Wanna hear something really scary?

"Scary Movie 2" had seven writers. Seven.

That's one writer for every big laugh in its stealthy 82 minutes. More frightening: these jokes are worth waiting for, worth chuckling through the predictable jokes, groaning at the repetitive ones, and holding out for just one more scene with a libido-driven potty-mouthed parrot.

The sequel starts out promisingly enough, with James Woods filling in for Marlon Brando (who called in sick after accepting the part) as a priest brought in to help Father Harris (Andy Richter, in a bad wig) poke fun at "The Exorcist." Woods throws himself into a shameless bathroom joke unworthy of even "South Park," then recovers, accompanying Richter in the best vomit joke since Stephen King's "Stand By Me." Actually, it's the exact same joke in "Stand By Me," but still over-the-top enough to work twice.

Unfortunately, director Keenen Ivory Wayan's chose a flawed framework for his sequel. While the first "Scary Movie" thrived on the mythology of the immensely popular "Scream" and other teen horror films, "Scary Movie 2" uses 1999's "The Haunting" for a template. A bad remake and unintentional parody of Robert Wise's truly creepy 1963 film, of the same name, "The Haunting" wasn't half the film "Scream" was—thus making "Scary Movie 2" a mere shadow of "Scary Movie."

And so, Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, and Shawn Wayans all reprise their roles, this time as lab rats in a haunted house for a college professor's (Tim Curry) ill-defined experiment. The formula: blah, big laugh, blah.

Director Wayans is smart enough to put Firestone tires and the 2000 presidential election in his comedic cross hairs, and delivers the goods with parodies of "Dude, Where's My Car?," "Charlie's Angels," and "Mission: Impossible 2"—right down to director John Woo's signature use of doves.

Still, "Scary Movie 2" has other demons, among them sloppy transitions, questionable pacing and a sparse script. Tori Spelling stars in a disposable role that looks added on after the film was completed. The movie wanders from joke to joke with not enough narrative—or blood—to make it all stick together.