Scary Movie is directed by actor/stand-up comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans. Keenen Ivory Wayans had previously directed films such as the blaxploitation satire Im Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) and A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994). Wayans has clearly intended Scary Movie to fall into the same sort of Mad Comics movie parody filmmaking defined by the Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams of Airplane (1980) and The Naked Gun (1988) fame. Scary Movie may have become one of the comedy hits of the 2000 summer season but it is an amazingly crude and vulgar film. Keenen Ivory Wayans jokes are only dick jokes, people getting stoned jokes, gay jokes, coarse language jokes even a gag where one victim gets dispatched by a penis through the ear!
Scary Movie is even cruder when it comes to its film parodies. The plot copies Scream scene for scene at times but in such a deadening way it seems more like a photocopy than a parody. Keenen Ivory Wayans principal idea is to take a scene from Scream and then find some lame way to add a scatological joke. Thus we have a scene with a girl caught in an automatic garage door but the joke is meant to be that it is a fat girl. There is a scene taking off the group pact in I Know What You Did Last Summer I suggest we agree to forget about this and never talk about it again, whereupon the two girls turn to each other You mean just like the time we got drunk and ate out each others pussies? When we reach the end of the film and, instead of any surprise revelations, all that Keenen Ivory Wayans does is produce exactly the same two suspects that Scream did and then have a scene that goes on forever with either one chickening out of being stabbed by the other, the result is staggeringly inane.
Scary Movie is even less imaginative when it comes to parodying Screams movie in-referencing. Keenen Ivory Wayans attempts to parody the Whats your favourite scary movie? gag in the opening sequence and has Carmen Electra reply Kazaam . It might have been funny except for the fact that Scream 2 (1997) did the exact same send-up of the gag using Showgirls (1995). Similarly, the film attempts to parody the gag about the teenagers comparing their situation to other films Didnt this happen in some other film? to which someone replies Yeah, Scream. The joke is moronic because it is unable to think of anything else to do but refer to its source and in so doing show up just how much Scary Movie is slavishly copying Scream. Occasionally the film is funny there is a parody of Scream 2s murder in the movie theatre where the victim is a rude and noisy moviegoer who gets stabbed to death by the other attendees (yeah!!!), or the opening moments where the killer stabs Carmen Electra only to impale her silicon implant.
Keenen Ivory Wayans throws in a lot of parodies of other films Basic Instinct (1992), The Usual Suspects (1995), Titanic (1997) and Amistad (1997). What one suspects made Scary Movie a hit was its trailer, which cannily highlighted parodies of the hit films of 1999 The Matrix (1999), The Blair Witch Project (1999) and The Sixth Sense (1999). Unfortunately, once you have seen the trailer there is not much else to the jokes. Keenen Ivory Wayans seems to think that the quote is meant to be the gag itself he wants us to applaud him merely for being clever in quoting other films, rather than because they are funny. The Sixth Sense gag for example features Wayans stoner brother Marlon going I see dead people you keep waiting for a punchline and then you realize that that was the punchline.
The sequels were Scary Movie 2 (2001), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Scary Movie 4 (2006) and Scary MoVie (2013). The Wayans family bowed out after Scary Movie 2 and the next two entries were directed by David Zucker. Anna Faris and Regina Hall appear in the first four films. The fifth film features a different cast and director.
Co-writers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer later branched out on their own as a writing/directing team and made various movie parodies in the same style as Scary Movie with Date Movie (2006), Epic Movie (2007), Meet the Spartans (2008), Disaster Movie (2008), Vampires Suck (2010), The Starving Games (2013), Best Night Ever (2013) and Superfast! (2015). Executive producer Bo Zenga directed his own horror parody with Stan Helsing: A Parody (2009), while co-star Marlon Wayans later wrote, produced and starred in his own similarly styled horror parody A Haunted House (2013) and A Haunted House 2 (2014).
(No. 5 on the SF, Horror & Fantasy Box-Office Top 10 of 2000 list).