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SCARY MOVIE

SYNOPSIS:
A beautiful [of course] high school student is murdered [slashed? slaughtered?] and the students [all 20s and 30s aged actors]– led by Cindy (Anna Faris ), and including Buffy Shannon Elizabeth), Brenda (Regina Hall), Bobby (Jon Abrahams), Greg (Lochlyn Munro), Shorty (Marlon Wayans), Ray (Shawn Wayans) - realise the murderer is amongst them. It may well be the hooded figure in a scream mask [same] who keeps making phone calls. They must protect themselves – and put up with the pesky, short-fused tv reporter Gail Hailstorm (Cheri Oteri).

"You don’t have to be a fan of teen horror movies to get the jokes (it helps a bit, though) it’s enough if you’ve seen Amistad, Titanic, Blair Witch Project – and any B grade horror/thriller/chiller in which the beaut blonde always makes the wrong decision as to where to run in fear of her life. The cordless phones and the mask from Scream are only a tiny part of the spoofed items here; it’s all about script and casting. But the jokes are much more robust than the original spoof material. Sometimes the filmmakers come perilously close to pushing themselves over the edge of spoofdom into the waters of annihilation, canceling out the satire with self-knowing. But sheer energy and invention – not to mention pace and performance – saves them every time. Nobody escapes the Wayans’ upsends: blacks, whites, boys, girls, silly movie conventions, mentally & physically handicapped, dope users, fat ladies, old people, young people, parents, kids, schools and even serial killers . . . I found it in total bad taste, hilariously offensive and occasionally so gross as to be no longer gross. . . if you understand that it’s your sort of film. But if you can possibly manage it, try and avoid reading too much detail about the film – it’s much better totally fresh. Also, try and stay under the age of 35 or so, with a sense of reckless abandon, fun-seeking hedonism."
Andrew L. Urban

"Wes Craven's hugely influential Scream, released back in 1997, was a kind of false dawn for the horror-comedy - while it succeeded in being both funny and scary, its many imitations (including two sequels) were neither. Scary Movie takes the process a step further: it's supposed to be a parody of the whole genre, in the style of Mel Brooks or The Naked Gun. Only very literal-minded critics will complain that you can't parody something that's already a parody - actually, Hollywood does this all the time. What's more noteworthy is that Scary Movie (despite not being scary, or even much of a movie) has a more genuinely in-your-face exploitation sensibility than the various tame, lame horror films it borrows from. As a friend pointed out to me after the screening, it's closer to the ultra-low-rent, bad-taste products of a Z-grade outfit like Troma studios than to a mainstream Hollywood comedy. Jokes about breasts and blow-jobs are just the start of it - this is a movie where (stop reading if you don't want any surprises spoiled) one character is killed by having an erect penis shoved through his head, and another uses a chainsaw to shave his girlfriend's pubic hair. There's a genuine aggression at work here, beyond the cheesy, impersonal spoof format: it helps if you know that the director and co-writer, Keenan Ivory Wayans, is best known for his work on In Living Color, a sketch comedy show with a largely black cast. A lot of the key jokes are based around race - especially the privileged smugness of the idiotic white characters. Singled out for special humiliation is the hopelessly wet, virginal, dithery heroine, an amalgam of the Neve Campbell character in Scream with the worst traits of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Katie Holmes and Willow from Buffy. Since I happen to find this type of character extremely annoying myself, I couldn't help but laugh at Scary Movie's relentless (and literal) assaults on her, though the overall dumb, brutal approach isn't exactly easy to like."
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

SCARY MOVIE (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Carmen Electra, Dave Sheridan, Frank B. Moore, Shannon Elizabeth, Mark McConchie, Karen Kruper, Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Rick Ducommun, Regina Hall, Marlon Wayans, Cheri Oteri, Shawn Wayans, Kurt Fuller, David L. Lander, Trevor Roberts, Jayne Trcka

DIRECTOR: Keenen Ivory Wayans

PRODUCER: Eric L. Gold, Lee R. Mayes

SCRIPT: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Francis Kenny ASC

EDITOR: Mark Helfrich ACE

MUSIC: David Kitay

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 31, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent

VIDEO RELEASE: March 14, 2001







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