Scary Movie

USA 2000

Reviewed by Kim Newman


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

US, the present. Drew Decker, a senior at B.A. Corpse High School, is pestered by a masked phone prankster who then kills her. The killer's next target is teenager Cindy Campbell, already traumatised because she and her friends - boyfriend Bobby, couple Ray and Brenda, Greg and Buffy - caused the death of a stranger last Halloween. Television reporter Gail Hailstorm arrives and flirts with Officer Doofy to get the inside scoop on the case.

When Cindy survives an encounter with the stalker, Bobby is arrested but released once the killer is seen elsewhere. The killer murders Greg, Buffy, Brenda, Gail and Ray. Cindy surrenders her virginity to Bobby. Bobby, apparently attacked by the slasher, is revealed to be a killer himself, with his secret lover Ray, who turns out to be alive and is embittered because of the cancellation of the Wayans Brothers' television show. The killers have also abducted Mr Campbell, Cindy's drug-dealing father, whom they plan to murder. However, the masked murderer shows up and kills Bobby and Ray before engaging in a martial-arts fight with Cindy. As the police interrogate Cindy, she realises that the clues point to Officer Doofy, who walks away, shedding his disguise. As Cindy rants at the unfairness of it all, she is run over by a car.


And so cycles turn inevitably to spoof. In the late 40s, a decade and a half after Universal made a name for itself with a string of horror movies, Abbott and Costello met the studio's pantheon of movie monsters. Then, in the early 80s, only a few years after the teen slasher genre exploded with Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980), a clutch of Airplane!-style skits came along: from Student Bodies to Saturday the 14th. Arriving barely months after the alleged conclusion of the Scream series, which it parodies, and far out-grossing its inspiration, Scary Movie may well be the most commercially successful spoof yet, as well as the quickest off the mark. Indeed, Scary Movie has been such an immediate hit that it must have clicked more with mainstream audiences who appreciate the Farrelly Brothers - whose style of gross-out humour is in evidence throughout - than with the sizeable but cult crowd who saw Scream.

A major problem with Scary Movie is that it seems to have been made by people who didn't especially care for Scream, which was humorously intended in the first place. Director Keenen Ivory Wayans - assisted here by his brothers Shawn and Marlon as co-writers and performers - has previously ventured into parody with the blaxploitation spoof I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!. The Wayans' half of the script was developed in two versions, one hewing close to the whitebread conventions of the slasher movie and the other with mostly black characters. In the event, you're left feeling that they would have been happier filming the second script - there are a couple of wry race jokes, notably the cut from the announcement "white woman in trouble" to the arrival of hordes of police cars - but have been forced to stick with the first.

After the opening riff on the Drew Barrymore killing from Scream, Scary Movie's model provides rather thin material for skitting. Some of the parody is so abstruse as to be subliminal: echoing Scream's casting of Henry Winkler, who starred in Happy Days, as the school principal, this casts David L. Lander from the Happy Days spin-off Laverne and Shirley in a similar role. Scenes taken from Scream - Buffy's sarcastic confrontation with the killer, for instance - are played more broadly than in the original, but actually aren't as funny.

Wayans is on safer ground lampooning I Know What You Did Last Summer, a more po-faced slasher than Scream, and screws a few laughs out of the hit-and-run victim who keeps insisting he's all right as the teens argue about disposing of his corpse. Otherwise, Scary Movie has to yank in bits from other films not so much for parodic effect as for the shock of recognition, cueing limp variations on sequences from The Blair Witch Project and The Matrix (Cindy riverdancing in mid-air).

The air of desperation is emphasised by the insistence on padding out horror-movie gags with crude Farrelly-style humour: a hairy-chinned gym mistress with dangling testicles, a penis-through-the-brain murder that mimics a moment in Scream 2 and an ejaculation that splatters Cindy against the ceiling in a rare nod to pre-Scream horror (A Nightmare on Elm Street). This sort of material initially gets big, shocked laughs but soon wears thin, especially without the Farrellys' streak of sentiment. Indeed, it hardly seems all that daring in a summer that finds a college dean being sodomised by a giant hamster in a PG-12 movie (The Nutty Professor II). A rare instance of real humour is the murder of Brenda at the hands of an audience for whom she has ruined Shakespeare in Love by talking loudly - and even that's similar to a gag in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.


