Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th

"Terrible"

Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th Review


At what point do self-awareness and flip irony double back and smack themselves in the face? The straight-to-cable Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th (it originally aired on USA Networks) is supposedly a parody of the teen horror genre, but considering the self-aware mockery of Scream, this film actually attempts to parody a parody. That is a daunting, thankless task which would require master parodists to pull it off. The makers of Shriek... are not those people.

Shriek's plot, as it were, is a stew of those from Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, centering around five students trying to avoid The Killer, a mysterious bungler in that now omnipresent Edvard Munch "The Scream" mask who knows embarrassing secrets about each of the students, including the fact that one student forgot to give her grandmother her laxative. Ha ha!

One major fault of Shriek... is that it lacks a principal sympathetic character, a la Neve Campbell in Scream or Anna Faris in Scary Movie. The five victims-in-waiting are horror movie archetypes - slutty blond cheerleader, nerd, slightly punkish girl, new kid, and, well, the other guy - none of who emerges as the protagonist. Because of this, we watch the film drift without a storyline to follow or a character to care about, and are therefore left to thrash hopelessly in the muck of the infantile sex and fart jokes or gags that are just plain lazy. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen's news reporter works for a channel called Empty V. Another character passes gas near a fireplace, and blows up a house. The nerd's name is Boner ("that's BAH-ner, sir"). There is even an announcement over the school intercom calling for Mike Hunt and Heywood Jablowme to come to the principal's office. It seemed, at times, that the movie was just a hair away from being two hours of a man making fart noises with his armpit.

Unfortunately, even the jokes not drenched in immaturity often fall flat. At one point, out of nowhere, the characters strut forward in slow motion, the shot and accompanying song a rip from that now-classic scene from Reservoir Dogs. But here, the scene has no context, and therefore no humor. Jon Favreau parodied the exact same shot in Swingers after a discussion of those types of films, and it was hilarious. The makers of Shriek confused funny with simply familiar, thinking we'd laugh just because we recognize the shot. Humor requires context, and even the most basic sight gag needs a foundation.

Ultimately, part of the blame for failed parodies like Shriek... lies in the inspiration of the Zucker Brothers, whose Airplane! and Naked Gun films were the high-water mark for sight gag parodies. The makers of Shriek... were obviously inspired by the Zuckers, and even allude to Airplane! and Naked Gun in a scene where one character recites the rules of parody.

Shriek's creators, however, missed rule number one, a rule the Zucker brothers mastered, which is that even a sight-gag film needs a coherent plot and "real" (within their own universe) characters. Airplane was, from beginning to end, the tale of a plane doomed to crash and the pilot conquering his demons to save it, even as Leslie Nielsen appeared amongst a panicked flight crew reminding them never to call him Shirley. The true genius of that film was that even as we laughed our asses off, we also rooted for Robert Hays to land the plane and resolve his relationship with Julie Hagerty. Airplane! would not have been a classic without that, and many parody filmmakers never learned that lesson.

As such, Shriek... is little more than a series of non-sequiturs thrown at the wall, hoping to make someone, anyone, laugh.

The movie's most telling scene comes when, after the "rules of parody" lecture, the characters decide to watch Airplane!. It is by far the smartest move made by any character in this movie, and exactly what you should do, as opposed to renting Shriek, if you desire a funny, well-made parody.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: John Blanchard

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.