Which Scary Movie is the best? As parody movies, the franchise tries to stay within the horror genre while also making a joke out of the original content. Yet, that doesn’t stop them from reaching outside horror movies to make many pop culture references and it’s had varying degrees of success over the years.
The movies couldn’t always succeed at being a hit either audiences or critics as they used plenty of slapstick humor but the pop culture references could become dated before the movie was even done playing in theaters. Here are the five Scary Movie films ranked, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Updated on June 5th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: Though the Scary Movie franchise has never been a critical darling, it has struck a chord with fans, if only for being memorable examples of bad taste in popular cinema. Which Scary Movie is the funniest is something that fans often debate and even critics can’t quite make up their minds on each individual entry, it would seem, as some of the scores on this list have shifted slightly since it was first published. We’ve adjusted those and added the streaming info so fans of horror and comedy can find the best Scary Movie for them and watch it online right now.
5 Scary Movie 5 (2013) – 4%
● Available on Netflix
Coming in at last place, Scary Movie 5 only received 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. The final movie was helmed by Girls Trip and Night School director Malcolm D. Lee and was written by David Zucker, who directed the two previous films, and Pat Proft.
Scary Movie 4 marked Anna Faris’s last appearance in the franchise, but instead, the leading role is given to former Disney Channel star Ashley Tisdale. Scary Movie 5 parodies Paranormal Activity, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Black Swan, and many more. Like its predecessors, it also features an array of guest stars and cameos but it wasn’t a hit on other sites either, coming in at 11% on Metacritic and 3.5 on IMDb.
4 Scary Movie 2 (2001) – 14%
● Available on Pluto TV
Using The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Haunting, and many more as the source of its jokes, Scary Movie 2 brought back its main characters for a much more conventional kind of sequel. Like the other movies in the franchise, it also makes fun of well-known horror movie tropes, such as a group of people splitting up in the midst of a dangerous situation.
Critics did not find the film great, however, and in addition to its low Rotten Tomatoes score, the movie also received 29% on Metacritic and 5.3 on IMDb.
3 Scary Movie 4 (2006) – 35%
● Available on Hulu and Tubi
Scary Movie 4 is the final installment to star main cast members Anna Faris and Regina Hall. Reuniting to face another terrifying adventure, Cindy and Brenda continue to live a life of hilarious horror as they once again are at the center of terrifying events. This time, the duo are thrown into the world of Saw.
However, that is not the only film to be parodied. The Grudge and War of the Worlds are also central to the parody’s plot. James Earl Jones even makes a cameo and narrates the conclusion to the movie as a nod to Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. But despite writers and directors with many successes in the comedy genre to their names, the movie still only received 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, 40% on Metacritic, and 5.1 on IMDb.
2 Scary Movie 3 (2003) – 35%
● Available on Starz
Using The Ring and Signs as primary sources of inspiration, the third movie sees Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles as Cindy and Brenda to once again have their lives terrorized by well-known horror movie villains. One of the film’s stand-out moments has Brenda face-off against Tabitha, the movie’s parody of The Ring villain, Sadako Yamamura. When Tabitha climbs through the television to attack Brenda, Brenda watches in horrid fascination until Tabitha gets water all over the floor, then the fight begins. Although Brenda can fend off Tabitha for a bit, in the end, Brenda dies from the attack, only to be revived in the following movie.
Scary Movie 3 was directed by comedy legend David Zucker–who, with creative partners Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, created beloved hits like Airplane!–and written by successful comedy movie writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft, it still only received 49% on Metacritic and 5.5 on IMDb.
1 Scary Movie (2000) – 52%
● Available for purchase on Prime Video
Scary Movie is rated the best in the franchise by critics at a relatively high 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. Making fun of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer amongst many others, the first movie in the franchise follows Cindy and her friends as a mysterious killer works their way through town. The parody also includes several cameo appearances, including James Van Der Beek, portraying a character meant to reference Dawson’s Creek. Like all of its sequels, the film uses its humor to make fun of horror movies and the unbelievable situations the characters get themselves into but generally fared a lot better with both audiences and critics with a score of 48% on Metacritic and a 6.2 on IMDb.
Keenen Ivory Wayans directed the movie, and there were several notable screenwriters credited for the script. They included Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, and Aaron Seltzer. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer would themselves also go on to find similarly evident financial success and critical failure years later as the screenwriters of parody movies Vampires Suck, Date Movie, Epic Movie, and The Starving Games.
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