Keenen Ivory Wayans
Eric L. Gold
Lee R. Mayes
Shawn Wayans
Marlon Wayans
Buddy Johnson
Phil Beauman
Jason Friedberg
Aaron Seltzer
Director of Photography
Francis Kenny
Mark Helfrich
Production Designer
Robb Wilson King
Music/Music Conductor
David Kitay
©Miramax Film Corp.
Production Companies
Miramax International/ Dimension Films present a Wayans Bros. Entertainment
Gold-Miller, Brad Grey Pictures
Executive Producers
Brad Grey
Peter Safran
Bo Zenga
Bob Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
Cary Granat
Peter Schwerin
Lisa Suzanne Blum
Associate Producer
Robb Wilson King
Executive in Charge of Production
Dimension Films:
Kevin Hyman
Production Co-ordinator
Sandra Palmer
Unit Production Managers
Lee R. Mayes
Fran Rosati
Unit Manager
Janice Frome
Location Manager
Edmund Nesling
Post-production Supervisor
Ninon Tantet
2nd Unit Director
J.J. Makaro
Assistant Directors
Michael Waxman
Susan Derkson
Jeff Mosuk
Script Supervisor
Madeleine Duff
Mary Vernieu
Anne McCarthy
Christine Sheaks
Freddy Luiz
Alex Newman
Blair Law
LA Associate:
John Barba
ADR Voices:
Barbara Harris
Loop Troop
Camera Operators
David Crone
Paul Burkett
Sandy McCallum
Bob Ennis
Roberto Contreras
Gary Armstrong
Steadicam Operators
David Crone
Jim van Dijk
Visual Effects Supervisor
Brian Jennings
Digital Visual Effects
Threshold Digital Research Labs in association with
IBM Corporation
Additional Visual Effects
Special Effects Co-ordinator
Gary Paller
Graphics Illustrator
Paolo Venturi
Sign Writer
Linda Marie Bishop
Additional Editor
Chris Jackson
Art Director
Lawrence F. Pevec
Set Decorator
Louise Roper
Marcus Endean
Scenic Artist
John B. Keys
Costume Designer
Darryle Johnson
Costume Supervisor
Michelle Baines
Key Make-up Artist
Stan Edmonds
Prosthetic & Animatronic Effects Design/Creation
Flesh & Fantasy Inc.
Key Hairstylist
Angelina P. Cameron
Linda Villalobos
Main Title
Howard Anderson
End Title/Optical
Custom Film Effects
Don Nemitz
Music Supervisor
Michael Dilbeck
Music Executive for TVT Records
Patricia Joseph
Miramax Executive in Charge of Music
Randy Spendlove
Supervising Music Editor
Charles Martin Inouye
Music Scoring Mixer
Danny Wallin
Music Consultant
Bryan Bonwell
"I Don't Want to Wait" - Paula Cole; "What What" - Public Enemy; "The Only Way to Be" - Save Ferris; "Punk Song #2" - Silverchair; "It's Raining Men" - Robert Barry and Monet; "Everybody Wants You" - The Unband; "Roll 'Em Phat" - Tony Banks; "Superfly" - Bender; "I Want Cha" - Black Eyed Peas; "All about You" - Tupac Shakur featuring Top Dogg, Nate Dogg, Dru Down; "My Bad" - Oleander; "Jump Up (If You Feel Alright)" - Da Beat Bros.; "Show Me Now" - Jodie Wilson, Lindy Robbins, Marsha Malamet; "Stay" - Radford; "Too Cool for School" - Fountains of Wayne; "I'm the Killer" - Lifelong featuring Incident; "Scary Movies" - Bad Meets Evil featuring Eminem and Royce 5'9"; "The Inevitable Return of the Great White Hope" - Blood Hound Gang; "Feel Me" - Rock, Rah Digga, Rampage; "Visit to Florida"
Sound Supervision/Design
Sandy Berman
Production Sound Mixer
Richard D. Lightstone
Re-recording Mixers
Andy D'Addario
Tim Chau
Steve Kohler
Supervising Sound Editor
John Leveque
Dialogue Editors
Bruce D. Fortune
Kim Secrist
Kimberly Lowe Voight
Mildred Iatrou Morgan
Richard E. Yawn
Additional Sound Effects Recording
Gary Blufer
Sound Effects Co-ordinator
John Michael Fanaris
Sound Effects Editors
Aaron D. Weisblatt
Steve Mann
Anthony R. Milch
Supervising Editor:
Lee Lemont
Becky Sullivan
Sarah Jacobs
Robin Harlan
Supervising Editor:
Bob Beher
Shawn Sykora
Roland N. Thai
Stunt Co-ordinator
J.J. Makaro
Fight Co-ordinator
Dean Choe
Creative Animal Talent
Animal Handlers
Mark Wiener-Dumas
Steve Woodley
Film Extract
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Jon Abrahams
Carmen Electra
Drew Decker
Shannon Elizabeth
Anna Faris
Cindy Campbell
Kurt Fuller
Regina Hall
Lochlyn Munro
Cheri Oteri
Gail Hailstorm
Dave Sheridan
Officer Doofy
Marlon Wayans
Shawn Wayans
Frank B. Moore
not Drew's boyfriend
Giacomo Baessato
Kyle Graham
Leanne Santos
trick or treaters
Mark McConchie
Drew's dad
Karen Kruper
Drew's mom
Anna Faris
Rick Ducommun
Cindy's dad
Lloyd Berry
homeless man
Matthew Paxman
annoying guy
Chris Robson
KOMQ reporter
Susan Shears
female reporter
Peter Bryant
black TV reporter
Andrea Nemeth
Craig Brunanski
road victim
Dan Joffre
cameraman Kenny
Kelly Coffield
David L. Lander
Principal Squiggy
Reg Tupper
beauty pageant MC
Tanja Reichert
Miss Congeniality
Kendall Saunders
Miss Thing
D.M. Babe Dolan
David Neale
Nels Lennarson
Nicola Crosbie
Ian Bliss
Chris Wilding
Shorty's roommate
Trevor Roberts
Glynis Davies
Buffy's mom
Jayne Trcka
Miss Mann
Peter Hanlon
suicidal teacher
Ted Cole
older man in theatre
Doreen Ramus
old lady in theatre
Lee R. Mayes
Amistad II captain
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Mark Hoeppner
Jessica Van Der Veen
woman in theatre
Jim Shepard
young man in theatre
Marissa Jaret Winokur
garage victim
Dexter Bell
Shorty's friend
Ted Gill
store clerk
James Van Der Beek
Dawson Leery
Buena Vista International (UK)
7,941 feet
88 minutes 14 seconds
Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS
Colour by
2.35:1 [Super 35]
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011