Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Haunted House (2013)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

Prepairing to start their new life together, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) invites his girlfriend, Kisha (Essence Atkins) to move in with him. But the happy couple encounter a series of unexplainable incidents in the new home. With limited options available, a frightened Kisha pushes Malcolm to seek help from the paranormal investigation field.

Kisha and Malcolm seek help from Dan (David Koechner) and Bob (Dave Sheridan), a duo of brothers, who install security cameras for a living, while Dan tries to push a paranormal reality show as ghost busters at the same time, Chip (Nick Swardson), a psychic, Father Doug Williams (Cedric The Entertainer), and Malcolm‘s “gangster” cousin, Ray-Ray (Affion Crockett). Kisha and Malcolm are forced to deal with problems from the housekeeper, Rosa (Marlene Forte), and some awkward interruptions from Steve (Andrew Daly) and Jenny (Alanna Ubach), a swinging married couple. As time passes, it’s clear a malevolent entity is stalking Malcolm and Kisha, and the situation becomes more complex, when Kisha reveals secrets in her dark past……..

Whacky. That’s best word to describe the performances here. You’ll see a lot of whacky, and over the top silliness from the cast, but it’s a spoof horror comedy, so you have to expect that, I guess.

I know A Haunted House is supposed to be an over the top film, but overkill is a real problem here. A prime example is a lame running gag with Nick Swardson’s Chip and Malcolm. Every time the lights go out, there’s a panic in the dark. And when the lights pop on again, Chip is clinging to (or trying to) Malcolm in some random sexual position, because Chip is obviously attracted to Malcolm.

Although, A Haunted House deserves some credit for noticeable attention to detail spoofs. A Haunted House spoofs The Devil Inside, The Blair Witch Project, and Paranormal Activity. Paranormal Activity is the main story arc for the spoofs used in this film, and the noticeable effort to mimic the Paranormal films really surprised me. A Haunted House mirrors everything from the camera angles, to the security camera footage, falling furniture, recreating entire scenes from the Paranormal films step by step, the final moments of the first film, and Katie and Kristi’s backstory as a child. As a child, Kisha had an imaginary friend/invisible demon named Tony as a friend, and of course Tony is the invisible demon, who’s tormenting Malcolm and Kisha in their new home. If you remember the Paranormal films, Toby is the name of the invisible demon, who befriended Katie and Kristi. Nice touch.

Remember the ending to The Blair Witch Project with an emotionless Mike standing still in a corner? Well they also spoof that scene here with Bob standing in a corner. Of course, the big difference is Bob is urinating. And kudos to A Haunted House for maintaining feelings of authenticity for the found-footage POV style throughout the movie.

Plus, I got a few good chuckles out of the scene where Malcolm and Kisha ignore the demon. The scene happens towards the end of the movie, and while Malcolm and Kisha are sitting around in the kitchen, the demon strikes by opening drawers, throwing pots and pans around, and destroying everything. Instead of freaking out, Malcolm and Kisha calmly ignore the demon in an attempt to get under his skin (i.e. Malcolm commenting on the new plastic drinking cups, preventing the demon from breaking more glass). Hilarious moment, because in every paranormal/haunting horror film, you see the exact opposite reaction for this scenario.  

Still, A Haunted House was too hit and miss for me. I won’t sit here and lie to you, because I DID laugh pretty hard a few times. But when the forty minute mark for A Haunted House rolled around, I was beyond burnt out on the goofy lunacy and constant barrage of slapstick gags. Although, if you’re looking for non-stop outrageousness, A Haunted House won’t disappoint you at all. There’s more than enough raunchy and vulgar humor, sex gags, and in-your-face buffoonery during the one hour and twenty-six minutes runtime. So yeah, you’ll get your fill on an orgy scene, Malcolm and Kisha sharing weed with a demon, and demon rape.

Marlon Wayans returns to his Scary Movie roots with this horror spoof. And if you’re wondering, yes, A Haunted House is better than the neutered Scary Movie films (Scary Movie 3, 4, and 5), but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a major accomplishment to brag about.

Rating: 4/10

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