Scary Movie

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Scene Selection Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer (Canyon)
Featurette - Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes (6)
Photo Gallery
Theatrical Trailer
Easter Egg - Scream 3 Trailer
Rating ma.gif (1236 bytes)
Year Released 2000
Running Time 84:50 Minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Keenen Ivory Wayans
Miramax.gif (2746 bytes)
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jon Abrahams
Carmen Electra
Shannon Elizabeth
Anna Faris
Kurt Fuller
Regina Hall
Case C-Button
RPI $34.95 Music David Kitay

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9Yes.jpg (4536 bytes)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes, hilariously
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes, at the beginning and end of the credits

Plot Synopsis

    Scary Movie sets a whole new standard for being low-brow, even by the standards of director Keenen Ivory Wayans. Just how low-brow is this film? Imagine the sort of toilet humour you'd expect to hear twelve-year-old boys exchanging when they're sure nobody else is around, and work your way down from there. Don't say I didn't warn you.

    Based loosely upon the plot of Scream, this film basically attempts to send up as many Hollywood blockbusters as it can in ninety minutes, but comes off more as a satire of the Wayans brothers and their lack of talent, civility, or class. The screenplay is basically an amalgamation of two that Dimension Films bought in 1998: Last Summer I Screamed Because Halloween Fell On Friday The 13th, which contains the writing talents (and I use that word loosely) of two Wayans brothers, and Scream If You Know What I Did Last Halloween. This leaves me in a perpetual state of wonder as to why I saw the film theatrically.

    The film begins with a parody of the phone conversation that opened Scream, a parody in which Drew Becker (Carmen Electra) finds herself engaged in a phone conversation with a mysterious voice. After the conversation sinks as low as resorting to fart jokes, and not particularly clever ones I might add, the killer emerges and stabs Drew repeatedly. When word of her murder spreads around her school the next day, Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) and her friends, including Buffy Gilmore (Shannon Elizabeth), recall the night they accidentally ran over an old man in their car. Newscasters from various networks, including Gail Hailstorm (Cheri Oteri) arrive to "interview the most ignorant person they can find", which naturally turns out to be Shorty (Marlon Wayans). As the level of the humour gets lower and lower, the members of the cast are killed off one by one until Cindy confronts the killer in a hilarious scene that parodies Scream to perfection and makes The Matrix look as ridiculous as it really is. Other films that get sent up in such a way that make the original look as stupid as they really are are The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project.

    Other one-dimensional characters that populate the film include Cindy's boyfriend, Bobby (Jon Abrahams), closet homosexual Ray (Shawn Wayans), and Buffy's brother, Doofy (Dave Sheridan). This is probably the part of the film that I really had to check my brain at the door for, as these characters could only have been written by people who were involved with shows like In Living Colour. You know, that show where someone who I won't glorify by using his name (a hint: his last film, Me, Myself, And Irene, was so offensively stereotypical that it became the focus of major protests by America's National Alliance For The Mentally Ill) cut his teeth.

    This is quite seriously the sort of movie that works best with an audience, and preferably one whose standards for comedy aren't too high. A classic example of this is the parody of the "wazzup!" commercials that have become yet another annoying cultural black hole of America. My parents and I, having seen the original commercials on one of those collections of award-winning ad spots during one of those rare moments when I lapsed back into watching a low-definition medium, were laughing ourselves into a haemorrhage at this part of the film. The rest of the audience, who had obviously never seen any of the original commercials in spite of a few worthless attempts to copy their style that have been made locally, sat there stony-faced and unamused. What a difference a little knowledge of the material being sent up can make.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced.

    The overall sharpness of the transfer is acceptable. Just to clarify, the transfer is often sharp enough to really bring the film to life. An example of this is the fact that it is possible to read what the mock MPAA rating during Chapter 13 says ("We thought it would be funny to put this here... kiss our !@*es and take it off pause"). For the most part, however, the backgrounds are somewhat hazy and the middle ground in a number of scenes is also mildly diffuse. The shadow detail of the transfer is excellent, with plenty of detail and contrast available in the darker sections of the film. There was no low-level noise, but the transfer does appear to be a little grainy at times, probably due to the tight compression.

    The colour saturation in this transfer is rich and vibrant, such that one can contrast the subtle tones used during night-time sequences with the more pastel-like arrangements used in daytime sequences. There are no signs of bleeding or misregistration at any point.

    MPEG artefacts were not a problem during this transfer, although it would have been nice if this film had been afforded a dual-layer transfer because the source material obviously wasn't in the best condition and there is a lot of material on the disc in spite of the film's short length. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a lot of aliasing. The aliasing was never particularly severe, but it was frequent enough to become annoying. Picture frames, desks, patterned shirts, and even an actor's shoulder all contained this artefact. The most noticeable instances were at 11:43,17:33, 19:32,24:04, 26:26,31:32, 33:22,43:37, 50:58,71:48, and 74:33. Film artefacts consisted of small black and white marks on the picture, and a single warped frame at 40:16, which looked like a scratch when played at normal speed, but created an effect that was more like watching the film through a glass of water when paused.


