MARLON WAYANS ESSENCE ATKINS NICK SWARDSON CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER
A HAUNTED HOUSE
The last time writer and actor Marlon Wayans did one of these spoofs was 2009’s Dance Flick, poking fun at all those horrible copycat dance competition movies. The latest object of his humor isn’t horror films like his Scary Movie parodies, but demons as seen in Paranormal Activity, The Devil Inside and other waste-of-time films shot with the handheld camera. Just like with his previous films, Wayans takes most of the set up directly from the films, but inserts his vulgarity, stupidity and complete ridiculousness into this. Some people will laugh, others will just sit there bored that the same people who find Paranormal Activity scary will find this funny.
Malcolm (Wayans) has just bought a new video camera to document his life with his long-time girlfriend Keisha (Atkins), who is moving in with him. What he doesn’t realize is that with her comes a ghost and a demon. Besides her horrible gas at night, things begin to happen around the house and they have cameras installed so they can watch everything the next morning. Keisha confesses that a few years ago she made a deal with the devil over some Louis Vuitton shoes that she just had to have. Malcolm invites some ghost hunters and a psychic into his home to help with the situation.
In these types of movies, taking it too far is only half the game and Wayans doesn’t go as far as we have seen him go in previous spooks. However, everything from taking a dump on Keisha’s fathers ashes to being raped by an invisible ghost occurs in an hour and a half. Nudity and racism isn’t enough either, as Wayans has always strived for the truly inappropriate; so he tips his hat to that Halloween office party that was in the news a couple years ago where they dressed up as poor people and made fun of the homeless. He makes fun of Halle Berry, spoofs There Will Be Blood in one scene, and all in the realm of Paranormal Activity.
As ridiculous and stupid as the Paranormal Activity movies are and continue to be, A Haunted House only makes them more unappealing. The problem with this type of cinema is that it gets old really quick; it’s like telling the same joke for 90 minutes. I don’t find stuff like this funny because I despise the source material in the first place. Wayans, who has no shame, even violently and graphically humps stuffed animals for a solid five minutes. The key to this type of spoof depends on the audience having seen all the movies he is making fun of, if you haven’t, don’t bother.
Final Thought – Like watching a movie about how bad Paranormal Activity is.
By: Dustin Chase
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
A HAUNTED HOUSE
Usually a movie is about something, but A Haunted House doesn’t seem to be about anything, except making rude jokes about things people hold dear and stringing together a series of whatever gross scenes the writers (Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez) could think of. What is the point of making fun just to make fun? Targets include women, gays, priests, old people, the dead, household help, Latinos, and blacks—all groups toward whom we’re generally averse to their being made the brunt of jokes. Perhaps that is what the writers had in mind, to say something like, “I’ll do you one better.” But to do that as the sole purpose of a film makes for a very tedious, boring story.
The script is probably the worst aspect of A Haunted House. There is little imagination or creativity anywhere in it. Rather than coming up with new ideas, the filmmakers have borrowed liberally from other movies—such as The Exorcist, Ghostbusters, the Paranormal films, et al—once again, simply stringing together a series of “scary” scenes. They seem to be obsessed with bodily functions, which they include whenever they cannot think of anything else to do. Really—do they think they need to insert five explosive farts in case the audience will not “get” just one?
I think Marlon Wayans is a much better actor than writer; he is skilled in conveying all kinds of emotions and thought processes, and connects well with the audience. He is easy to watch—although I could have done without his sex scenes with stuffed animals. His co-star, Essence Atkins, is also very good. She is beautiful, and her acting experience is evident. Of course, Cedric the Entertainer is mostly funny, although he is simply a version of his usual character.
It must be that there are people who lap up the kind of “humor” in this film that I personally have a problem with, but I cannot recommend this film. Grade: D-