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Featured Blu-ray Review: Scary Movie 2 and 3

September 18th, 2011

Scary Movie 2 - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Scary Movie 3 - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Scary Movie wasn't exactly a great movie, but it was an entertaining spoof of the numerous teenage slashers that came out the year before. It was also a huge hit, earning more than $277 million worldwide and has spawned three sequels so far, with a fifth film in the franchise coming out next year. This week, the second and third films are coming out on Blu-ray, but were they able to live up to the first film? And do they shine in high definition?

Scary Movie 2

The film begins at the Hell House, where a cocktail party goes wrong when the teenage daughter of the host urinates on the carpet. Clearly she's possessed by the devil. Fortunately, one of the guests is a priest and he quickly calls for an experienced exorcist to save the child. It goes poorly.

Flash forward a year and most of the cast from the first film are in college, even the ones that died. Cindy, Shorty, Ray, and Brenda are joined by Buddy, Tommy, Alex, and Theo. They are all taking a psychology course with Professor Oldman, who with the help of Dwight is setting up a paranormal investigation of Hell House and the gang is chosen as unwitting participants. Upon arrival at the Hell House, they meet Hanson, the caretaker. It isn't long before the professor's experiment starts showing results and the ghost of Hugh Kane makes an appearance. But it is clear the professor underestimated the danger they were all in.

Wow. This movie is dated. Some of the film and TV shows that are parodied are classic horror films (The Exorcist, Poltergeist, etc.) but others have not aged nearly as well (The Weakest Link). The hit to miss ratio of the jokes is also much, much lower this time around with too many cheep jokes centered on bathroom humor, gross-out gags, etc. with far too much repetition. There's almost a desperation to the film and even normally reliable comedic stars (Tim Curry, David Cross, Anna Faris) have little to work with here. It's such a disappointment compared to the first film, that it's hard to believe they were made by the same people.

The Extras

Extras start with a making of featurette, but it's mostly fluff. There are 22 deleted and alternate scenes, including three alternate endings. The total running time is 44 minutes, which is a lot, but many of them are no better than the scenes that made it into the movie. There is a six-minute look at the overall special effects, a two-minute look at the making of the cats, a two-minute look at more special effects, and a four-minute look at the make-up. None of the extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray, nor are many worth checking out.

Looking at the technical presentation, the video is lackluster. There's not a lot of fine detail and the colors are muted at times. There is a bit of damage with the print, the blacks are deep but can sometimes swallow up details. The audio is better with good use of the surround sound speakers and clear dialog.

It does only cost $11, but there's not a lot of reasons here to upgrade.

The Verdict

When Scary Movie 2 came out, it was a mess. Now ten years later, it is a dated mess. The only real selling point for the Blu-ray is the price, but even so, it's worth absolutely nothing more than a rental, and that's only if you loved the first movie and can't get enough.

Scary Movie 3

The plot is less developed this time around and many scenes are just there to service jokes and spoofs. This makes it hard to get into any real details without hitting spoilers. The film is basically a combination of The Ring and Signs. Cindy is now an anchorwoman doing a story on a crop circle that appeared in the corn field of Tom, a former priest turned farmer. As she investigates, she learns it is connected to a cursed video tape that kills any person who watches it seven days after the fact. Her determination to get to the truth of the tape grows when her nephew, Cody, watches the tape. During the course of her investigation, she wanders into a spoof of 8 Mile and The Matrix.

There's a huge turnover in the cast and crew for this movie. Out is everyone with the last name Wayans, in are David Zucker as director and Pat Proft as co-writer. This did cause a major shift in the type of humor and it is more inline with Airplane! than the original Scary Movie. There are a lot of background jokes, a lot of absurdist humor, there's Leslie Nielsen. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as good as their best work, or even their average work. It is much funnier than Scary Movie 2, on the other hand. There's far less gross-out humor and the film was made with a PG-13 rating in mind instead of the hard R-rating the first two movies received, which may or may not be a selling point. Fans of the first two movies might consider this film too tame. Fans of David Zucker's previous spoofs will probably like it more.

The Extras

Extras start with an audio commentary track with the director, David Zucker; the producer, Robert K. Weiss; and the two writers, Pat Proft and Craig Mazin. They are more entertaining than informative, but that's not a complaint. The four of them also sit down to provide optional audio commentary for 20 minutes of deleted / alternative scenes. There is a 23-minute making of featurette and a 5-minute parody of the making of featurette. There is a 15-minute alternate ending and 4-minute making of the alternate ending. And finally, there are some outtakes. There's a good selection of extras, even if none are exclusive to the Blu-ray.

The video is greatly improved over the previous film with a lot more detail, brighter colors, better contrast, deep blacks and no crushing. It's not up the standard you would expect for a blockbuster made today, but strong for a catalog title from 2003. The dialog is always clear, while there are some scenes that make good use of the surround sound speakers. Technically, it's nothing too special, but an improvement nonetheless.

As for the price, it too costs just $11 to buy.

The Verdict

If you liked the first Scary Movie, but thought there was too much gross-out humor and too much swearing, then Scary Movie 3 should be just right for you. The Blu-ray has enough extras that it is worth checking out, but it is a borderline rental / purchase.

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Filed under: Video Review, Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 2