Itï¿½s hard to believe, but after six years and three movies, this fourth film proves the Scary Movie franchise is still good for a cheap laugh.
For those of you that have lived under a rock and arenï¿½t familiar with the Scary Movie series, I will enlighten you. Some of the horror movies coming out these days are just begging to be parodied, and the comic brains of the Wayans brothers did so in 2000 with first instalment simply titled Scary Movie. This movie poked fun of then-recent movie… like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, and as the movies went on they continued to make jokes of both new and old horrors alike. Scary Movie 4 doesnï¿½t seem to add anything new to the mix in comparison to the previous three titles, but thatï¿½s just part of its charm ï¿½ senseless humour poking fun at other movies. Finally, I must add that apart from re-rolling previous characters, none of the Wayans brothers had anything to do with the screenplay for Scary Movie 4, which ultimately left me unsure going into this movie.
Anna Farris yet again returns as Cindy Campbell, the lovable yet dense girl next door. Along with her returns the always annoying Regina Hall and Brenda Meeks (one character whose corpse I didnï¿½t mind seeing made a joke of in Scary Movie 3). Joining them is Craig Bierko as the equally clueless Tom Ryan. Together they must save the world from an alien invasion while trying to discover who killed Troy Reed, a little boy who haunts Cindyï¿½s house. I think the most entertaining segment of the movie may be the one that kicks off the movie, parodying Saw as Shaq and Dr. Phil are chained up in a room together. The dialogue takes shots at Shaqï¿½s free throwing abilities and Dr. Philï¿½s suspect ability to cure people from their problems in just one half-hour segment. From here the main plot of the film spoofs War of the Worlds and The Grudge, but of course along the way other films find their way into the mix. Anthony Anderson makes a hilarious appearance in a Brokeback Mountain spoof in which he plays a gay cowboy. The list of parodies goes on and includes the likes of The Village, Hustle & Flow, and Million Dollar Baby. For those of you up to date with current events you will appreciate spoofs at the expense of President Bush, Tom Cruise on Oprah, and Don King. If that isnï¿½t enough for you, the film also includes cameos from Michael Madsen, James Earl Jones, Bill Pullman, Leslie Nielsen, and Charlie Sheen.
Essentially, Scary Movie 4, like its counterparts, is good for some cheap laughs. Itï¿½s a solid comedy that compares to all the others, with the exception of the first which I found to be the best, mainly for its originality which has since been tarnished. But thatï¿½s neither here nor there. Fans of the Scary Movie franchise will not be disappointed with this one, as it manages to be a funny picture with some great references to our pop culture. But then again, those of you who are big fans of the humour of Shawn and Marlon Wayans might be disappointed. Although funny in its own right, something is lacking for those of you who loved the Wayansï¿½ take on the parody genre.
Scary Movie 4 presented in 1080p 1.85:1 aspect ratio, has become a rare exception of being encoded in MPEG 4, instead of the standard VC1 codec used in most HD DVD releases. Although the differences are debatable, its use in this film yields some mixed results. The print is in excellent condition, showing little grain and no artifacts. Colors look vibrant, although a bit too saturated during some outdoor shots. These overly bright scenes contained some of the best looking detail on-screen, but unfortunately gave the flesh tones an unrealistic glow. Thankfully, flesh tones returned to a more natural look in the darker scenes. That said, those same darker shots seem to be hit with some softness so you lose that extra detail. These faults hurt Scary Movie 4, ultimately resulting in no more then an average transfer.
Scary Movie 4 is given a decent Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus audio track. Like the video, the audio does not leave me that impressed. The main problem here is the lack of rear channel support. I know itï¿½s a comedy, but there were several scenes that could have made much better use of these channels. Instead it becomes a rarity to hear sounds coming from them, which is truly disappointing. Fortunately, dialogue was clear throughout.
Scary Movie 4 offers up a good amount of entertaining special features. If you are a fan of the film then you should check out most of them.
- Audio Commentary: Commentary with the filmmakers. Unlike most commentary tracks, this one is entertaining enough to recommend listening to.
- Deleted Scenes: 15 deleted scenes, all with optional commentary. Most of the scenes are duds but a few offer some good laughs.
- The Scary Truth: A Conversation with the Filmmakers: A talk with David Zucker and other crew. Offers some interesting tidbits on production but overlaps with other features.
- Bloopers: Some really funny bloopers here, worth checking out. Entertaining to see Dr. Phil crack up during his lines, a major change from his hard-ass show.
- Zany Spoof Humour ï¿½ Zucker Style: A quick look at humour used through the film. Nothing really interesting here.
- The Man Behind the Laugh (Director David Zucker): Similar to the above feature, this offers a more in-depth look on David Zucker and the humour he used in the film. I recommend watching this feature; it offers a good amount of production information.
- The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4: A brief look at the effects used throughout the film. Includes an interview with director David Zucker as he discusses his desired look for the film.
- Improvisation of Craig Bierko: A closer look at the ï¿½Oprahï¿½ scene featuring Craig Bierko as Tom Cruise. Craig does a spot on impression of Tom Cruise, some pretty funny stuff.
- The Youngbloodz: Interview with the rappers who appear in the movie. The group seems very excited to be in the movie, but the feature is not very entertaining.
- Rappers & Actors: Features interviews with a few other rappers that appear in the film, including Lilï¿½ Jon and Chingy. The filmmakers seem to love casting rappers, and the rappers seem to love being cast.
- The Cast: An in-depth look at the cast of the film, includes interviews with returning cast member Anna Farris and newcomer Craig Bierko.
- Theatrical Trailer
Without the Wayans brothers behind the screenplay, Scary Movie 4 still manages to be an entertaining comedy that without a strong plot relies solely on its hit-and-miss jokes. Neither the video or the audio left me impressed, but with the addition of a handful of interesting features, Scary Movie 4 is an HD DVD title worthy of any fanï¿½s collection. If you havenï¿½t seen it yet and you liked the first three films, chances are you are going to like this one as well.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- The Scary Truth: A Conversation with the Filmmakers
- Zany Spoof Humour ï¿½ Zucker Style
- The Man Behind the Laugh (Director David Zucker)
- The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4
- Improvisation of Craig Bierko
- The Youngbloodz
- Rappers & Actors
- The Cast
- The Cast