A year after they survived a high school massacre, Cindy Campbell and friends are persuaded by their pervy professor to spend a weekend in a haunted house in the name of science. Cue the randy ghost, the freaky butler, the gross-out gags, the movie spoofs.
We know what the Wayans brothers did last summer - they mowed down middle-of-the-road critics and made a killing at the box office with 'Scary Movie'.
The postmodern slasher movie boom that began with 'Scream' was tailing off, but the torrent of American Pie-style toilet humour was still in full flow. All it took to hit $160 million in the US charts was an R-rated combination of the two, with the Wayans' spoof scene approach to comedy making it easy for audiences to know where the laughs were coming from.
Sometimes it's just a case of being in the right place at the right time. But, as horror movies are so fond of telling us after their eye-catching opening set-piece, now it's ONE YEAR LATER and the world has moved on. Gross-out gags aren't enough in themselves to shock us into gales of laughter; an uninspired rip-off of 'The Matrix's slo-mo action style isn't enough to fool us into believing that the filmmakers are cleverly playing around with pop culture; 'Scary Movie 2' isn't funny or frightening enough to justify even its mercifully short running time.
After the half-decent 'I'm Gonna Get You Sucka', the Wayans started taking an on-the-surface approach to jumping on the bandwagon of whatever movie trend was coining it in. Soon came 'Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood' - less a film title than a formula for their brand of copycat writing. 'Scary Movie' was a virtual rewrite of 'Scream', with some rude bits. The sequel could be called What Lies Beneath The Poltergeist Who's Shining At The House On Haunted Hill.
When a scene gets scary, they undercut it with a joke. When a joke gets funny, they undercut it with infantile bad taste. Striking box office gold once, a sequel was inevitable; but surely the Wayans boys could have spent a moment coming up with an original thought in between trips to the bank?
Scarily awful - this spoof horror franchise needs a stake driven through its heart, and quick...