On July 7, 2000, Scary Movie ushered in a new breed of spoof movies. While it was a huge crowd pleaser, garnering $278 million worldwide, it still wasn’t up to par with the likes of the ZAZ crew of brothers David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. Since the first Scary Movie, there has been a steady decline in quality. Not only did most critics hate Scary Movies 2, 3, and 4, we also had to suffer through the succession of movies brought to us by Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, Vampires Suck). Yes, the days of Airplane!, Top Secret!, The Naked Guns and Hot Shots! are truly over.
Now it seems that these films are being rightfully banished to the direct-to-video dump where they belong. After having already suffered through Supernatural Activity a mere two months ago, now an even worse offender has been wrought in the form of 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from the same man who “treated” us to The 41-Year-Old-Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It. Trust me when I say that the films found within his titles are no more imaginative than that. Writer/director Craig Moss is running with the Seltzer/Friedberg template that string a bunch of movie/TV/commercial references together cobbled alongside fart, piss, and dick jokes, thinking he’s got himself the funniest movie you’ll ever see. I think not.
30 Nights begins with a Storage Wars episode spoof now called “Storage Battles,” wherein two sisters have just bought a storage unit for $75. Inside they find Adele (Melissa Fosse-Dunne) playing a piano and a VHS tape labeled “Found Footage.” The two sisters decide to watch the tape which consists of a documentary about Dana (Kathryn Fiore) who is off to visit her father Herb (French Stewart), who’s been locked up in the world’s best psychiatric hospital located in Italy where the nurses include Mario and Luigi. Herb has been locked away after being possessed and killing the entire cast of The Artist back in 1989. (See what kind of logic Moss thinks is funny?)
Dana moves on with her life and gets married on the Bachelor to Aaron (Flip Schultz), who has a kid of his own, Liz (Olivia Alexander). While Dana and Aaron have a kid of their own, Liz grows up to be a lesbian goth covered in piercings with a penchant for tattoos, posting selfshot nude pics online, spying on her wood chopping Abe Lincoln (Ben Morrison) neighbor, who takes date rape advice from their gay housekeeper Felipe (Arturo del Puerto) to heart. Meanwhile, Dana and Aaron come to the conclusion their house is haunted and call in the “Ghost Brothers” for help. But there’s not just bumps in the night; Dana also becomes possessed and stands next to the bed filming Aaron getting blowjobs from the family dog. Now it’s time to break out the big guns and call in an exorcist (Danny Woodburn) to cleanse the house and save the family.
Thank Jeebus we have Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg doing these films right with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Even Scary Movie 3 and 4 or Superhero Movie show more wit and provide actual laughs than anything found here. At the end of the film, one of the “Storage” sisters calls the video they just watched (i.e. the entire movie), “the biggest piece of crap video” she’s ever seen. And I’d have to agree. Just because you can make a movie, doesn’t mean you should. Sorry Moss, there’s nothing here that warrants even so much as a rental unless you want to stare at your screen for 75 minutes (not counting end credits) waiting to even so much as smirk. Some other jokes Moss thinks are funny: having a Steve Jobs lookalike holed up in Liz’s room, and a woman dressed as a redneck man from a security company called “Kaulk and Busch” who makes sexual advances on both Dana and Aaron. Not to mention the movie’s inciting incident doesn’t even make sense. When you spend more time pondering how the characters keep referencing The Artist from 1989 when it just came out last year, you’ve got yourself some bigger issues.
The video quality is about what you’d expect from DVD. It’s anamorphic and has an aspect ratio of 1.78 with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The rear speakers rarely come into use, aside from one scene where the baby has a party in the house resulting in a neighbor being tasered. The only special features are a Blu-ray vanity reel, a “Behind the Scenes” featurette, and some “Sneak Peeks” for other, and far better, Fox releases such as The League and the Duplass Brothers’ The Do-Deca-Pentatholon. Skip the teaser for Wrong Turn 5. So as maligned we may be about the two spoof movies coming soon via Hollywood – A Haunted House opens this weekend and Scary Movie 5 is set for April – I can only imagine that those will seem like comedic masterpieces compared to what’s thrown at viewers during the entire runtime of 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is available now, so don’t even bother with this one.
Cover art and photos courtesy 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment