At best, the Scary Movie franchise can be labeled “weak.” Originally directed by the Wayans brothers, the series has shifted into the arms of spoof master David Zucker (Airplane!). This is hardly his finest moment.
As a parody, this fourth entry is enjoyable. Focusing on War of the Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, and finally Saw, the top sci-fi/horror films of the past few years are covered. The jokes work when you’re familiar with the source material as in any spoof, though if not, little here will appeal to you.
Scary Movie 4 heads downhill when it runs into overbearing slapstick that feels the same each time it’s tried and bathroom humor that also fails. It’s like watching a film reaching out to the audience during test marketing to see what’s actually funny. The problem is those test shots remain integral to the film.
Trailers pushed Dr. Phil and Shaq, and yet they never appear in the finished product. King Kong is plastered on the DVD cover, and there’s no Kong parody to be found either. Deleted scenes reveal nothing of the sort either leading to some belief that intentional (and odd) misleading marketing was intentional.
The cast is fine, perfectly in sync with star Craig Bierko. Leslie Nielsen is wasted as the president however. His screen time is far too brief. Everyone here “gets it” as they camp it up in their attempt to gain an audience.
Hollywood needs the spoof genre. Some films are tailor made to be shredded at the hands of a parody master. That should have happened here with Zucker and equally funny Jim Abrahams at the writing helm. Sadly, fans will need to wait for the already announced fifth entry for that to happen.
The first film in the franchise shot in HD, it’s a perfect fit for the new format. Colorful and vibrant, the movie looks stunning. Very slight noise works its way into the backgrounds at times, and minor compression shows up in bright reds. Facial detail in close-ups is phenomenal, and nearly unmatched by any other disc in the still young format.