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Movie Review – A Haunted House fizzles
Spoof movies, initially made famous by Abbot And Costello when they took on moister flicks, are at its best when they poke fun of their intended targets with smart observations and hilarious situations. Comedic writer and actor Marlon Wayans once again tries his hand at spoofing. Intent on doing what his widely popular and successful “Scary Movie” series did to horror/slasher movies, “A Haunted House” pokes fun of “Paranormal Activity,” “The Devil Inside” and all of the other “found footage” movies.
The premise of Wayans’ latest movie is simple and seems ripe for laughter. Couple Malcolm Johnson (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) move in together in an upscale house when of course they realize they are not alone. Spoiler alert: the house isn’t possessed;Kisha is. Being the loving boyfriend that he is, Malcolm tries to help exorcise Kisha’s demons by hiring everyone from a priest to ‘modern-day’ Ghostbusters.
Written by Wayans and his partner Rick Alvarez, the movie falls flat on the plot and jokes. Wayans and Alvarez fail to think outside the box; instead they go for the cheap laughs, dry jokes or just flat-out corny situations. Watching the scenes where Malcolm tries to revive his run-over dog with CPR and humping several stuffed animals were painful to watch.
The cast does their best to save the script but when funny isn’t funny, it just isn’t funny. Essence Atkins flexes her comedic chops when she can. Cedric The Entertainer was mildy entertaining as the dirty ex-convict and priest Father Williams, who was supposed to be a play off of Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Pulp Fiction,’” I assume. Nick Swardson’s turn as the gay psychic who’d rather get into Malcolm’s pants instead out getting the demon out of Kisha barely elicited a laugh from the audience.
Wayans is quick to point out “A Haunted House” is not a parody but a group of characters doing the opposite of what white people would normally do in similar situations in “found footage” movies. He is right; a parody is a humorous or satirical imitation. There’s hardly anything funny about “A Haunted House.” Though he is now officially a man in his forties, Wayans’ humor continues to be more suited for the high school kids. I’m still waiting for his comedic writing style to grow up.
- ‘ Haunted House’ wears out joke (toledoblade.com)
- A Haunted House Scores Big at Box Office (eleetmag.com)
- Win Yourself Some Swag in A Haunted House (dreadcentral.com)
- Video: Marlon Wayans at it Again With ‘A Haunted House’ (atlantablackstar.com)