Directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 1080p (AVC codec)
Running Time: 88 minutes
Audio: PCM 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French; 2.0 Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Review Date: October 21, 2007
What the Zucker brothers (with Jim Abrahams) did to Zero Hour with their hit film Airplane!, the Wayans brothers do to Scream with Scary Movie. It’s not subtle or tasteful either, but it can be fall down funny, and the parody of (then) recent slasher and thriller films can sometimes be dead-on (pun intended). Even with a cast of mostly marginally talented actors in the leading roles, the comedy still works often, and at the end of the day, that’s about all you can ask from a satirical farce such as this.
Three couples find themselves being menaced by a psycho killer in a white fright mask (which keeps changing expressions): there is sweet good girl Cindy (Anna Faris) with her eager-for-sex boy friend Bobby (Jon Abrahams), bitchy beauty queen Buffy (Shannon Elizabeth) with studly boy friend Greg (Lochlyn Munro), and no nonsense Brenda (Regina Hall) with homoeroticized Ray (Shawn Wayans). Also operating in their orbit are goofy officer Doofy (Dave Sheridan), TV reporter Gail (Cheri Oteri), and drugged out hipster Shorty (Marlon Wayans). The three couples were responsible for the death of a fisherman some time back, and now they’re afraid he (or his spirit) is seeking revenge.
If that scenario seems more reminiscent of I Know What You Did Last Summer, it most certainly is as the screenplay by six different hands (Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer) plus the director’s almost certain guiding touch has amalgamated that Kevin Williamson-penned horror movie and folded in some nods to The Blair Witch Project, The Usual Suspects, The Matrix, The Sixth Sense along with the first two Scream thrillers (which Williamson also wrote).
It’s a scattershot approach to comedy writing which hits its targets maybe sixty per cent of the time. Things get desperate when the comedy turns overly raunchy (a penis through an ear, a pubic hair forest, all of the drug humor that‘s a complete waste of time), and those moments are never nearly as hilarious as the purely satirical nods to the genre pictures in question.
Of the actors, I found Shawn Wayans’ gay/not gay character very funny. Anna Faris makes a blandly engaging ingénue while her on-screen boy friend Jon Abrahams is also likable. On the other hand, Dave Sheridan and especially Marlon Wayans tote their over-the-top histrionics to new heights of embarrassment. Keenan Ivory Wayans’ direction seems assured in staging the scenes and various antics, but he doesn’t seem to exert much control over the actors whose performances are truly all over the map.
The 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented here in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Miramax has obviously done a new HD master for the film because all of the glaring problems with the previous DVD release (some scenes overly dark and grainy, repeated haze and pixilation, some sharpness issues) are for the most part gone. Flesh tones are very true, sharpness and dimensionality are excellent, and there are no age related blemishes at all. It actually looks like a brand new film. Average shadow detail is really the only quibble I have with the visual look of this disc. The film has been divided into 17 chapters.
The uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack (48kHz/16 bit, 4.6Mbps) is disappointingly front heavy filtering music into the rear channels but little else, typical of many comedy films. The LFE channel is also underused. Still, it’s a half step up from the Dolby Digital 5.1 track which is a bit more anemic and shaded.
All of the special features have been ported over from the standard definition DVD release.
A 7-minute behind-the-scenes featurette (in 480i) offers very little of substance with the Wayans brothers basically holding center stage as they complain about how hard the work was in making the film.
Six deleted scenes (all in 480i) are presented on the disc, but none of the scenes, apart from one very quick sight gag with Shawn Wayans’ gay football player, were of sufficient quality to be included in the finished film. These scenes run a total of 7½ minutes.
The theatrical trailer (in 480i) gives away some of the best gags, but it is included on the disc. It runs about 1½ minutes.
The movie showcase which spotlights three scenes the producers feel are reference quality material is also offered as a bonus feature. The three scenes chosen all come from the first third of the movie.
The only high definition bonus feature on the disc is a series of trailers for three upcoming theatrical and Blu-ray releases: National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, and The Invisible.
Scary Movie won’t win any prizes for propriety, but it is an unquestionably funny movie. The Blu-ray disc is by far the best ever representation of this film for the home entertainment market.