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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: David Zucker

Anna Faris
Regina Hall
Leslie Nielsen
Charlie Sheen

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What's it about

A mysterious killer video tape is circulating around. One look at this tape and the viewer has only seven days to live. Cindy Campbell, a news reporter working in DC, witnesses this video tape and tries to work out a way to prevent her death. Meanwhile, crop circles have been appearing in a local farm field. With help from her Aunt Shaneequa, Cindy suspects that the aliens may be linked with the killer tape and must now work out both mysteries before it's the end of the world.

Is it good movie?

Just when you thought it was over. After the disaster that was SCARY MOVIE 2 (at least in critics' eyes), the Wayans were given the boot. In comes director David Zucker and writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft to right the good ship SCARY MOVIE for its third iteration. Also on board are a host of new faces, including the late great Leslie Nielsen and everybody's favorite rehab reject, Charlie Sheen. Do the newcomers in front of and behind the camera create a worthy follow-up to the original film? Really, if you've read my reviews before, you know that this is a purely rhetorical question. The answer is no, by the way.

With the change in director and writers, the franchise turns towards the more teen-friendly area. In with the PG-13, as they say. Also, the focus on scary movies is decidedly less so. Even though the film parodies the then-hits THE RING and SIGNS, the focus also turns to THE OTHERS, 8 MILE, THE MATRIX and other films that you probably wouldn't find frightening. What does that mean? Well, instead of the gross-out attempts at humor in the first two films, we get bombarded with puns, slapstick antics, and goofy visual gags. This "unrated" cut features a few more risque double entendres, but nothing that would venture into the R rating territory. If you're a fan of Zucker's previous work, you'll recognize what I mean. It also means that horror fans have been left out in the cold.

Acting-wise, the cast is decent and seems to be trying a little more this time around. Anna Faris continues to revel in her role as Cindy, though I suspect that she's given into the idea that she's going to be typecast from now until the end of time. As for Regina Hall, the only other returning cast member from SCARY MOVIE 2, she also turns in a fun performance. Newcomer Simon Rex plays what is essentially the male version of Cindy, and does an okay job. Leslie Nielsen does Leslie Nielsen, so you either love him or not. But come on, who doesn't love THE NAKED GUN? As for everyone's crazy boozehound, Charlie Sheen also does a good job, showing that he can be funny without a bottle of sauce in his hand.

Unfortunately for the film and the franchise, SCARY MOVIE 3 fails to generate much enjoyment for horror fans who enjoyed having the mid-90s slashers mocked and spoofed. Or horror fans, in general. While some gags work, there are still many painful missteps, and genuinely stupid and unfunny moments. Plus, like SCARY MOVIE 2, the veering into the then-relevant films of the time for parodies ultimately fails, since none of the movies spoofed are particularly memorable for fans of the genre. And as I touched on, the majority of the parodies are for films that were never horror films in the first place. Bottom line, the film just isn't funny for those who were the original target audience, turning into almost a teenager version of the original. If you liked the previous film, you probably won't like this one. And if you liked the original, weep for what the franchise could have been.

Video / Audio

Video: Faring a bit better than the previous film's Blu-Ray, SCARY MOVIE 3 sports a 1080p AVC-encoded 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Compared to SCARY MOVIE 2, the colours for this Blu-Ray are bolder and better saturated, the picture shows off far more fine detail. There is again print damage visible in the film at times, and there's also a fair bit of noise. Again, this feels more like an upconverted DVD, but not as bad as the previous film.

Audio: The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track doesn't go crazy with the surrounds, but sports a lively, crisp mix that does provide the necessary 'oomph' when it comes to certain parodies. Dialogue is clear and free of any distortion.

The Extras

Again, Lionsgate has ported over all of the extras from the DVD.

First up is a jokey audio commentary with director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft. Much of the commentary has the group taking credit for gags that work, and blaming each other for when gags fail to register. It's far more of an entertainment commentary than informational.

Following that are 14 Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by David Zucker, Robert K. Weiss, Craig Mazin and Pat Proft. The scenes are (once again) obviously unfunny, but at least the group recognizes this and is very candid about why they were cut.

Making Scary Movie 3 is your typical EPK featurette, and has cast and crew doing the "pat on the back" stuff mixed in with behind-the-scenes footage. Interesting to note how there's discussion of certain parodies for films that hadn't been released yet that were included in the film.

Making Scary Movie 3... FOR REAL shows more on-set footage and interviews for five minutes. Why? I don't know.

Outtakes and Bloopers features your typical screwed-up line deliveries and on-set mistakes that are kind of amusing.

Alternate Ending with Optional Audio Commentary looks at the lengthy, elaborate, and very different alternate ending to the film. A BEAUTIFUL MIND, HULK, and THE MATRIX RELOADED are the targets here, and the results are pretty awful. Once again, Zucker, Weiss, Mazin and Proft tear into this ending and explain why it didn't work.

Finally, there's Hulk vs. Aliens - Behind the Scenes of the Alternate Ending, which looks at the alternate ending's effects work.

Once again, the film's trail is not included, nor is the option to play the theatrical cut or unrated cut via seamless branching.

Last Call

SCARY MOVIE 3 is still as unfunny as the previous film, but wisely doesn't make a fool out of itself by relying on the gross-out humour and sex jokes that its predecessor clinged to in a desperate act to make people laugh. It's still not very good, being extremely uneven, very hit or miss with its comedy, and just being plain mediocre. The Blu-Ray isn't much of an upgrade from the DVD years ago, and all of the extras from that set have been ported over, anyways.

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