Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Haunted House (2013)

The Scary Movie franchise most likely has four sequels because it can never run out of material.  The writers may choose to spoof any film they want to.  Spoof comedies such as Dance Movie and Epic Movie are a bit more limited since they are confined to a more specific genre.  A Haunted House is extremely limited since it mocks a particular set of four films, the Paranormal Activity series.  Since Marlon Wayans and company can only make fun of the repetitive themes of observing paranormal activities in a household from found footage, A Haunted House gets old very quickly and makes an 86 minute movie feel eternal.
Malcolm’s (Wayans) girlfriend is moving in.  Kisha (Essence Atkins), along with all of her tangible items, brings with her a demon who likes to terrorize the couple while they sleep and occasionally during the day as well.  Copying the first Paranormal Activity film for most of its gags (and what looks likes the exact same house), Wayans mines the omnipresent first person camera jokes for all they’re worth (which isn’t much) and tacks on a truckload of fart jokes and homophobia.    
I laughed more than a few times though.  The demon gets up to some amusing shenanigans with our couple who at times mock him right back when he misspells ‘ghost’ on the Ouija board.  There are some long-running gags which land with a thud though including Malcolm in drawn out sex scenes with stuffed animals and Kisha’s extremely loud and rotten smelling flatulence during the night.  At least the better sections of the film are when the couple is on the screen.
There are multiple supporting characters that come in and out of the house on demon business who are not funny at all.  The worst one is camera installer and ghost hunter Dan the Security Man (David Koechner).  He gets most of the racist jokes and at one point repeatedly asks if he can say the n-word just once.  Another loser character is Chip the Psychic (Nick Swardson) who gets most of the gay jokes as he tries to find situations to get close to Malcolm.
Cedric the Entertainer as Father Williams, a version of The Exorcist priest, elicits some laughs as he confronts Kisha when she finally gets fully possessed by the demon.  However, Father Williams does not make up for the couple (Andrew Daly and Alanna Ubach) who come over and try non-stop to get Malcolm and Kisha to swap partners.  They beat those jokes absolutely to death within the first 15 seconds yet they keep going back to them over and over again.  The funniest supporting characters are Kisha’s mom and step-dad (Robin Thede and J.B. Smoove) who show up briefly on an old videotape from 1988; making fun of the ‘80s is pretty easy and they pull it off. 
Unfortunately, there is going to be A Haunted House 2 next year.  This iteration only cost $2 million to make (on what I have no idea) and cleared $40 million at the box office.  Here’s hoping that this franchise does not mimic its Scary Movie cousins and make it to number 5. 
Directed by: Michael Tiddes
Written by: Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, David Koechner, Marlene Forte, Nick Swardson, Dave Sheridan, Alanna Ubach, Andrew Daly, Cedric the Entertainer, Affion Crockett, Robin Thede, J.B. Smoove


  1. Great review. Nick Swardson was indeed a loser, but I did find myself chuckling a few times while watching this mess.

  2. It's funny when an invisible demon gets pissed off for being made fun of. Still, lay off the stuffed animals.