Directed by: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Written by: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth, Kurt Fuller
Spoof films have ebbed and flowed in popularity over the last few decades as they seek to satirize a predominant genre preceding the run. We’ve seen them take place about westerns and action films alike, but Scary Movie started a new conveyer belt of films of this sort as it attempted to satirize one of the greatest horror satires of all time. With this task set before it, the film certainly delivered bundles of laughs.
After the tragic murder of a classmate, a masked killer continues to terrorize teenagers in this town. This leaves Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) and her group of friends in a place where they must fight to survive especially where they have a suspicion it may have some relation to something that occurred last summer.
When looking at the spoof films dominating the 2000s, one can satisfyingly watch Scary Movie and just stop right there because the apex was reached with this feature and it all just goes downhill from here. As sharp as the writing gets, this feature aims to deliver a joke a minute through its visual gags and hilarious callbacks. All of this comes at the expense of two famous slashers in Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and they do a fairly stellar job intertwining the two plots to create something incredibly funny.
Right from the very start, this feature begins ts its assault of jokes by mimicking the opening scene of Scream with Drew Barrymore’s death but hypersexualizing it and showing the idiotic decisions made by individuals running away from Ghostface. From running towards certain death as indicated by a sign and grabbing a banana as a weapon for defense rather than the more formidable options presented. The entire scene sets the stage for what we could expect from the rest of the movie in all its crude humor.
For the protagonist of the feature, we have Cindy Campbell, who portrays this virginal final girl and the way she gets constantly harassed by her boyfriend Bobby (Jon Abrahams). He represents the supposed “nice guy” to a tee in how it all stands as a farce until they get what they want. I’m sure many women had experiences with individuals like Bobby in their whining for sex when Cindy’s not in the space where she’s not ready. Hilarious if not scary for the reality of how many Bobbys exist out there trying to present themselves like true nice guys.
The Ghostface we see in this feature certainly knows how to cut people down but has comedic elements like being a stoner. I mean, who could ever forget the cultural phenomenon of “Wazzup!” everyone said shortly after the release of this feature? The different iterations of the mask to indicate Ghostface’s mood works every time that you forget the figure continues to viciously murder teenagers.
Just like the main film it seeks to satirize, this feature loves commenting about itself and making fun of its very own existence. Poking fun at the tropes of its genre like admitting 20-30-year-olds get cast as teenagers in these films looks at its best with Lochlyn Munro who looks like a fully grown man as compared to other supposed teenagers. The ribbing appears in a much more outlandish manner in this feature but it allows for several moments where the characters might as well turn to the camera and wink.
With so much comedic talent surrounding this feature, they each get their moments to shine as they bring something definitive to the movie. Anna Faris obviously does an incredible job in her portrayal of Cindy. Marlon and Shawn Wayans each have their moments to flourish with their outlandish characters, but without a doubt, this movie belonged to Regina Hall. One could easily say she owns all of the Scary Movie films where she has an appearance. Her scene in the movie theater remains iconic and she ultimately shines with the boisterous and lovable Brenda.
Plenty of crude humor but undoubtedly the peak of this era of spoof films, Scary Movie takes on the tough task of poking fun at Scream but does it so well in establishing these characters and the hilarious hijinks they get themselves into. It makes for such an enjoyable experience even if some of the comedy feels dated as one could expect with this type of material. However, most of it still lands and proves to be quite an enjoyable viewing experience.