Scary Movie 5 review

More than seven years after the last frightful instalment, Scary Movie returns with its fifth feature. Originally planned as a take off of Black Swan, it's now so far from those roots that every element of ballet and lesbianism feels dated. Scary Movie V doesn't really succeed in tying up a group of plots that invlove Sheen's three lost children who have a frightful demon called Mama aiding them, a Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes parody and a whole bit that gives the Evil Dead remake the once over. In comparison, the 2010 Aronofsky film feels as ancient as The Great Train Robbery.

Needless to say, Scary Movie 5 doesn't hang together well as purely a series of ideas thrown into a script and edited together: predictable slapstick, surprisingly racist jokes and a fair bit of flatulence. And when a smart ape appears on screen, get the stopwatch out to see how long the director waits until said ape stars throwing poo. Tisdale is the blonde female lead, taking over the franchise from Anna Faris, and she lacks the comic timing and personality to really work a lead role, just jumping from line to line, reciting a list of movies the film references, then not paying attention to scary movie re-enactments that could have been skewered by a self-aware lead.

The lack of interest in characters is the core issue with a film like this. As much as the first few Scary Movies were haphazard, they found a core in the Cindy character, and the fact that she was the same in each film, and in each scene, so the jokes worked with her, not her fitting to the punchlines. When a parody film stops telling story and dealing with character, it is just a series of sketches poorly strung together. In the case of Scary Movie V, none of these sketches would even warrant a like on YouYube.

There's one sole laugh in the film, a real Naked Gun-feeling sex scene joke that takes the stock footage of a train going into a tunnel and fits it to a Black Swan-style lesbian sex scene, which you can't help but admire for its boyish silliness and genuine twist on the usual. But that's just one moment in a very long-feeling 70-minute debacle. The 70 minutes is mostly at 1.5x speed due to the security cameras that take the found footage-style approach for two-thirds of the film, and naturally hurt the timing of any potential jokes, be they dialogue-based or sight gags. It's not like they aren't trying with this one; the amount of attempts at a joke seems high, but none of them really lands. An odd joke, for example, sees a stationary establishing shot from a security camera take a car that's just passing by and has it blow up. Why? Because komedy!

It's easy to dish out pain on a film like this – it begs for it – but in the closest to fairness one could deliver, the awful script does throw a lot at the audience, but it is mostly of the fecal variety. A huge waste of time, money and talent in the cases of O'Connell, Shannon and Crewes, Scary Movie 5 has one smile-inducing moment in the painfully long 70 minutes of tasteless comedy. Worth seeing? If you are your own worst enemy, then by all means go for it.

Scary Movie V at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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