Scary Movie 4

2 stars


11th July 2006

Bang! Famous basketball player Shaquille O'Neal has hit his head on a sink in the opening few seconds of Scary Movie 4. Bang! He's done it again, just another second later. And with that, I'm already bored with this latest, wheezing instalment of nobody's favourite horror spoof series. Seriously, when the time has come that you've run out of horror movies to rip the piss out of, it's funnier not to bother at all. Scary Movie 4 is the equivalent of the kid at school who told the most obvious joke at every given opportunity, the one who thought of himself as a 'clown' but actually had nothing else in the way of personality - you remember him, he was probably ginger. That's probably the best way to describe Scary Movie 4: the buck-toothed, red-headed stepchild of actual, proper horror movies.

I'm all for a good spoofing (that word still looks odd written down) but this is beyond scraping the bottom of the barrel; it's clawing through the broken splinters of the bottom of the barrel with bloody fingers and a snotty nose. Up for ridicule this time around? The plot, if you can call it that, pieces together various elements of War of the Worlds and The Grudge for the most part, with further sequences lifted from The Village and other recent horror movies. Storylines are clumsily mashed together in a highly nonsensical fashion (the ending, a piss-take of Saw, takes place in the head of a tripod) and a love story between Cindy (Anna Faris) and Tom (Craig Bierko) feels like its been knocked up in post-production to give the film something approaching a narrative. It's just all over the place; fair enough point the finger at faintly ridiculous horror flicks like Saw if you wish (Christ knows it was pretentious enough) but seriously; a Brokeback Mountain scene? A Million Dollar Baby parody? Isn't this supposed to be Scary Movie? Ah well, I guess when they ripped off 8 Mile in the third one I should have seen this coming.

Of course, all of this whinging doesn't mean diddly if the jokes hit the spot, but you've probably already figured out that the gags are getting a little tired by the number in the film's title. Ha ha! Anna Faris got hit in the face with a baseball! Ho ho! She just got hit in the face again, this time by a football! Hee hee! I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever laugh again! There's little-to-no intelligent writing here; all the gags are purely visual and of the physical comedy variety, and when your director is an old hand like David Zucker - the man who gave the world Airplane and The Naked Gun - it's just not enough. Much of Scary Movie 4 is Americanized (scenes with Dr. Phil will probably have European audiences scratching their heads) and even worse, it often manages to be less funny than some of things it's trying to mock. We don't need any help to laugh at Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch, thank you very much.

Okay, so those of you with a base sense of humour will probably get a few kicks out of some of the more crass sequences - you throw enough shit at a wall, some of it's bound to stick. But fart jokes and crappy slapstick does not a funny movie make; Scary Movie 4 only really succeeds in making you want to watch the films it's lampooning. Awful reviews have not stopped this series going from continuing to rake in the big money so far, so I can only urge those of you with an iota of intelligence to boycott it and go and see something a little more stimulating instead. However, if you think you want to see a movie in which Charlie Sheen gets a gigantic boner AND Carmen Electra takes an extremely loud dump, then don't waste any more time reading.

More:  Horror  Comedy  Sequels
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