    Even though the video transfer fails to impress me, the audio transfer makes this disc worth owning by itself. There is only one soundtrack provided on this DVD: the original English dialogue, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 with the higher bitrate of 448 kilobits per second. This is really appreciated during sequences such as Chapter 8, which is titled Wazzup! for obvious reasons.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at almost all times, even during the aforementioned Chapter 8, which could easily have become unintelligible for obvious reasons. There are no immediately discernible problems with audio sync.

    The score music in this film is credited to David Kitay, and almost reminds me of the Looney Tunes theme at times. The music moves along at breakneck pace, stopping along the way to support parodies of The Matrix and Riverdance with such fervour that it simply adds to the hilarity. Sadly, the score music tends to be forgotten with the presence of numerous contemporary numbers and all the crude jokes, but it is there and it does quite an excellent job of supporting the film.

    The surround channels are used aggressively to support the music, ambient sounds, and various directional effects. For the most part, the sound stage is very immersive and draws the viewer into the film. There are occasional moments when the sound stage collapses into the front channels, Chapter 8 being the biggest example, but the purpose and design of these scenes makes this acceptable. The film doesn't really have any great effects that require distinct placement in the sound field like X-Men or Hollow Man, so the subtlety can be attributed to the film rather than the transfer. The subwoofer was constantly active to support the music and occasional bass-heavy sound effects such as the piano rolling down the stairs, and it did so without calling any attention to itself.



    The menu is heavily animated, accompanied by Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and 16x9 Enhanced. It does an excellent job of setting the appropriate atmosphere for the film, if only by screaming "hey, lighten up, we're only trying to entertain you!" or something to that effect. Interestingly enough, the scene selection menu contains animations of each scene, which are in turn accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 sample of whatever scene was last highlighted.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Canyon

    Well, at least it isn't the City trailer.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 Enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio. This theatrical trailer only gives away half of the funniest moments of the film, and contains some footage that didn't appear in the final cut of the film.

Easter Egg - Scream 3 Trailer

    From the special features menu, press the up key until the ghost mask is highlighted and press enter to access this trailer. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 Enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio, the video quality of the actual Scream 3 trailer is somewhat ordinary, being rather diffuse and even blocky at times. The Scary Movie trailer is, for some odd reason, tacked on the end in the same ratio with the same soundtrack. The video quality of the Scary Movie trailer is actually a lot sharper.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (6:56)

    Well done, Roadshow Home Entertainment, for presenting this featurette with 16x9 Enhancement. It's good to see someone is keeping the future shape of television in mind. The Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack is no slouch, either. Unfortunately, the featurette gives an excellent indication of how much insight we're missing out on with the absence of a commentary track whenever one of the Wayans brothers speaks.

Deleted Scenes (Six scenes, totalling 7:27)

    This submenu contains a list of six scenes that were deleted from the theatrical release of the film. In the order that the menu lists them, they are Shorty Watches TV, Hop-A-Long Shorty, Ray Calls A Play, Cindy's Last Stand, Bobby's Lesson, and Gail Mounts Kenny. One feature included in this submenu that I would like to see more of is the "Play All" option. Each scene is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 production sound, and they are 16x9 Enhanced. It is easy to see why these pieces of footage didn't make it to the final cut.

Photo Gallery

    A collection of stills from the film, and of the crew. The lack of annotation limits the interest factor, however.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     According to Widescreen Review, the DVD-ROM extras consist of a trivia game, character profiles, a screenplay viewer, a screensaver, and a website link. This is really a tough call as the RSDL formatting would allow more bits to be allocated to the feature, but Widescreen Review state that the Region 1 transfer suffers from some pixelization. Since the Region 4 version does not suffer from that artefact, I am marginally in favour of the local disc, in spite of the aliasing problem.


    Scary Movie takes humour for a demographic that should only be capable of paying attention to a brief segment from In Living Colour, and stretches it out to the length of a feature film. It is definitely best watched in groups comprised of individuals who either have no brains to begin with, or are capable of switching them off for ninety minutes.

    The video quality is slightly disappointing.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are reasonable.

    One last note: Roadshow Home Entertainment, can we please stop it with the button case? Actually, now that I mention it, I'd like all distributors to stop it with these cheap and annoying case styles. The slick in the copy of American Psycho that I bought yesterday had to be smoothed out and refolded into a Brackley case, and now the copy of Scary Movie that I received for review has been cursed with a slick that is badly creased due to being stuffed into a button case that it was obviously too big for. Please bring back the more durable, more cosmetically pleasing Brackley case, and not the one with the rounded edges.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
February 16, 2000
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer