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Scary MoVie (2013)
Dimension Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/20/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/19/2013
It's not unusual for a movie series to have its up and downs, as various creative teams and actors come and go. But, few have been as inconsistent and varied as the Scary Movie films. The first two entries came from the Wayans Brothers, while the third and fourth films were helmed by Airplane!/The Naked Gun veteran David Zucker, who also got some help from his old pals Pat Proft and Jim Abrahams. During this time, we also saw the main characters from the series come and go. For the fifth chapter, known as Scary MoVie, Zucker has gone back to writing duties, while Malcolm D. Lee has taken the reins as director. How does this film fit into the series?
Following a Paranormal Activity spoof with Charlie Sheen and Lindsday Lohan, the "story" of Scary MoVie arrives. Dan (Simon Rex) learns that his brothers children have been found and that he now has custody of them, much to the chagrin of his wife, Jody (Ashley Tisdale). They brings the two girls, Kathy (Gracie Whitton) and Lily (Ava Kolker), along with baby Aidan (Dylan and Ryan Morris) home, and strange things begin to happen, so Dan installs security cameras throughout the house. While objects move on their own, the girls claim to see someone they call "Mama". Can Dan and Jody get to the bottom of this?
As with all of the movies in the series, Scary MoVie uses a skeleton of a plot as a reason to skewer and spoof recent hits. But, this one seems to be a little bit more all over the map than the other entries, especially when one considers the ages of the films involved. The basic premise here is a mixture of Mama, which opened in January 2013 and Paranormal Activity 2, which opened in October 2010. For a movie like this, which relies on things being timely, that's quite a gap. Wait a minute, Scary MoVie was released on April 12, 2013 and it contains jokes about Mama which came out just three months prior? That's nothing -- it also has an entire section devoted to theEvil Dead remake, which opened just one week prior to Scary MoVie hitting screens. Talk about fresh material. In contrast, Scary MoVie offers a subplot which rips on Black Swan, which was a 2010 release. So, this raises the question -- when was this movie planned, written, and shot? Scary Movie 4 came out in 2006, so there's been a lot of time for the producers to plan the next entry, but it appears that part of the movie was written in 2010, shot in 2012, and then a bunch more was shot in 2013. Weird.
Timeline aside, they should have spent more time working in the jokes. During the first few minutes of Scary MoVie, I actually laughed a few times and I began to wonder why the movie got such terrible reviews from critics and viewers. And then the rest of the movie happened and I understood why. Again, having part of the "plot" be based on a movie which just came out had to mean that some of the production was rushed and it certainly feels that way. As with any of these films, there are plenty of jokes, but most fall very flat, and the go-to joke is a sucker punch to the face. If I had the wherewithall to sit through this movie again, I would count how many hits to the face that there are -- there has to be at least fifty. In the past, the Scary Movie films have done a good job of actually making fun of the movies they are lampooning. Here, we simply get scenes that look like those movies, but with no real jokes. If done correctly, Mama and Paranormal Activity 2 both are ripe for jokes (although both are pretty good movies in their own right), but Lee, Zucker, and Co-writer Pat Proft always go for the lowest common denominator joke instead of something which is actually clever. (Although, kudos to them for picking up on the weird pool skimmer thing from Paranormal Activity 2.) And, hopefully you wouldn't, but don't look for any continuity here, as Simon Rex and Charlie Sheen both appeared in Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4, but they play different characters here.
As with many, I wasn't sure if a reappearance of the Scary Movie franchise after a seven year absence was a good thing or not. As it turns out, it wasn't. There are a few solid jokes here, especially in the first few minutes, but the whole thing soon turns into a redundant mess which is more concerned with showing off the fact that it's timely instead of actually being funny. I realize that some don't like the series, but I've liked some of the entries, especially Scary Movie 3 and Anna Faris and Regina Hall are sorely missed. Trust me -- you and your friends may not be professional writers, but watch any of the movies listed above and make jokes and you'll do a better job.
Scary MoVie is not the best medicine on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Dimension Home Entertainment and Anchor Bay. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the picture is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail and the depth are about what we would expect from a Blu-ray Disc. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo and surround sound effects are nicely done, as they do a good job of highlighting sounds coming from off-screen. The subwoofer effects are good as well, from both "shock" moments and the in-film music.
The Scary MoVie Blu-ray Disc contains only one set of extra features. We get eight DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES which run about 10 minutes. The jokes here are on par with the rest of the movie -- there are a couple of laughs here, but for the most part, it's just more pratfalls and face punches. In addition, there are more Black Swan jokes here, as if the movie needed this.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.