May 8, 2018
Scary Movie (2000)
Grade: 56/100

Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Stars: Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Marlon Wayans

What it's about. A satire of recent teen-based horror movies, particularly Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Anna Faris is the beautiful brunette protagonist with forward boyfriend Jon Abrahams. Their friends at the high school include shallow cheerleader Shannon Elizabeth, closeted gay Shawn Wayans, sassy Regina Hall, stoner Marlon Wayans, and jerk jock Lochlyn Munro. All of these characters are parodies of stereotypes.

The plot is similar to the many teen horror films that came before. The friends of the hottest girl are picked off, one by one, by the masked killer until only the hot girl remains, who must fend off the murderer in a prolonged chase scene.

Supporting roles include dufus Dave Sheridan and Squiggy principal David L. Lander. The filmmakers are the Wayans Brothers, then best known for their television comedy / variety series "In Living Color". The commercial success of the movie led to four (so far) sequels, with the Wayans absent by Scary Movie 3.

How others will see it. Scary Movie was predictably (and deservedly) ignored by the most reputable film festivals, but it made 275M worldwide box office on a budget of 20M, a megahit by any measure. Its legacy, besides the four mediocre sequels, was the star-making performance of Anna Faris, presently the lead in the CBS sitcom "Mom".

At, Scary Movie has a huge 200K votes, which implies that most film-watchers between 25 and 40 have seen it. As one might expect, the user ratings drop with the maturity of the viewer, from 6.5 under 18 to 5.7 over age 45.

Those who enjoy teen horror movies (a guilty pleasure even among those who know better) must admit that Scary Movie mostly has the lowdown on the genre. Predictably, the user reviews also include a batch of hate mail from the unamused and unimpressed, e.g. "another sad example of today's comedies."

How I felt about it. There are some laughs here. The beauty contestant's banner announces her as "Miss Fellacio". "Prince" turns out to be the makeup-wearing boyfriend of Carmen Electra. The masked killer gets stoned. The piano pushed down the stair to stop the killer instead takes out grandma.

Also important, at least for male viewers, is that Anna Faris is agreeably hot.

But even though the film hits the mark some of the time, too often it comes across as an obvious satire of an exploitative genre. It is difficult to make a good parody of I Know What You What You Did Last Summer when the original is a bad movie. Scary Movie is also guilty of pandering to its audience all too often, and the bathroom humor results from the writers unable to come up with anything better.