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Scary Movie 3

Great trilogies come in threes. 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Scary Movie 3

News anchorwoman Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) is investigating the case of a mysterious videotape, which, somehow kills people seven days after they watch it. Meanwhile farmer Tom Logan (Charlie Sheen) wakes up to find strange shapes ploughed into his cornfields, including the words "Attack Here". Tom's white brother George (Simon Rex) is preparing to enter a hip hop contest, as the only white brother.

Scary Movie 3 takes its spoofing teeth and bites deeply into The Ring, Signs and 8 Mile, sucking them down to their bare credits. Having seen The Ring or Signs before Scary Movie 3 is definitely a good idea, as you will get more of the jokes, but it's not essential. Scary Movie 3 also spoofs bits from The Matrix, The Others, The Sixth Sense and probably many more. There is even a direct quote from Airplane that makes absolutely no sense in its new context.

Despite being a sequel sequel Scary Movie 3 is sufficiently different to its predecessors and enormously funny by itself. This is largely due to the influence of director David Zucker, who is responsible for such comedy classics as Airplane, Naked Gun and Hot Shots. This film has that Zucker joke-a-minute humour, with some jokes falling flat but the majority soaring. On the acting side the cast is strong, with Charlie Sheen, Anna Faris and the deadpan god of comedy that is Leslie Nielson.

This film is a mixture of slapstick comedy, clever lines and spoofing so good that there is no hope of watching Signs or The Ring afterwards and not finding them utterly unscary. There is also one of the most just plain wrong scenes ever, involving an open casket wake, a mishearing and a defibrillator.

Scary Movie 3, unlike its 18 rated predecessors, is only a 15 because it doesn't have to rely on gratuitous vomit or nudity ("In or out?" *shudder*) to make you laugh or cringe. It's definitely worth seeing, especially since it also features Simon Cowell getting shot, a lot.

Nick Grills

Scary Movie 3 is a surprisingly amusing film: one of the funniest of the last year. Sure, it’s silly, tasteless, infantile, disgusting, and all but inexplicable to anyone who isn't familiar with American schlock-horror and thrillers. Of course, it's filled with barf jokes, boob jokes, sex jokes, cheap shots, slapstick and puns so awful that you laugh at them not because they are funny but because someone actually had the nerve to say something so stupid out loud. In a film like Scary Movie 3, though, such descriptions are less complaints than badges of honour and this film wears every single one of them proudly.

There are several reasons why this film works in ways that the other episodes simply didn't. The main change this time around is that the Wayans have been replaced by David Zucker, whose experience in the film parody genre can be demonstrated by such classics as Airplane! and The Naked Gun series. The immediate difference is one of approach; while the jokes in the previous films tended to focus on disgusting sight gags seemingly designed only to humiliate the performers, Zucker goes for a lighter, sillier method of attack and uses every comic style in his arsenal in order to score laughs. Yes, there are gross-out gags but he also mixes things up with stupid jokes, elaborate parodies and genuinely sophisticated wordplay.

Another reason why Scary Movie 3 works is that they have finally chosen the correct films to parody. Instead of simply concentrating on one film, Scary Movie 3 comes up with a story (to use the term loosely) that manages to incorporate elements from The Ring, The Others, Signs, The Matrix Reloaded and 8 Mile. These are actually good selections because they were films that were genuinely enjoyed by a large audience and they were filled with just enough self-seriousness so as to be ripe for satire.

All Scary Movie 3 wants to do is make you laugh by any means necessary and, on the whole, it succeeds. You have plenty of opportunities in the current Student Cinema season to watch profound films about the human condition. Those are all well and good but there are times when you would simply prefer dumb laughs to the self-seriousness other offerings. Scary Movie 3 more than fits that particular bill.

Percival Tucker

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)