ScreamAimee GrahamJulie BenzMink Stole
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth
Medium: film
Year: 2000
Director: John Blanchard
Writer: Sue Bailey, Joe Nelms
Keywords: comedy
Series: << Scream, << I Know What You Did Last Summer
Country: USA
Actor: Aimee Graham, Chris Palermo, Kim Greist, Harley Cross, Simon Rex, Coolio, Danny Strong, Julie Benz, Majandra Delfino, Steven Anthony Lawrence, Tiffani Thiessen, Martin Diggs, Tom Arnold, Mink Stole, Rose Marie, Artie Lange, Kristin Herold, Renee Graham, Shirley Jones
Format: 86 minutes
Website category: Comedy
Review date: 9 March 2012
I liked it for a while. It ends up drifting downhill, but it's still a massive improvement on what you'd assume from the title.
It's basically another Scary Movie. It was released in the same year as the first one and its cast includes Simon Rex, who's in Scary Movies 3 and 4. Here he plays Slab O'Beef, which is a fair representation of the kind of names they've given to their characters. Others include Nurse Kevorkian, Screw Frombehind, Hagitha Utslay, Mr Hasselhoff and Boner ("it's Bonner!"). The film is a horror parody, in case you hadn't guessed, and in particular is referencing Kevin Williamson's 1990s horror hits, Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. This is exactly what the first Scary Movie did. You can compare their contrasting versions of the same plot elements, including:
(a) Drew Barrymore's phone call
(b) Courtney Cox and David Arquette, with a female TV reporter and a local hick cop
(c) the "what I did last summer" flashback where the gang knock someone down on the road while they're drunk-driving late at night
(d) Ghostface trying to kill people
It's almost more useful to say what's not the same. They borrow differently for the last act, with Scary Movie taking the double-killer twist and this film instead going for the Rules of Horror. The difference is that they change it to the Rules of Parody, which makes for a weird meta-textual digression when Majandra Delfino starts pointing out why they're in a parody film and explaining the rules of the genre. Another point of difference though is their vulgarity. This film is only a bit gross (instead of very) and has no nudity (instead of hardly any).
If it weren't for one fundamental issue, I'd prefer this film to Scary Movie by a clear margin. I loved the latter's sight gags, but this film feels cleverer, made me laugh more and has no dull stoners screaming "wassup". Unfortunately this film has no plot development. Nothing happens. You could re-edit the film's middle hour to put the scenes in almost any order and it would make no difference. Scary Movie on the other hand had a story that moved forward and characters who did things. It was silly, of course. You'd have to be brain-damaged to take that storyline seriously... but at least it existed. Comedy needs a framework, just like anything else, and this film doesn't have one. It just has a bunch of jokes. They're often good, but they don't add up to a satisfying movie.
That said, I still enjoyed much of it and in some ways prefer it to its better-known cousin.
Its jokes are often funnier. The film's full of quotable dialogue, whereas Scary Movie had surprisingly little. "Roofies are bull; I take them before every date and I never get laid." "Popular slut killed: football team mourns." "This is a collect call from 'The Killer', will you accept the charge?" Unfortunately it doesn't have the broadest range of them, so eventually you get overly familiar with things like the Comedy School Tannoy Announcement. They're also sometimes too broad in their parody targets, so for instance I've no idea what Baywatch and Grease are doing in there. Nevertheless this has clearly the superior pisstake of the Drew Barrymore scene, although both are good.
I also prefer its cast. In the Wayans brothers' corner is Dave Sheridan (funnier than Tom Arnold in the Arquette role) and Anna Faris (who has no analogue in today's film, since it doesn't really have a protagonist). What this does have though is Danny Strong and Julie Benz side by side as main characters, turning it nearly into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover in the middle of Buffy's TV run. If you're going to do 1990s horror, then some things are mandatory. This is one of them. Scary Movie cast Shannon Elizabeth as a character called Buffy, then wasted the opportunity. Here on the other hand we have Jonathan and Darla, in a film where the first line is a voice-over saying "Previously in teen horror films..." I loved that. Mind you, in addition I was entertained by people like the charmingly illiterate Simon Rex and the "Administrator Formerly Known As Principal", Coolio.
It's also more plugged into its chosen genre. It has more references to other horror films, which is good because parodies need to be aware of what they're parodying.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. In the end you'll understand why it went straight to DVD, but the lack of plot needn't be a problem if you turn it off after the first half or something. It keeps on gradually losing momentum and invention until the ending isn't very good at all, but you could edit it into an excellent TV episode. Its jokes are funnier than I'd expected and infinitely better than the title suggests. There's also a lot after the closing credits, incidentally, with my favourite bit being what happened to the production crew. I'm glad I hung around for that. Overall, a pretty good half-movie that runs out of steam and doesn't know what to do with itself, but even half a good movie is more than I'd been expecting.