the first scary movie, aka scary movie 1, still holds the record as one of the biggest opening/highest grossing in miramax/dimension history. it’s also very much a product of its time: it came out mere five months after scream 3, the last of the original scream trilogy, the weakest of the three screams. in fact, the scary movies outgross (pun intended) the scream series. it’s no surprise that the studio wanted a part 2 almost exactly a year after scary movie 1, much like the first two entries of the scream series. so a year after scary movie 1, scary movie 2 was rushed into theatres.
while scary movie 1 parodies and satirizes the scream movies, the lean one year time period between the two scary movies leaves scary movie 2 not much to make fun of.
instead of focusing on one target, scary movie 2 seems to locate targets wherever it can. it’s as if they simply look at the weekly box office result and make things up on the spot. the opening sequence is a parody of the exorcist, which surprised everyone the previous fall making a splash at the box office with the exorcist 2000: the version you’ve never seen. before the opening credit even starts rolling, we get the standard low brow elements of piss, puke, and white people singing hip hop, with james woods filling in for the ill marlon brando along with andy richter as priest dealing with the possessed natasha lyonne. it is more or less what you expect from the wayans’ scary movie 1 i supposed, only not as funny.
things get worse from there as scary movie 2 follows the young people trapped in a haunted house/mansion. it’s futile to do any kind of plot synopsis since it follows that formula so closely and at the same time, jokes are gathered from anywhere the filmmakers’ minds wander.
keenen is back as director while marlon and shawn wayans are back as stars, along with regina hall and anna faris (who kind of demands your attention in an empty movie like this). it’s a less star-studded affair than the first one. the newcomers this time are chris elliott, who singlehandedly represents the gross elements without the funny parts. there’s tim curry as the mastermind behind the project who wisely and mysteriously disappears halfway through the movie. there’s also tori spelling (who may be the only actor in both scream and scary movie series), and kathleen robertson. the big brother from malcolm in the middle, and real life brother of steven hyde from that 70s show plays the lead male protagonist. but most of the successful gags go to david cross as the wheelchair bound scientist sidekick to curry.
probably because of the rush, scary movie 2 lacks the topical targets compare to the first one. though not a critical darling, having seen the scream trilogy definitely helps my enjoyment of scary movie 1. scary movie 2 unfortunately has to reach back to the 70s for its targets (exorcist, poltergeist, amityville, hellhouse…), were the 90s horror remakes like the haunting and 13 ghosts memorable enough to be satirize? i don’t think so. it also doesn’t help that i have not seen neither the original or the remake of the horror movies spoofed here.
humor is a subjective thing. i can understand people complaining scary movie 1’s low brow humor or simply saying the jokes are not funny. but in scary movie 2, there aren’t even enough bad jokes to complain about. there are long stretch of the film where it almost feels like an actual bad horror movie.
another problem is that when they actually bother with a joke, the targets are either non-horror and by now forgettable. there is a mission impossible 2 parody where instead of motorcycle it’s two wheelchairs. sure, m:i 2 was a hit at the box office but do most people remember or want to talk about the movie afterwards? other even at the time outdated parodies include a nike commercial (which i recognized it was a parody of something but have to look it up afterwards to find out what it was), the twister cow (which came out five years before scary movie 2), what lies beneath (one of harrison ford’s worst movies down there with indy 4), and rocky iv/raging bull. there’s also a charlie’s angels parody (with the same prodigy song) that wouldn’t feel out of place in the actual charlie’s angels movie. and that was more or less a half parody to begin with.the wayans are also not above repeating the same jokes from scary movie 1, except it was done bigger and better. though the jokes fail, it did give us this:
the idle pacing in a movie like this is crucial. the airplane/hot shots/naked gun series (by the zaz team who took over the scary movie franchise after the wayans brothers left after this movie) work so well and remain the classics of the genre because of its fast pacing of jokes throwing at you, so we are more likely to tolerate the bad jokes.
i don’t think i laugh more than five times during its scant 83 minute run time. for the record, i do like scary movie 1 and don’t be a menace to south central while drinking your juice in the hood. the unrelated not another teen movie is also entertaining mostly because i’m more familiar with the source material. though i haven’t seen white chicks or little man, or the more recent ones like date movie, disaster movie, epic movie, meet the spartans…etc. i did watch 10 minutes of vampires suck and it looks pretty funny, mostly cause my hatred for the twilight movies. scary movie 2 is the turning point in the genre warning us of the things to come. instead of the airplane level parody where jokes are created, they simply recreate scenes they want to make fun of but don’t seem to know how.
scary movie 2 is currently available on netflix instant.
1.5/4 (mostly for the brunette anna faris circa early 00s before she looks shinny and plastic. and kathleen robertson.)