If you do not wish to read the entire post, here is the ranking as a tier list (made with TierMaker).
B (SOLID): Scary Movie
B-/C+ (FAIRLY DECENT): Scary Movie 3
C/C- (MEDIOCRE): Scary Movie 4
D+/D/D- (BAD): Scary Movie 2
F (ABYSMAL): Scary Movie 5
Recommended Films to Watch: Scary Movie, Scary Movie 3
Halloween is upon us, and like many of you, I’ve been watching quite a few horror-related films throughout the month.
I have a confession, y’all – I haven’t really seen too many horror movies throughout my life. I can probably name references to horror films, but if you asked me about the plot of A Nightmare on Elm Street or The Shining, I would respond with a cover of John Cage’s “4’33”.
This year, though, I was hoping to change that and watch several horror films before Halloween, but I found myself a bit too busy with other media-related projects (i.e. – playing Super Mario 3D All Stars, Fall Guys, and Among Us). The only horror movies I’ve actually seen this month were largely “so-bad-it’s-good” horror films, such as Birdemic: Shock and Terror (yes, this is a link to an actual scene in the movie), but thankfully, I was requested to do a horror-related marathon of only 5 films.
Speaking of requests, do not be worried. The Scary Movie franchise did not win the last survey. The rankings for the marathons that actually won should be coming out in November, so be prepared for those!
These Aren’t “Scary Movies” at All
I have a pretty interesting story as to how I was first introduced to the Scary Movie franchise.
(Please note, I’ve changed the names of real-life people in this story to protect their identities.)
It was (probably) a cloudy afternoon in the year 2002 (or 2003), and my classmates and I were returning to the classroom from lunch for Show and Tell in Mrs. Page’s 1st Grade class. I forgot what I brought that day, but that doesn’t matter. It was what my good friend brought that was unforgettable.
Penelope was incredibly excited to tell us about her favorite movie, but during her turn, when she brought out a DVD copy of the R-rated Scary Movie, Mrs. Page quickly cut her off and told us not to watch the film. Since that moment, I was always under the impression that Scary Movie was a legitimate horror film, too scary for younger audiences, but once I finally watched it on Comedy Central some years later, I was completely wrong. The End.
Scary Movie, released in 2000, is a parody of horror films Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), popular slasher films involving high school students. Boasting heavy involvement from the Wayans family, made extremely clear in its crude and raunchy approach to satirical comedy (anyone remember In Living Color?), the film made over $250 million against a $19 million budget and received mostly average-to-positive reviews. Despite having the words “No Sequels” on its tagline, Scary Movie evolved into a five-film franchise, and none of its sequels received nearly as much praise or profit as the original movie.
There are common elements in each of these parody films: exaggerated physical comedy, celebrity cameos, “edgy” humor rooted in all the -isms and -phobias, countless references to pop culture (beyond horror films), and, with the exception of Scary Movie 5, Anna Faris as an incredibly-portrayed Cindy Campbell.
Unlike my thoughts on the American Pie franchise, I wouldn’t say that the Scary Movie franchise got progressively worse with each subsequent film. There were some notable changes in writing, direction, and production over time, but I cannot say that such changes were completely for the worse.
For example, there was no involvement from the Wayans family after the second film, but the third and fourth films ended up being directed by David Zucker, one of the directors of the critically successful satirical film Airplane! (1980). This shift replaced much of the Wayans-style crude and gross-out humor with a greater emphasis on surrealism and slapstick comedy. In my opinion, this was a welcoming change, as the former style of humor grew stale and significantly impeded the quality of Scary Movie 2.
That is not to say that certain types of humor are objectively better than others; instead, I’m saying that while none of these movies are “great,” I can appreciate how some of the creative changes that usually happen with sequels actually worked fairly well for this franchise. Again, it is because of this that my ranking is not simply 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5.
(Keep in mind, though, that none of what I just said applies to Scary Movie 5. That movie is straight-up terrible.)
As always, for each movie in the ranking, I will provide a “TL;DR” Review, its Rotten Tomatoes Score, its Metascore, and its letter grade from me. Because there are only 5 movies in this franchise, I’m clearly not providing the top and bottom 3 or 5 films.
5. Scary Movie 5 (2013)
Scary Movie is a tetralogy, comprising 4 – and only 4 films: Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, Scary Movie 3, and Scary Movie 4.
Yes, Scary Movie 4 is the final movie in the franchise.
It’s such a shame that there were only 4 Scary Movie films. Yep, just 4. 1-2-3-4. Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, Scary Movie 3, and Scary Movie 4.
That’s it 😊
A 5th Scary Movie? Whaaaaat? Ha ha ha!
No, silly – there is no 5th Scary Movie! There are only 4 of them. F-O-U-R. 4 films.
Count with me: 1, 2, 3, 4.
That’s it. 4…4…4…4…
One, two, buckle my shoe
Three, four, shut the door
Yep, it seems that they “shut the door” with the 4th Scary Movie film. There is no such thing as Scary Movie 5. It does not exist.
I am more likely to believe that this Christmas, Santa Claus will come down my chimney (I don’t have one) and give me so many gifts because I’ve been such a good boy (debatable) this year.
There is no Scary Movie 5. Grow up, my ignorant child.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 4%
My Grade: F
4. Scary Movie 2 (2001)
TL;DR Review: Scary Movie 2 is, like, kinda funny? It’s definitely not as funny as the first, but it does go above and beyond its predecessor in… uh…gross-out humor… So… congrats?
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%
My Grade: D+
3. Scary Movie 4 (2006)
TL;DR Review: Scary Movie 3, Part 2: The Leftovers
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 35%
My Grade: C
2. Scary Movie 3 (2003)
TL;DR Review: Lacking any involvement from the Wayans family, Scary Movie 3 loses much of the gross-out, raunchy, and “edgy” humor if its predecessors. Instead, there is a greater emphasis on slapstick, surrealism, and absurdity in how the film approaches comedy, and this mostly works out well.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 35%
My Grade: C+
1. Scary Movie (2000)
TL;DR Review: Scary Movie, as an Airplane!-style parody of 90s horror films, is well-designed and solidly executed in concept. However, the comedy, even for its time, suffers from being hit-or-miss.
Alternate TL;DR Review:
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53%
My Grade: B