Anna Faris returns as Cindy Campbell in the fourth installment of the popular “Scary Movie” franchise and your favorite horror films will never be the same.
Continuing the tradition of lampooning the horror genre that was established in the three previous segments, Scary Movie 4 takes aim at SAW, War of the Worlds, The Grudge and The Village while countless other pop culture shows and events are lambasted.
The film is pretty much a collection of scenes that are designed to mimic other films for comedic results so as such, only a very minimal plot is in place. In this case, the story follows War of the Worlds where a down and out father named Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), must stay one step ahead of an alien invasion and protect his two estranged children from the devastation unleashed by the invaders.
Without the concerns of a plot to follow, the movie jumps from one locale to another in order to parody the various genre films. One segment has Cindy escaping the aliens by leaving her “Grudge” inspired house to reunite with her friend Brenda (Regina Hall), only to be thrust into an extended parody of The Village while Tom and company continue their parody of War of the Worlds”. While this may seem hectic to some, the film pulls it off very well as there are other subplots to follow such as Leslie Nielsen’s hilarious take as the President who is more concerned over the outcome of a children’s book then the fact that aliens are destroying the country.
Once again directed by David Zucker who took over the franchise after Scary Movie 2, the film uses the same style that made Zucker’s Airplane and Naked Gun series such box office favorites. Jokes ranging from the crude to the absurd fly at record pace inundating the audience with a torrent of jokes. As before, some jokes are truly inspired such as the Shaq and Dr. Phil parody of SAW and others take the crude road such as a sponge bath from hell and a Viagra overdose. While there is nothing that is truly fresh or original to the film, some of the jokes work very well, and make up for the jokes that bomb.
This is not the type of film where there is anything you can say about acting, plot, character development, and chemistry as those aspects are all non-existent as the focus is on parody. In that regard Scary Movie 4 works as despite the fact that much of the film is silly and dumb, it is by and large funny. If you do not mind wading through the jokes that fail to get to the ones that work, you will be rewarded as there are some very good bits in the film.
If you are a fan of the series then you know what you are in for and are likely to get some laughs, but if you are new to the franchise, then you might want to wait for the DVD release.
3 stars out of 5