Scary Movie 2

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"My Germs! "

April 15th, 2013

While I was able to write in defence of the first Scary movie which has gathered a tarnished reputation over the years the same can't be said about the sequels. To prepare to watch Scary Movie 5 I thought it best to work my way through the existing franchise each decline in quality as the films progress so my level of expectations should be lowered to the correct level. Even so Scary Movie 2 is not all bad.

The first thing I need to cover is why there was actually a need to produce a follow up. Of course it comes down to the ridiculous amount of money the first movie made but I thought it was an odd choice to actually continue in the same vein as the first. The majority of spoof movies out there rarely have sequels (aside from Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies but they had great characters in their own right) which usually comes down to the fact that they are usually parodying a full genre using every possible reference and story plot point. While many do go on to produce more spoofs (most of Mel Brooks's filmography is made up of such films) they usually switch genres and characters. Even they Scary Movie poster itself used the tag line No sequel but decided to return to the well for another go around.

Even though I rolled my eyes at the announcement of a sequel I have to give the Wayans credit where it's due as they actually had me looking forward to another outing from the trailer. With most of the cast returning from the original (well the best members Anna Faris ,Regina Hall, the Wayans) the previews appeared to be sending up that there was even a sequel by addressing the fact that everyone died in the first film (much in the way Scream 2 handled the follow up). Even the poster amused me by addressing the tag of the first with the line We Lied. Moving away from the slasher genre this movie made the side step in the sub genre of Haunted house Ghost movies. It was at this point I realised that the franchise actually had a larger potential than I had originally considered especially the wealth of subsets within horror. Alas it wasn't to be.

The Plot really lacks in comparison to the first movie. Initially a parody of The Haunting the cast of young adults (who have moved on from high school to college) spend the weekend at a creepy mansion for a study into paranormal activity. Once there the plot takes a backseat to a variety of sketches and madcap antics.

The first disappointment had to be that many of the sequences used in the trailer where missing from the final product. For some unknown reason references to the previous movie had been exercised (It was one of the main hooks that got me into the cinema) so the expected satire of sequels was all but absent. I was also disappointed to discover that the films ending had been changed in post production (this is not a spoiler as it is not part of the film). Originally it would have been revealed that all the characters from the first movie where actually ghosts having died in the last film. This would have given the film a strong finish perfectly fitting to the genre parody and ties as a genuine sequel. There were actually multiple endings filmed as it seemed the production was unsure of the tone and direction of the movie which clearly comes across on screen.

The movie itself is amazingly scattershot unable to focus on any real direction meaning that the film is just a series of sketches. That's not a particularly bad thing considering that what we get for the most part is laugh out loud funny (which is a plus for a comedy) but more often than not things remain unrelated. The best example would have to be the opening to the film which is a strong send up of The Exorcist and Amityville horror films. Featuring James Woods as an inappropriate priest it is the highlight of the entire movie and yet the sequence holds no significance to the rest of the film. The characters here never reappear (which is a dam shame as I'd watch a whole film featuring James Woods' character) and the events are never mentioned. The only link is that it is meant to be the same house (although that's a stretch).

As I said this isn't really an issue considering how funny things are but it means the movie is not as strong as it could have been. It's also a damming element that plagues the films that follow as filmmakers have latched onto the franchises weak link as an excuse to serve up any old crap to maximise profits (we'll get to that in another review).

There's also the issue that the Haunted house parody seems a rather poor substitute for the slasher material of the first. Not in terms of quality but due to the limited amount of movies they have to send up. For a spoof to really work you need to send up films that people have familiarity with (even if they haven't seen them). At the time this film was released there were a few spooky movies out (What Lies Beneath, Thirteen Ghosts) but not enough to cover the entire run time. As such Scary Movie 2 tends to lean on sending up other genres and popular culture at the time from Mission Impossible 2 to Nike Adverts. While it's true some of this made its way into Scary Movie 1 (In the UK we actually saw the Wassup phase begin in the movie before the bud adverts hit our TV's) it was not overwhelming. This is another factor which will be taken to the extreme in the following sequels making the Scary Movie moniker somewhat redundant.

Fortunately the Wayans do use this opportunity to serve us up a lot more original content with the characters that is not reliant upon parody and mimicry. It keeps things fresh and the interactions between the cast are a definite highlight especially given the elevated star quality part 2 has drawn in. Tim Curry, David Cross and Chris Elliott all appear in significant roles and put the rest of the cast to shame. In fact Cross and Elliott's banter throughout is a particular highlight and while it pokes fun at disability it's all light-hearted stuff.

While I enjoyed much of the brash humour this is where jokes in the franchise began to run on longer than they needed to pushing the humour down our throats when we were more than ready to move onto something different. It also sees an increase of bathroom humour something which I fail to find amusing since moving past the age of 5 (Of course it was present in the original but not to the same extent). Gross out comedy for myself tiptoes a fine line and watching someone fart or shit themselves should not in itself be a punchline to a joke (or indeed just a joke in itself).

Scary Movie 2 is a passable movie (with squandered potential) that can be fun if watched once (and quite grating a second time through). As it stands this was the last good movie in the series, the last to feature the Wayans and the last to feature adult (not grown up) comedy. It's probably best to stop watching the films here.

Other reviews in the series

Scary Movie
Scary Movie 3
Scary Movie 4

Other Spoof Reviews

Stan Helsing

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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director:Keenen Ivory Wayans
Screenplay: Shawn Wayans
Marlon Wayans
(+ 2 others)
Released: 2001
Starring: Anna Faris
Regina Hall
Marlon Wayans