The Scary Movie franchise has always been an uneven one , but rewatching this one for the first time since it was released in 2003, I was truly surprised by how much I laughed while watching it. Yes, it’s silly and juvenile and yes, nearly as many jokes flop as succeed, but at a brisk 84 minutes it doesn’t have time to wear out its welcome.
Given that the plot is a parody of movies released in the early part of the last decade, knowledge of those movies is essential to get all of the jokes. This does sort of put an expiration date on the jokes. Anyone who can’t remember or wasn’t around during that time will miss out on many of the pop culture references. While I remembered the main ones, there was a joke involving twins that completely passed me by until after I finished watching and read that it was a spoof of a beer commercial that has long since passed out of pop culture consciousness.
One thing that I enjoyed about this installment is that unlike others in this series–and in the far too many other parody films that have been released–it actually possesses a fairly coherent plot. It blends The Ring and Signs and does it in a way that makes fairly good sense. Those two movies create the main plot, but it throws in lots of other parodies as well, including 8 Mile, The Matrix, The Others and many others. Some of the parodies get their own scenes while others are just quick throwaways, such as Leslie Nielsen referring to a photo of Harrison Ford in the White House as President Ford or when Nielsen busts into a room to say a line he made famous in the father of all parody films, Airplane.
Anna Faris, who for my money is the funniest actress working today, reprises her role of Cindy. This time around she’s playing the Naomi Watts part from The Ring. Cindy becomes romantically involved with George, who is a combination of Joaquin Phoenix from Signs and Eminem from 8 Mile. In this version, they believe that the killer video tape was created by the aliens who made the crop circles. Charlie Sheen takes the Mel Gibson role from that film. Regina Hall, who is the only other actor to appear in all of the Scary Movies, gets a funny scene where she goes toe-to-toe with the ghost from The Ring. Something about her voice always makes laugh.
There are many funny scenes and lines, including the following exchange which is my favorite moment in the entire film. After watching the creepy video tape, Cindy receives a phone call. For those of you who remember The Ring, you’ll know that when she answers, a voice will tell her that she has just 7 days to live, but here things go a little differently.