Of all of the highs and lows of 2013 so far, this is by far the least surprising. The first Scary Movie was a fun, silly romp that served nicely to my preteen comedy preferences. Ever since then, things have gone so far downhill that the continued existence of the franchise is confounding. What’s even more confounding is the fact that even the worst of spin-off parody movies like Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Vampires Suck and, to some extent, Haunted House earlier this year, have almost all made a sizable return on their budgets at the box office. When it comes down to it, movies like this just don’t cost that much to make so the bar for success is incredibly low; they are the Reality TV of the cinematic world. As a result, no matter how bad it is we will probably be seeing many more “Fill in the blank” Movie projects excreted from Hollywood in the near future. Painfully unfunny, terribly acted and completely unfocused, Scary Movie 5‘s only saving grace is that I will probably forget about it completely by the end of this review.
The Plot: 1/10
A couple begin to experience some unusual activity after bringing their newborn son home from the hospital. With the help of home-surveillance cameras and a team of experts, they learn they’re being stalked by a nefarious demon.
As is the case with past entries in the franchise, Scary Movie 5 bases itself primarily on the plot of one film while routinely dipping in and out of others. The main frame for Scary Movie 5 is Mama, which in the scheme of things is such a small blip on the horror genre’s radar that it really doesn’t merit this amount of focus. What is more confusing, however, is how many other films the movie parodies that have absolutely nothing to do with the Horror genre. Among these are clumsy plot lines a la Black Swan, Inception and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At this point, nobody expects the plot of an entry in this series to be anything more than a lazily assembled Frankenstein’s monster of other films, but that doesn’t make it suck any less.
The Writing: 2/10
If anything separates this from Haunted House, it’s the fact that Haunted House doesn’t even feel like it had a screenplay at all. It was just Marlon Wayans acting idiotic for 90 minutes, with a few random B-List comedians peppered in for variety. Here, it feels like there is a script that people are reading off of, but that almost makes things worse. It’s way more painful to watch something fail when it feels like that thing was trying to be good, and as a result I spent half of this movie wanting to reach out to the writers and say “Oh Honey, you actually thought you were being clever?”
The Acting: 2/10
The only upside to this element of the film is that Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are only on camera for about five minutes, so their collective black hole of awful can only drain so much out of the audience. The downside is that the cast picks up the reins for the two right as soon as they’re dropped. Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex don’t even deserve the wasted digital breath of an evaluation here, so I’m just going to jump to the biggest tragedy of the movie; the fact that people I like somehow got dragged into the mess. Terry Crews, Molly Shannon and Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland all have brief roles that are far more of an insult to the actors themselves than they are a bonus to the movie. Still not as tragic as Movie 43, but sad all the same
The Comedy: 3/10
The only reason I give a slightly higher score here is that the humor here is exactly what you’d expect from the series at this point, so the bar I had set for the category was so low that it would have taken a monumental amount of failure to miss it. I’ll even admit that there were two moments that got a slight chuckle out of me; one, a poster for 127 Hours: The Ballet, and two a possibly unintentional reference to Rule 34 of the internet. Aside from these two moments, however, you will find nothing but an all out barrage of cheap humor which ranges from scatology to overt racism.
The Verdict: 2.0/10 – Symphony of Suck
– Lazy and non-cohesive plot cobbled together from other, better films
– Drags some legitimately good people down with it
– Not an ounce of real comedy
+ It delivers exactly what you’d expect, so if you think you’ll like it you probably will
Rotten Tomatoes: 5%