Scary MoVie

Spoof movie franchise goes limp

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• Iron Man 3 ★★★½
• Identity Thief ★★

Scary Movie 5

Rating Scary MoVieScary MoVieScary MoVieScary MoVie

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. Starring Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Terry Crews, Ashley Tisdale, Kate Walsh, Anthony Anderson, Heather Locklear, Molly Shannon, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko, Jasmine Guy, Mike Tyson, Angie Stone, Macsen Lintz, Kevin Hart, Simon Rex. Written by David Zucker, Malcolm D. Lee.

It really says something about your movie when Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are the most memorable things in it. They appear in the film for about three minutes, in a prologue sequence that culminates with a fast-motion Benny Hill sex scene gag. At about half a century past its prime, this is the high point of the film. 

Yes, it’s Scary Movie 5 (or, as in promotional material, Scary MoVie), the (belated) fifth film in the spoof franchise that died with the last film in 2006 and should have stayed buried. Apparently, A Haunted House didn’t plumb enough spoof movie depths, so here’s something even worse.

In the horror genre, there’s no shortage of recent films ripe for spoofing: the Paranormal Activity series, the Saw franchise, Final Destination, Resident Evil, Underworld, Silent Hill…the list goes on, all series of films that follow the same formulas and contain the same familiar clichés, all the better for ribbing. There was even a recent Scream film, which the original Scary Movie – the only half-decent flick in this series – memorably parodied. 

So take a guess: what film(s) does this fifth film send up?

If you said Black Swan and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you’re correct. No? What about Inception? Paranormal Activity 2 is also referenced to get things back on track – not the more recent films in that series, but specifically the second outing. Clearly, this thing was conceived (and shot?) a few years back.

But timeliness is key, so earlier this year someone decided to reshoot most of the movie as a direct spoof of Mama and then rush in into cinemas before it reaches its expiration date. Again. Yes, Mama, which was reasonably successful but by no means the kind of fashionably popular film you can build a spoof around. I’d be surprised if the majority of the audience for this film has seen – or even heard of – Mama.

What’s the actual movie like? I was mildly amused by precisely one sequence: a sendup of the demonic pool cleaner from Paranormal Activity 2, which is a few years outdated and not really funny, but a reminder of how unintentionally hilarious that film was. And my goodness, that actor they got for the Inception bit is a dead ringer for Leo DiCaprio

Otherwise, there’s nothing to see here; I frequently found myself lost in a haze while the movie unfolded, checking my watch every few minutes. Despite the short running time – under 80 minutes, without credits, this thing feels unmanageably long. 

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It’s also a complete mess without a single genuine laugh. Simon Rex is James Franco from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Ashley Tisdale is Natalie Portman from Black Swan; together they’re the parents of the little girls from Mama. A Morgan Freeman soundalike narrator tries in vain to tie together the random skits while the parade of c-list cameos (Mike Tyson, Snopp Dogg) shows up to collect a paycheck. 

And that’s the amount of thought and effort that went into the making of Scary MoVie, which succeeds only in falling beneath the bar Sheen and Lohan have set for themselves at this point in their careers.

Also opening: 

  • Jedlíci aneb Sto kilo lásky (showtimes), a comedy from director Tomáš Magnusek (Bastardi). Screening in Czech.

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