The Scary Movie franchise has certainly had its ups and downs over the years. The first movie was, in my opinion, a missed opportunity that nonetheless packed in enough gags to make it worthwhile. The second movie was absolutely dire, though a recent rewatch has allowed me to grudgingly admit that it’s not quite as bad as I used to think. The third movie remains my favourite and the fourth, while not AS good as the third, doesn’t do too bad either. And now we get this fifth outing, a barrel-scraping embarrassment of a film. Even when I had a greater dislike for Scary Movie 2 I could admit that it had humour running through it, that humour just didn’t happen to be to my taste. With this film, I couldn’t even see what was supposed to be funny for most of the runtime.
Simon Rex and Ashley Tisdale play Dan and Jody Sanders, respectively. They are a young couple who end up looking after some feral children and getting mixed up in events that mainly spoof Mama, with a fair bit of time also being given over to Black Swan. And then we get a scene thrown in there just to cash in on the popularity of 50 Shades Of Grey. Add a pinch of Paranormal Activity (a franchise spoofed recently in A Haunted House, a movie by the Wayans brothers, who scored great success with . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scary Movie) and a smattering of Evil Dead and you have this end result. A flat, unfunny, horrible mess.
Simon Rex, so good in Scary Movie 3, is stuck playing second fiddle to the less enjoyable Ashley Tisdale, and neither of them can do enough to overcome the material that they have to work with. As for the rest of the cast? Well, Molly Shannon comes out of it alright, but Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller and Bow Wow don’t fare well at all. Terry Crews and Katt Williams almost survive, Jerry O’Connell does okay and Heather Locklear should fire her agent immediately. I haven’t seen her on the big screen for a while, but this should never have been the vehicle to put her back in cinemas.
David Zucker and Pat Proft are responsible for the awful script (shame on you, Zucker, shame on you), but it’s Malcolm D. Lee in the director’s chair, which makes it hard not to think that perhaps he wasn’t the best choice. Considering his mediocre back catalogue, I’m surprised that he was given this gig. But he was, and he messes it up good and proper.
Is it unwatchable? Almost. Okay, I admit that I chuckled a couple of times. First of all, during the opening sequence that puts Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan in bed together just to make a number of jokes at their expense. It’s sad to see two stars who used to be genuinely talented in comic fare reduced to spilling out their recent years of baggage for some easy laughs . . . . . . . . . but I also have to give them some kudos for going along with the material and providing me with at least a weak smile for a minute or two. The other time I actually enjoyed this movie was when it spoofed Evil Dead in a rare instance when a thin gag being stretched out for extra laughs actually made the gag funnier.
If you’re still tempted to watch this, don’t. If that tempts you even further, DON’T. I’ve seen worse, yes, but I watch a LOT of rubbish. Is it too much for me to hope that this franchise will just end now? We’ll just have to wait and see.
DIRECTOR: MALCOLM D. LEE
WRITER: DAVID ZUCKER, PAT PROFT
STARS: SIMON REX, ASHLEY TISDALE, GRACIE WHITTON, AVA KOLKER, DYLAN MORRIS, RYAN MORRIS, MOLLY SHANNON, SNOOP DOGG, MAC MILLER, BOW WOW, TERRY CREWS, CHARLIE SHEEN, LINDSAY LOHAN, JERRY O’CONNELL, KATT WILLIAMS, HEATHER LOCKLEAR, KATRINA BOWDEN
RUNTIME: 86 MINS APPROX