The fourth instalment of the spoof horror franchise follows pretty much the template that the second and third films in the series adopted. So there's a smattering of funny jokes to stick in the trailer, recreations of big scenes from other popular movies, and Anna Faris boldly trying to hold the whole enterprise together.
Scary Movie 4 is thus a spectacularly easy movie to assess. Forget the inspired and downright hilarious original, and instead look to its sequels. Did you find them laugh-fests? Did you think they were entertaining? And did you actually like them? If so, Scary Movie 4 isn't going to disappoint either.
But it will let down pretty much everyone else. It's not that its terrible. It's a passable way to spend a brain-dead hour and a half. It's just such a waste. There are some great gags to be made at the expense of Saw, War Of The Worlds, Brokeback Mountain and Million Dollar Baby (the film's main targets), but Scary Movie 4 just doesn't make them. Instead, it too often relies on a stilted pratfall, someone smacking their head, or some other bumbling sequence that doesn't work as well as it should. Granted, there are laughs, but nowhere near the number that the original film delivered.
Which, as mentioned earlier, makes this an easy film to judge. There's a strong chance you already know whether Scary Movie 4 is your bag or not, and thus the only recommendation here is to go with your gut feeling. You're unlikely to go wrong.
The DVD: A superb two disc set, with the extra features really compensating for some of the fallibilities of the main feature. There's bountiful behind the scenes material, amusing sequences that didn't make the final cut, and obligatory bloopers too. --Simon Brew
Anna Faris returns as the caring yet dumb Cindy Campbell in the fourth installment of the 'Scary Movie' franchise. Cindy has taken up a job as a house caretaker for a nice old lady that is said to be cursed. Cindy moves right in and the house is located right next to Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), a down-on-his-luck father. Cindy soon discovers a dreaded secret about the house and she is comforted by Tom who is watching his children for the weekend. As soon as the two become more then just friends, a huge storm rolls on in and hits the town. Tom discovers a giant hole in the ground and an alien Tripod emerges from its depths. Meanwhile, Cindy finds the soul of a tortured boy living inside the house who tells her he knows the secret on how to defeat the aliens. But before he gives it too her, he vanishes. The only way to figure out the mystery is to find the boy's father.