Anna Faris’ second Blu-ray movie release for the week is the March 22nd Weinstein Company title Scary Movie 4, hitting shelves just before the new Scream 4 movie hits screens in theaters.
Scary Movie 4 is a spoof movie, the fourth in a series that were originally based on the Scream movies.
Things have moved along since and this time around the film is largely based on the action movie War of the Worlds and horror film The Grudge.
There are also significant contributions taken from the Saw franchise and others like Million Dollar Baby, The Village and Brokeback Mountain.
If you have interest in seeing these films you should watch them before watching Scary Movie 4, since some key plot elements are revealed in the story.
There are also some real life events lampooned in the movie, including Tom Cruise’s couch jumping incident on Oprah, George Bush’s slow reaction to the 9/11 attacks and the Mike Tyson ear biting incident.
The movie opens in a Saw like scenario with Phil McGraw and Shaquille O’Neal trapped in a room with only a couple of minutes to free themselves from certain death.
We then cut to New York, where Cindy Campbell visits her brother-in-law Tom Logan, who is depressed and suicidal.
Cindy then accepts the job of caring for an incapacitated old lady who lives in a creepy and obviously haunted house.
Cindy’s new neighbour Tom Ryan has family troubles and takes custody of his children for the weekend, both of whom resent their father.
The next day Cindy and Tom make friends, just before the sky darkens and the earth is attacked by aliens in triPods.
Cindy rushes home and encounters the house’s resident ghost, Toshio.
The Japanese boy reveals that the secret behind the invasion lies in his father’s identity.
Tom chooses to part ways with Cindy and flees with his children.
Cindy reunites with her old friend Brenda Meeks and the pair manage to find a working car and follow the directions given by Toshio.
They discover a mysterious village which resembles a pseudo-Amish community where they are captured by the villagers.
The village leader rules that Cindy and Brenda may stay in the village, but never leave.
Meanwhile Tom and his children run into a battle between the US military and the triPods.
Robbie decides to join the fight, while Tom and Rachel flee though the father and daughter are soon captured by a triPod.
While the movie has largely followed the plot of The Village and War of the Worlds, from here on out the stories merge and lead us to the final resolution.
The film is certainly done in the Zucker style, though for me it does not have the freshness of the likes of Airplane! or Top Secret.
That said there are some pretty funny scenes in the movie and for my money it is well worth a look, especially if you are a fan of Zucker’s work or the previous movies in the franchise.
It is certainly way better than a number of the hideous spoofs like Date Movie that have maligned the genre over the last few years.
The cast includes Anna Faris, Regina Hall and Craig Bierko in the lead roles, with appearances also by Anthony Anderson, Carmen Electra, Leslie Nielsen, Cloris Leachman, Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott, Molly Shannon, Michael Madsen, Charlie Sheen and James Earl Jones.
Scary Movie 4 was directed by David Zucker, the man behind many classic spoof comedies like Airplane!, Top Secret, The Naked Gun movies and more recently An American Carol.
The reviews for the film leaned towards the poor, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 37%, and an IMDb score of 5/10.
Scary Movie 4 was a success at the cinema however, earning $90.7M at the US box office, roughly double the estimated budget.
The video on the disc is an MPEG2 1080p encode at 26.5 Mbps, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
It is interesting to see the old MPEG2 codec used here, though the image quality doesn’t seem to suffer from it.
While you won’t see anything reference quality here, the movie was shot on HD and holds a quality that is more than acceptable for the genre.
Find full resolution PNG screen captures taken directly from the disc at the details page for Scary Movie 4.
The main audio is lossless Linear PCM with 5.1 channels – 16 bits resolution at 48 kHz.
Again it is a little odd to see a release these days using PCM audio, though again since there is capacity for the bitrate there is no problem with that.
The disc is a dual layer BD50, with 33.7 GB used and is coded for All Regions.
The extras on this Blu-ray release are pretty much lifted from the DVD release and as such are presented in standard definition.
The Scary Truth: A Conversation with the Filmmakers is a 35 minute interview with the people behind the 3rd and 4th movies in the franchise.
The director of the movie is the main focus of The Man Behind The Laugh: Director David Zucker featurette.
Zany, Spoof Humor – Zucker Style discusses the spoof genre that has almost been defined by Zucker and Abrahams with the Airplane! movie.
It is interesting that the story line and gags in the movie required a significant number of special visual and CGI effects, and this is the topic of The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4.
It was a great challenge to meet the quality of the likes of War of the Worlds with a much smaller budget and tighter schedule.
The Cast featurette has pretty extensive coverage of the casting, including the new members and huge number of actors returning from earlier films in the franchise.
The musicians and such that appear in the movie are covered in the Rappers… Actors and The Youngbloodz segments.
One particular sequence in the film that was largely improvised is the focus of the Improvisation of Craig Bierko segment.
The uncut version of the improvised sequence is presented here.
Additional footage is presented in the Bloopers segment.
There is also a pretty significant selection of deleted and extended scenes, with an optional commentary by director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writer/producer Craig Mazin
I found Scary Movie 4 to be a pretty fun movie with references to a lot of movies and pop culture that was relevant at the time.
I have no doubt that fans of the genre will find this to be quite a cut above some of the abysmal spoof movies that have been released over the last few years.
While the Blu-ray release doesn’t add anything new in terms of features, Weinstein presents this hidef version with a decent transfer and a nice price point.
The retail price is $19.97, or order it right now at Amazon for $14.49, saving 27%!
- The Scary Truth: A Conversation with the Filmmakers
- The Man Behind The Laugh: Director David Zucker
- Zany, Spoof Humor – Zucker Style
- The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4
- The Youngbloodz
- Rappers… Actors
- The Cast
- Improvisation of Craig Bierko
- Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director David Zucker, Producer Robert K. Weiss, and Writer/Producer Craig Mazin
The Scary Movie gang is back for their funniest, most fearless installment yet, featuring an avalanche of hysterical celebrity cameos, including Carmen Electra, Charlie Sheen, Dr. Phil, Shaquille O’Neal, and Lil’ John, plus many more fun surprises! This time, the lovable, dim-witted Cindy (Anna Faris) and her overheated pal Brenda (Regina Hall) return to help clueless hero Tom (Craig Bierko) save the world from a ruthless alien invasion. In true Scary Movie tradition, the story weaves through a series of hilarious and twisted parodies of movies like War of the Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, and Saw. In Scary Movie 4, nothing – and we mean NOTHING – is off limits!