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Twilight Double Header!!!

"What Lies Beneath" and "Scary Movie"

Am I just getting lazy or do these two movies belong in the same review? "What Lies Beneath" takes itself very seriously while "Scary Movie" makes fun of all those silly scream flics.

"What Lies Beneath"

Starring Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Scarwid, and Joe Morton

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Written by Sarah Kernochan and Clark Gregg. Produced by Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey and Robert Zemeckis. Cinematography by Don Burgess. Editing by Arthur Schmidt

Produced by DreamWorks SKG and Image Movers. Distributed by 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Distribution. Rated PG-13, Runtime is an endless 129 minutes

"Scary Movie"

Starring Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Anna Faris, Cheri Oteri, Shannon Elizabeth

Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, Written by Shawn and Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Produced by Lisa Blum, Eric Gold, Lee Mayes and Keenen Ivory Wayans. Cinematography by Francis Kenny, Editing by Mark Helfrich

Produced by Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, Dimension Films, Gold/Miller Productions and Wayans Bros. Entertainment. Distributed by Dimension Films. Rated R for penis, sperm and all kinds of other props. Runtime is a refreshing 88 minutes.

Reviewed by A. Hitchcock

Two movies are reviewed on this page. What Lies Beneath, produced and distributed by Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox loses its way in chasing too many genres and audiences. Is it horror or a murder mystery? Is it for the older moviegoer or the youth market. Scary Movie, produced by the Wayan Bros. and Dimension Films is on target as a hysterical and gross satire of modern horror films. We fell asleep in one and laughed ourselves sick in the other.

Summary and Rating

It's mid summer and the supposed wisdom of the grand phoobas who rule the studio call for the release of shock flics to get kids off the beach and back into the theatres. What Lies Beneath is a conventional supernatural thriller while Scary Movie lampoons the shock genre. Given the relationship between the two, I decided to put both into one review. What Lies Beneath is tired, predictable, miscast, and aims for the wrong demographic. Scary Movie is this year's There's Something About Mary. It's dirty, gross and hysterically funny. Charitably, I give What Lies Beneath One Half Grin since it does have some moments. With Scary Movie, I almost peed in my pants. Four and a Half Grins.

What Lies Beneath
Scary Movie
Story: What Lies Beneath

Poor Claire, left all alone in a big scary house while busy hubby is hard working at the nearby university and their dear daughter has gone off to college. Strange things start to happen. Doors keep opening, the same picture falls to the ground and the bathtub is always filled. (This is obviously a very clean ghost). Add to this, momentary glimpses of a woman's face all make Claire very jumpy. Off she runs to a local shrink for a few sessions but the strange occurrences continue. Clues start popping up such as a key and a newspaper article about a missing college coed. As things progress, Claire learns that her loyal hubby has had a romantic adventure that may have led to a tragic conclusion. The rest makes up the only exciting part of this film.

Review: What Lies Beneath

In What Lies Beneath, Director, Robert Zemeckis, took on a genre where he has little experience. Zemeckis, known mostly for movies that have roots in science fiction and fantasy takes a big leap in trying his hand at doing a combination horror/murder mystery film. It just doesn't work. Sure, there are moments, mostly achieved through loud noises shocking the audience but for the most part, What Lies Beneath plods to the finish line. Only the last 30 minutes has any pacing at all while the first three-quarters of the film drags endlessly. Zemeckis, never shy about recycling material from other films borrows extensively from past scary movies. Because of this, most of the shock value is gone because it's so predictable. Doors opening, pictures falling, ghost faces, blah, blah. Its been done and overdone. It's confusing whether Zemeckis is trying to do a scary movie or a murder mystery. The plotline jumps back and forth between Claire's investigation of her husband's activities and the mysterious activities going on both in the Spencer house as well as with the neighbors . Oh yeah, Zemeckis introduces us to characters that seem to matter which are then yanked, never to be seen again in the film. The psychiatrist, the couple next door, seem to matter and then they don't. One can assume that these characters are put in to the story to allow for plot twists, but they also tend to slow the forward momentum of the story down. The trailer had the right pacing, the movie dragged. Even Claire's bathtub scene took forever. How long does it take to fill the damm tub already!!! The ending is completely freaking predictable although I did like the underwater and special effects based action at the end. Of the entire movie, what I found most interesting was Zemeckis' control of the colors in his frame. The dominant colors were cold blue and white, which, along with the frequency of scenes with water supported where the movie was headed. That was cool (pun intended). Lastly, Zemeckis casting choices are puzzling. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer often are cast in romantic leading roles. Both are the love stars for the older moviegoers. There's nothing romantic going on in this film. Are Ford and Pfeiffer trying to break their typecasts? If so, they should probably cut loose and go real independent. Harrison, find out what Keitel's next project is and be his co-star. Michelle, call up Hillary Swank's agent and partner with her. If What Lies Beneath was a vehicle for a director and a couple of big stars to break the mold, it's a timid attempt.

Overall, What Lies Beneath was a plodding, predictable movie filled with borrowed cliches, which gets us to the other film in this review: Scary Movie.

Story: Scary Movie

There ain't much. The high school kids dispose of the body of a fisherman who they ran over (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and a killer comes for revenge.

Review: Scary Movie

Scary Movie, done by the Wayans family completely lampoons the horror genre. Much like what Mel Brooks did with Westerns, Wayans ridicules all the cliches of recent horror films as well as taking on some other recent popular pictures. The Scream Trilogy, American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Matrix, and The Sixth Sense are just a few of the movies that get hammered by Scary Movie. Scary Movie is filled with sex and potty jokes done in the sickest but funniest fashion. Warning to those who are offended easily; Scary Movie can be quite offensive. Based on the success of There's Something About Mary, sick comedy will probably only get sicker and Scary Movie swings for the wall in trying to outdo some of the grosser parts of Mary.

There's not much more to say. Scary Movie rocks. It throws the challenge at those who make horror films to come up with new material or face ridicule. After seeing Scary Movie, there's no way you can watch any of the Scream movies without chuckling. Had Zemeckis known that his first horror film would be playing opposite of Scary Movie, he probably would have instead made another sequel for Contact or Back to The Future. The Wayans family does what they know best and succeeds. Zemeckis, with his cast, shoots for new territory and doesn't.

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