“…and now the killer video that kills you seven days after you watched it, we’re the only station that has it and we are showing it all night.”
Gone are the Wayan Brothers and in their place, David Zucker (Airplane, Naked Gun), one of the pioneers of the spoof movie, takes the helm. In some ways this is an improvement, in some it loses some of the naughty punch the Wayans brought to their films Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2. Gone are Shorty and Ray (and most of the sex and drug jokes with them) and in their place we have a not-yet-insane Charlie Sheen, the great Leslie Nielsen and a very funny Simon Rex. The spoofs are not quite as wide ranging, focusing primarily on The Ring and Signs, but they still manage to slam 8 Mile (not funny) The Others (still not funny) and The Matrix Reloaded (should have been funnier). The wisest thing Zucker did was center the movie around the star really carrying this franchise, Anna Faris.
Cindy (Anna Faris), now working as a reporter, exposes herself to a mysterious videotape that kills anyone seven days after they view it. She discovers the tape somehow is linked with the alien crop circles which appeared in the corn fields on Tom (Charlie Sheen) and George’s (Simon Rex) farm. Soon the invasion spreads worldwide forcing President Harris (Leslie Nielsen) to take drastic action to stop the alien invasion.
That’s about it for the plot. Not that these movies need much of a plot, as they really are just a showcase for a string of skits. As in every spoof movie, the jokes are hit and miss. There are some hysterical sequences and running gags, like the physical abuse dished out on creepy/cute little Cody (Drew Mikuska) and then there is the epic fail, like the 8 Mile parody.
The cameos are fun, even if some of those actors and celebs are wasted in flat skits. The stunt cameo grouping of rap and hip hop stars, Master P, Macy Gray, Redman, Method Man, Raekwon, RZA, and U-God in a massive gun shootout must have seemed like a good idea on paper, but the execution comes off rushed and underdeveloped.
When the movie focuses on spoofing The Ring and Signs it works wonderfully. Zucker recreates the scenes with a comic precision. Unfortunately, once again, the lampooning of 2003’s then-current pop culture comes off stale and awkward today. In particular, the “And twins!” Coors Light ad campaign lampoon is just embarrassing. The Others parody scene, in which Tom confronts the shrouded ghost revealing it to be Michael Jackson, leads to a series of child molestation and plastic nose jokes just feels creepy after Michael’s death.
Charlie Sheen plays the straight man ala Hot Shots and nails it. Leslie Nielsen mugs shamelessly and lifts every scene he is in. Drew Mukuska consistently has some of the funniest bits and lines. Regina Hall returns as Brenda and once again proves again to be a wonderful physical comedian. Simon Rex shows great comic timing, and his scene telling his nephew about the death of a teacher drew some of my biggest laughs. Jeremy Piven’s newscaster powers through his punch lines with his signature snarkiness and ties the skits together like a televised Greek chorus.
However, Anthony Anderson, normally a very funny performer, is wasted here, and his sidekick Kevin Hart is just annoying and shrill. Queen Latifah and Eddie Griffin suffer through some of the worst-written skits. And why bring in D.L. Hughley if you aren’t going to do anything with him? I loved seeing the wonderful George Carlin, but they never really take advantage of his razor-sharp wit and observations.
Scary Movie 3 could have been much, much worse. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Date Movie, Meet the Spartans, Epic Movie) were briefly in talks to write and direct the movie after the Wayans Brothers left the franchise. However, they wanted to make the movie chiefly a parody of Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, reportedly with the working title, Scary Movie 3: Episode I: Lord of the Brooms. Thank the gods Harvey Weinstein preferred to keep the series parodying horror films.
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1:78:1 aspect ratio running an average of 19 Mbps. Scary Movie 3 is the best looking footage of the trilogy. Colors are sharp and detailed. Black levels are stable for the most part, but slightly muddy during night scenes. Obviously not remastered, there is a noticeable amount of grain and noise in the transfer along with some occasional print damage, but for the most part the images are sharp and rich.
The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is on par with the video presentation in this third film, taking advantage of the lossless audio. There is decent surround immersion for a silly movie like this, and dialog is crisp and clear. Explosive bass during the 8 Mile rap off really works the subs. The SFX/Soundtrack to dialog mix is well balanced.
The Feature Audio Commentary by Director David Zucker, Producer Robert K. Weiss, and Writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft isn’t very informational, but is very humorous. I loved how they would jump in to take credit for the funny scenes and slam each other for the duds.
- Making Scary Movie 3 Featurette (SD; 23:21) the sheer amount of interviews provide more depth than the standard EPK (Electronic Press Kit).
- Making Scary Movie 3 For Real Featurette (SD; 4:53) this is a goofy a parody of EPKs with cast and crew comparing the movie to Shakespeare and the finest works of Meryl Streep.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary by David Zucker, Robert K. Weiss, Craig Mazin and Pat Proft (SD; 20:23) silly additional and extended scenes with a wickedly funny commentary. Spend more quality time with the greatly missed Leslie Nielsen. It’s worth watching twice for the commentary.
- Outtakes and Bloopers (SD; 3:59) Ahh, the wonderful tradition of the blooper reel.
- Alternate Ending (SD; 15:28) spoofs A Beautiful Mind and The Incredible Hulk. It is easy to see why they didn’t go this way, but the commentary on this is priceless.
- Hulk vs. Aliens (SD; 4:08) examines the visual effects that went into hulking out in the alternate ending.
This is basically the last funny spoof movie before Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg completely poisoned the well. David Zucker provides his patented zip to the scenes, and the writing is definitely better than its predecessor, but downgrading to a PG-13 rating did this movie no favors. What the Wayans lacked in writing skills they made up for in politically incorrect shocks. Zucker tries to make up for the lack of naughtiness with detailed parody gags, but even the unrated release (about one minute of additional footage) just isn’t nasty enough to carry on the smutty tradition of the first two movies. Other than that, if you like your horror spoofed, you will find yourself laughing throughout the film.
“We loved our daughter very much, but she was evil. Made the horses crazy. Killed our puppies. Hid the remote. Really sick shit. My wife took her to the old family farm and drowned her in the well. I felt a simple time-out would have been sufficient.”