These days, a good spoof is so hard to find. Thanks to ZAZ (brothers Jerry and David Zucker, along with Jim Abrahams), the ’80s ushered in a wave of spoofs that no one since has even come close to equaling. Airplane!, Top Secret!, The Naked Guns, both Hot Shots!; even the Wayans Brothers were already in on the action with their own I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Mel Brooks was capitalizing on the successful formula with his own classics, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, History of the World: Part I, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs. Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It were still better than most.
Yes, the world of spoof seemed like it could not be stopped. Unfortunately, for the new direct-to-video spoof, Supernatural Activity, even Scary Movie 3 and 4, or Superhero Movie provided more yuks. The best we’ve seen over the years are Undercover Brother and Black Dynamite, with the absolute best being Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. As you can see, there are, and always will be, tries to keep the lampooning going. Sadly, it seems as if the golden years are thoroughly behind us. Who knows, maybe with David Zucker and Pat Proft writing Scary Movie 5 with Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother) directing, it can yield new hope. But if the crew behind Supernatural Activity are any indication, the world of spoofing is still better left to the pros.
The title, Supernatural Activity, actually refers to a crew of misfits running a TV show dedicated to the world of the supernatural. Damon Dealer (Andrew Pozza, who also wrote the film), leads with his editor Brett (Brett Houston), adding orbs and manipulating footage; Brock (Donny Boaz), providing the McConaughey looks who wants to take over the show; Pepper (Jerry Oglesby), who thinks shot guns are more appropriate to ghost busting than EVP machines and calls the Bible his reality TV; and Blair Woods (Liddy Bisanz), a psychic Damon discovered at a strip joint. Damon has teamed up with documentarian Tuck Thomas (Philip Marlatt) to disprove his own TV show so that he can get away from it all, settle down, and marry Blair. She on the other hand, just wants to use the season finale to prove her own theory that a yeti-demon called Smallsquatch really exists in the heart of Hicksville, Texas.
Let the blender spin as everything Pozza and director Derek Lee Nixon can think of get tossed in to decent effect for about 40 minutes. Unfortunately, Pulp Fiction and Star Wars jokes feel as old as they are while The Office and Lost are completely out of place. At least The Office is filmed documentary-style but that’s about the only reason for it to be included. Meanwhile, everything from The Last Exorcism to the one that started it all, The Blair Witch Project get thrown in front of the bus even if they can’t quite manage to get them under it. There’s a particular zaniness to the first 40 minutes that make it fly by rather nicely, it’s when the film shifts gears and takes on the plots of The Last Exorcism, Paranormal Activity, and Blair Witch, that things take a turn for the worst and any kind of laughs screech to an abrupt halt. While the filmmakers may have at least half a decent movie, the second half is so bad, Supernatural Activity rightfully belongs a direct-to-video affair and hits shelves on November 6.