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Scary Movie 4 - Review

Anna Faris in Scary Movie 4

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Feature Commentary; Deleted And Extended Scenes; Optional Commentary; Bloopers; The Man Behind The Laugh; Zany Spoof Humour Zucker Style; An Interviewers Worst Nightmare; Visual Effects Of Scary Movie 4
The Youngbloodz; Rappers Actors; NBA Scary Movie 4 Spot; Theatrical Trailer.

THE Scary Movie franchise has long been a dumping ground for crass humour, obvious jokes and easy potshots at the success of other, better movies, so audiences ought to know what to expect from Scary Movie 4 – the alleged ‘final’ instalment of the trilogy.

What makes this sequel worse, however, is that it’s actually now parodying films which are, for the most part, remakes, prompting the inevitable question, can you become any more bankrupt of ideas than that?

The Grudge (a remake of a Japanese horror classic) and War of the Worlds (Spielberg’s take on the HG Wells classic) are the main films being sent up on this occasion, as well as the more original likes of M Night Shyamalan’s The Village, Saw, Million Dollar Baby and Brokeback Mountain.

Yet while some of the humour is undoubtedly funny early on (especially Anthony Andrews’ take on Brokeback Mountain), Scary Movie 4 quickly loses the plot once it attempts to develop one of its own amid an endless torrent of toilet humour or sight gags involving people being hit on the head (much like the third film).

Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles as the dim-witted Cindy Campbell and her sex-crazed pal, Brenda, respectively, this time faced with ghostly children, alien invaders and warped game-playing psychopaths.

Not content with having to avoid the unwanted attentions of a Grudge-bearing ghost while working as a carer, Cindy must also contend with a War of the Worlds-style invasion that threatens the existence of the cute but dim man next door, Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), while attempting to find the clues that might solve the whole problem.

As per usual, the movie is littered with cameos – from the surprising likes of Bill Pullman and Michael Madsen, to franchise regulars Carmen Electra and Charlie Sheen.

Very occasionally, the odd joke raises a chuckle, especially while each of the spoofs is being set-up, but for the most part the gags revolve around easy humour that’s often extremely crude.

The Saw take-off, for instance, involves one of the victims sawing off the wrong leg in order to escape his chains, while The Village sequence finds Carmen Electra playing a blind girl who uses the toilet in the wrong room, which happens to be in front of the church elders.

What’s worse, however, is that director David Zucker doesn’t just crack a joke so much as hammering it home repeatedly. A skit involving Tom Ryan declaring his love for Cindy on a chat-show sofa contains obvious parallels to Tom and Katie but outstays its welcome, while the send-up of President Bush’s reaction to 9/11 while sat in a children’s nursery is initially well-observed but hopelessly over-exploited.

The result is a tedious mess that’s every bit as derisory as its predecessors in the franchise.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 87mins