Scary Movie 2

I saw this movie with my buddy on July 5, 2001 at my local cinema which, sadly, went out of business the same year. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve ever had at the movies. Looking back, I’m reminded of the time I saw Problem Child 2 with my mom during a trip to the United States way back in 1991. Both are gross-out comedy sequels that were only made because the originals made money. (Although, the Scary Movie franchise has been far more successful and the 4th installment will be released in theatres on April 14.)

The Scary Movie franchise exists in the first place because of Scream, one of the most influential horror films in recent years. As is well known, the working title for Scream was Scary Movie.

Believe it or not, as an aside, this is not the first time a film called Scary Movie has been released. The first appears to be a little-seen 1991 horror film that starred Butch Patrick from The Munsters and John Hawkes (who was in Me And You And Everyone We Know), who made his debut in this movie. The movie features the music of the Butthole Surfers.

For more on the film, which I’ve not seen, check out director Daniel Erickson’s website.

Apparently, the film has never had a national release and only played in Austin, Texas where it was filmed. I don’t believe it’s on either VHS or DVD.

Back to Scary Movie 2. I wrote this review sometime in the summer of 2001 on my brand new PC (which I am typing on as I write this). I was trying to get published and was able to get an article accepted into The Hamilton Spectator. I wrote this review and submitted it to a website that politely rejected it through an email. I reworked it and tried another website. Same deal. No dice.

I originally had two drafts of this review and have decided to make some changes in order to present a more timeless review. Gone are the references to Scary Movie 3 which has come and gone and, at this point in time, remains unseen by me. In the first draft, I wrote that this was one of the worst movies of the year which is now changed to “one of the worst films of 2001.” One paragraph has been greatly reduced for rhythm purposes. In the previous drafts I mentioned the movies that are made fun of in Scary Movie 2 and argued that you don’t even have to see the original movies to know where the jokes are. If you’ve seen the ads, you know where they’re going with their satire. It took too long to make that point, so I’ve made it here instead, excising it from the final review.

The original ending from that first draft replaces the revised ending of the second draft which speculated on the then-forthcoming Scary Movie 3.

I hope all of that is straightforward. And now, my assessment of Scary Movie 2.

By Dennis Earl

There’s a sequence in Scary Movie 2 that painfully shows its sophomoric desperation. It’s a parody of The Exorcist, specifically the famous vomit scene. In the original film, the possessed child, Regan, spits up a bowl of split-pea soup all over the unsuspecting Father Karras, hoping to scare him out of her bedroom. In Scary Movie 2, they don’t actually make fun of the scene, they extend its running time and overload it with more vomit. This means that not only does the tortured young girl get to vomit on priest Andy Richter, he gets to vomit on her in return which makes the other priest (James Woods) vomit on the kid and pretty soon we’ve got a 3-way puke-a-thon happening. The scene could’ve worked if it actually made fun of something. Instead, it merely picks up the moment from the original film and gets carried away with it. More puke doesn’t mean more laughs.

There are so many equally gross and unfunny sight gags like that that I spent most of the time watching the movie with a permanent wince on my face. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Scary Movie 2 tried to skewer supernatural horror films the same way the original made fun of teen slasher movies. I didn’t like the original Scary Movie at all, with the exception of a few effective gags. I don’t think it’s possible to goof on movies like the Scream pictures when those films are already making inside jokes. I also found it to be so depressing and downbeat and gross that it was hard to get into the rhythm of the comedy. Scary Movie 2, I’m afraid, is even worse. It has no rhythm at all. It’s one of the worst films of 2001.

Movies like this don’t depend on plot, they depend on laughs. Scary Movie 2 comes from a long line of gag-a-minute comedies which date all the way back to 1975’s Kentucky Fried Movie. It wasn’t until Airplane! was released 5 years later that the genre started to catch on. Many imitators later, we have this movie which is less of a satire and more of a test of the audience’s endurance for gross-out material. It’s a John Waters movie with a bigger budget.

The plot: Professor Tim Curry and his handicapped assistant, David Cross (from Mr. Show) convince some high school kids (the familiar faces of the original film) to inhabit a house they believe is haunted under false pretenses.

Now forget what I just told you. It means nothing. Besides, the movie doesn’t properly lay the groundwork for big, funny payoffs anyway. Instead, we get one useless, gross gag after another. A bird that defecates on a wall, a rape of a possessed clown (don’t ask), a odd butler (Chris Elliott) with a bizarre habit of doing disgusting things around food, James Woods jumping on top of the possessed child (she’s 12, guy), Woods praying on the toilet for relief from constipation while bees swarm him and cover his face, and on and on and on.

Much of the movie wreaks of deadline desperation. The Wayans Brothers had no idea Scary Movie would be a big hit. The sequel reveals how unprepared they were to tackle the recent supernatural films only a year after the original’s release.

The only effective horror movie scene parody is a quick riff on the famous scene in Hannibal where Ray Liotta’s lid is removed from his head. When you see who’s lurking in Shawn Wayans’ head, it’s a very big laugh, the biggest in the movie. There are a few chuckles as well but they’re not directly related to scene parodies. Wayans gets in a good dig about Whitney Houston’s pot use before being smoked as a joint himself by a giant, vengeful, marijuana plant.

Another problem I had was the constant battering of Anna Faris’ character. She’s a pretty, likeable actor who is wasting her time with this series of films. And speaking of Faris, why is her character in this movie in the first place? If you remember, her character is based on the Neve Campbell character, Sydney, from the Scream movies. What does Sydney have to do with parodies of The Haunting, The Exorcist and all of these other horror films? Why are the other cast members here as well, especially those who were killed off in Scary Movie? Wouldn’t it have made better sense to hire different actors who somewhat resemble the actual characters from the movies being skewered here?

I don’t know why I even bother. The movie is a complete waste of time and if you must see it, don’t eat beforehand.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 20, 2006
3:14 a.m.
Published in: on February 20, 2006 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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