Judging by the grosses for 2000's 'Scary Movie,' if there’s anything audiences enjoy more than screaming, it's laughing. Not only did this Wayans Brothers' spoof of the blockbuster 'Scream' horror franchise rake in a phenomenal $150 million at the box office, but it handily outgrossed each of the 'Scream' flicks it set out to spoof in the first place.
But how do you parody a film that’s already a parody? After all, 'Scream' was about as close to satire as a flick can get, and there seemed to be little-to-no other obvious blood left to squeeze from a slasher turnip that had long ago run dry. So the Wayans (that's Keenan, Shawn, and Marlon, who collectively wrote, directed, and starred in 'Scary Movie') didn't even try. Instead, they replaced the genuine wit of the ‘Scream’ flicks with an endless parade of gross jokes about flatulence, penis size, and incest, all wrapped up in a smug air of homophobia and misogyny.
Like 'Airplane!' only without the sweetness, 'Scary Movie' is a very crude and often ugly film. Though the Wayans rip off the basic narrative skeleton of 'Scream' to a T, they seem to have little actual interest in deconstructing the genre's conventions in the name of post-modern humor (as 'Scream' itself did so effectively). Instead, they simply use the structure to string together a bunch of dirty jokes at such a relentless pace that I don't think I've ever seen a film reach such a sustained level of perversity. It's like the infamous "hair gel" scene in 'There's Something About Mary,' stretched out over 88 minutes. Every single boundary of good taste is transgressed, and no bodily orifices are left unexamined. (It’s saying something that 'Scary Movie' makes even John Waters' most shocking cinematic offenses seem quaint.)
Having said all that, even if ‘Scary Movie' is never truly clever (and is often downright cringe-inducing), I’d be lying if I said that I didn't laugh while watching it. In fact, there’s a case to made that the actors (particularly Anna Faris, who remains a sorely underused and underrated comedic actress) are so fearless in their enthusiasm for even the lamest joke that they just about pull it off. But where the film really hits the bull's-eye is when it subtly tweaks the dialogue and situations of the original 'Scream' (especially in the hysterical opening sequence, with Carmen Electra memorably filling in for Drew Barrymore) or goes balls-to-the-wall referential and mocks the entire horror genre.
Less successful is the film’s non-horror satire -- really, is there anything more unfunny at this point than 'Matrix' "bullet-time" gags? Also off-putting is the Wayans' unsettling obsession with gay jokes; they are so non-stop (and so mean-spirited) that I couldn't help but wonder if there’s some internalized homophobia in the family.
Still, offensive or not, 'Scary Movie' is the kind of stupid, utterly shameless flick that will always find an eager and appreciative audience – especially in a large, loud theater. At home on the small screen, here’s betting that your own enjoyment of this Blu-ray will be directly proportional to how much alcohol you've downed before watching it (or how much hash you've inhaled). It’s also likely that you'll be groaning as often as you bust a gut. (I certainly did more than my fair share of both.)
'Scary Movie' is eight years old now, but you’d never know it from looking at this impressive 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode.
It’s all the more surprising because ‘Scary Movie’ was never much of a visual tour de force in the first place. Still, this transfer is bright and colorful, exceedingly sharp, and bolstered by a crystal clear print. There's not a blemish to be found on the print, and I was particularly taken aback by the almost complete lack of grain and noise, even though the majority of the film takes place at night. Likewise, colors are bold but smooth, and fleshtones are naturalistic. Most astoundingly, detail is strong enough that it rivals most of the new releases I've seen on Blu-ray lately, and the "three-dimensional" effect is well in evidence.
The only irritant I could find is some edge enhancement, resulting in some visible halos. Otherwise, when it comes to picture quality, 'Scary Movie' is a top-drawer catalog release.
Disney presents 'Scary Movie' with uncompressed PCM 5.1 Surround (48kHz/16-bit/4.6mbps), but alas, unlike the surprisingly strong video transfer, there’s nothing noteworthy about the film's sound design.
'Scary Movie' is your typical comedy soundtrack that offers little more than a stereo mix with an occasional zinger in the rear (no pun intended). There is next to no envelopment, not even with minor atmospheric sounds or the limited score. Simply put, it’s as bland as styrofoam.
At least tech specs are perfectly fine, with clean source elements and a fair sense of sonic realism. Dialogue is certainly the star here, and is well-recorded without any volume balance problems. It's just too bad that the makers of 'Scary Movie' weren't more imaginative with the soundtrack, because (especially considering the material) this one could have been a lot more fun.
Given the huge box office haul for ‘Scary Movie,’ it’s surprising that Disney has never given the title the Special Edition treatment. Instead, what we get here are the same two primary extras that accompanied the film in its original DVD debut in 2000.
The "Behind the Scenes" featurette is really just an 8-minute EPK, which is half-commercial, half worship session for the Wayans Brothers. Just as forgettable are the 8 minutes worth of Deleted Scenes. The "highlight" is an extended sex scene that is even cruder than what's in the film -- and that's saying a lot.Bringing new meaning to the term "Theatrical Trailer," the one advertised on this disc is actually a crappy full-screen preview for the film's original DVD release. (Lame!) On the bright side, there are actual trailers for the Disney Blu-ray titles 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End' and 'The Invisible' plus the upcoming 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' (which, as I write this, hasn't even hit theaters yet).
'Scary Movie' is a lewd, crude and only sporadically funny spoof of the now aged ‘Scream’ franchise. Still, even eight years later, I laughed more often than I groaned, so at least the laugh quotient remains relatively high. As a Blu-ray release, this one’s something of a mixed bag. Although the excellent video transfer surpassed my expectations, unfortunately neither the audio nor the supplements offer much of an upgrade over the DVD. Certainly worth a look if you’re so inclined –- just be sure to set your expectations accordingly.