Review: ‘Scary Movie 4’

Well, it’s better than Scary Movie 3: Honey, I Sunk the Franchise.

Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) is back, this time haunted by the kid from The Grudge. Meanwhile, Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko) has his hands full running from an invasion of Tr-iPods (apparently, Apple’s handy little gadgets REALLY intend to take over the world). Look for the return of Brenda (Regina Hall), plus cameos by Bill Pullman, Anthony Anderson, Carmen Electra, Molly Shannon, Chris Elliott, and Michael Madsen… and once again Leslie Nielsen as “The President.”

What’s amazing about these movies is how much plot the writers actually come up with trying to string the ripped-off ideas of a dozen thrillers together. In fact, Scary Movie 3 became so bogged down in its own plot that the comedy took a back seat. Well, good news, because the funny stuff is (mostly) back! Still convoluted in pointless plot, at least this time someone scripted the gags first and the plot second (again, mostly).

It would be pointless to go through the movie gag by gag, especially for those wanting to see it, but previous films ripped off include War of the Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, and Saw. Similar to Scary Movie 3 where the spoof effects were nearly as good as the films they were spoofing, Scary Movie 4 is also as invested in their effects budget, just leaning more toward the actual funny stuff this time. The worst victim of the spoof is Saw, which, like the Scream Ghostface killer getting high, doesn’t ruin the Saw series so much as it celebrates it.

Sadly, original material to keep the Scary Movie series seems to be in short demand, especially when going after epic blockbusters like War of the Worlds for source material instead of more slasher and low-budget breakout thrillers. But with another Saw film being promised, Rob Zombie’s take on Halloween in the pipeline, and Indie cult films like Leslie Vernon: Behind the Mask finally seeing the light of the cinema, perhaps all is not lost yet.

(a two and a half skull recommendation out of four)

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