by Ariel Paredes
If you thought the Scary Movie franchise was dead and gone, surprise, it’s back! After a seven-year hiatus from the big screen, the fifth film brings forth a fresh slew of movies, TV, and popular culture to spoof, skewer, and eventually run into the ground.
Director Malcolm Lee (The Best Man, Roll Bounce) joins veteran producer/writer David Zucker in this new effort. Scary Movie V continues to follow the gag joke tradition as it’s chock-full of celebrities and actors who play themselves and guest-star as drop-in characters.
Looking for a plot? Good luck: The film follows Jody (Ashley Tisdale) and her husband Dan (Simon Rex) on a journey as new parents. They adopt Dan’s recently deceased brothers three children and move into a new home while agreeing to have their lives videotaped for a study. Once the children enter the home, Jody begins to feel an unwelcome presence. The maid feels this as well (hooray for Hispanic stereotypes!) and continually blesses the house, while Dan sees nothing wrong. They begin to seek help from psychics and other outside sources to rid them of the “demons."
Jody is a prima ballerina while Dan works in a lab trying to increase the intelligence of apes. Now if any of this sounds familiar, it should. It takes a playbook from every scary film made in most recent years and spoofs them like there's no tomororw. It takes cues from Mama, Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Planet of the Apes, Black Swan, Inception, and last but not least, the more recent incarnation of Evil Dead.
Although Scary Movie V is bereft of any conventional plot (any keen film major could easily tell some scenes were slapped together at the last minute), there are some funny moments throughout the movie. The film takes pot shots at Black Swan and its intense camera angles, which gets some giggles. When it breaks down Evil Dead, which is by far one of the goriest films of the year, it manages to make it look light and comical. Also, the film manages to admirably snag a dead ringer for Leonardo DiCaprio for the Inception scene.
With cameos from Charlie Sheen -- no stranger to the franchise -- Lindsay Lohan, Usher, and Mike Tyson, it’s seemingly refreshing to see stars making fun of themselves, but let's face it: it's a paycheck for these spotlight-hogging celebs.
Ashley Tisdale does bring a bit of warmth and reality to the film, while Simon Rex’s character is less appealing this time around. It isn't his fault: he's just playing it as it's written -- and it's scripted as if a high school stoner with a lit agent got a hold of some producers and shot this thing with a trust fund check.
As long as you know you aren’t going to see a cinematic masterpiece and are willing to lose a few brain cells in the process, then go right ahead and buy that movie ticket.