Written by: Craig Mazin & Pat Proft
Starring: Anna Faris, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Leslie Nielsen, Camryn Manheim, Simon Rex
When expectations for a film are on the floor, you don’t really need much to have please jaded minds. Coming fresh off a wholly subpar predecessor, Scary Movie 3 had the chance to bring back those who enjoy the concept of this franchise and thankfully, we receive something of quality. Returning to what worked in the first film rendered enjoyable results.
Following the death of a young woman to watching a mysterious tape, local news reporter Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) begins to investigate what sits at the cause of this. Additionally, the appearance of aliens appears to make waves on this local farm raising concerns about extraterrestrial life on Earth.
Reaching the eye-watering lows of Scary Movie 2 left this film the chance to exceed expectations by being somewhat watchable and we receive just that with the third installment of this franchise. The two films satirized here are The Ring and Signs and they manage to intertwine them very well for the purposes of this larger plot. Certainly sounds familiar when thinking of the success of the first movie and with it, we get a batch of characters bringing their own sensibilities and talent.
We certainly have stalwarts like Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprising their roles here but also the addition of Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen, and Anthony Anderson in prominent roles. They each bring something distinctive to the movie but Simon Rex out of all of them certainly stands out. Inspiring to live his days out like a rapper, Rex’s character, George has so many hilarious scenes throughout this film with the rap battle being the best of them all. His genuine nervousness and desire to achieve success in an area where he’s genuinely bad make for some comedic moments and Rex delivers it all in style. A delightful new member of the rotation, which was certainly needed following the departures of the Wayan brothers who brought much of the comedy in the first two films.
The way this feature manages to satirize The Ring works so well in how it tries to get into the weeds and technicalities of how the tape works and the individuals who will eventually die from it. From the phone call scene where Cindy tries to protect the young boy from it or how the television operates when Samara makes her way out of the screen. Then the way the aliens enter the story as initially seen as a threat but certainly have a different perspective here allows for some great comedy bits about the difference in culture between the species. Certainly has the appearance of low-brow humor, especially in the way they say goodbye, but it comes with the territory of watching a movie within this film series. You can only expect it to reach a certain state of referential comedy.
Surprisingly this film also brings some satirization of The Matrix in hilariously unexpected ways. From the scene with the architect brilliantly portrayed by the late great George Carlin or the Oracle played by Queen Latifah. Each scene comes out of nowhere but certainly adds to the prophetic nature of the other two main films being spoofed. It gives this sense of destiny of how things will go and what is meant to occur for Cindy and her loved ones as they deal with the impact of this tape and Samara making her way to them.
A return to form for the franchise, Scary Movie 3 utilizes the successful formula of the first film and it renders good results. The way it integrates all of the films it wants to spoof provides a level of cohesion for an overall plot providing plenty of laughs throughout in some unexpected ways. New members of the cast enter even if they have similar traits to previous characters but they present themselves as great sounding boards for the plot and the always-great Anna Faris and Regina Hall, who once again prove their worth as the stars of this movie franchise. Where the rest of the franchise goes from here speaks for itself but at the very least two films here understand their assignment in creating clever ways to spoof horror movies and mine out the humor they inherently create.