VIDEO: "Scary Movie" gets a fine presentation from Miramax in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Sharpness is a little bit varied throughout the movie - most scenes look sharp and clear, although there are some occasions where the movie falls off into looking slightly soft. Colors are rich and well-saturated with no faults, and flesh tones look accurate and natural.
Aside from a little bit of softness at times, there isn't too much else to complain about. There is a slight amount of pixelation during a couple of brief instances, but it's not too distracting. Shimmering appears lightly once or twice, and the print is clear and clean of flaws. Overall, this is an enjoyable looking presentation, but it isn't without some minor problems.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is pretty much the usual "comedy" audio. Most of the sound comes from the front, and the focus is dialogue and the score. The score sounds crisp and clean, and bass is present if not too powerful. Surround use is pretty light - surrounds are used mainly for the score, with few exceptions. I suppose the lack of activity is acceptable due to the fact that the material really doesn't call for that much since it's all dialogue. Dialogue is clear and easily understood, not edgy or harsh. Not a remarkable presentation, but quality-wise it's fine.
MENUS:: Menus contain some simple, but fun film-themed animation as well as the score in the background.
EXTRAS: The extras included here are limited but fun - the most unfortunate part though, is the lack of a commentary. A track from the filmmakers or actors could have been really funny.
DVD-ROM Extras: The DVD-ROM section is actually where more features are located. First, there's "Guide For The Culturally Challenged", which plays throughout the movie and points out facts about the production or what the scene is spoofing. There is also a "quiz mode" where you can answer quiz questions throughout the movie, as well. In addition, you can read the script while watching the movie and view character profiles. And, of course, this is only available on your computer.
DVD-VIDEO Extras: Extras you can watch on your player include 6 deleted scenes that are entertaining. They mainly seem to have been cut due to explicit content that probably had to be taken out for the "R" rating. A couple of the scenes are very funny, and worth a look. Also included is a promotional featurette that lasts about 8 minutes, not really providing much information but managing to be somewhat entertaining. Last, but not least, the theatrical trailer is included (full-frame/2.0).
Final Thoughts: "Scary Movie" is very funny, although if you're easily offended, you'll want to pass it by. Miramax's DVD provides respectable audio/video quality, but for such a popular movie you'd think they'd provide a few more extras, wouldn't you? Still, the DVD is recommended.
The Film B
Video 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Audio: 88/B = (352/400 possible points)
Extras: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
Menus: 80/B- = (160/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: B
DVD GRADE: B