There was once a time where spoof movies worked; primarily Scary Movie 1 and 2 from the Wayans Brothers. It was a time where these spoofs of hit movies were somewhat new. Taking scenes directly from the movie and altering them to be funny with clever and immature humor.
Now, these spoofs have gone too far. Branching off from Scary Movie came the annoying line of PG-13 flops with that awful tag: “From [insert a very small fraction] of the writers of Scary Movie…”. The apparently unfunny and cringe-worthy writers that brought us Date Movie, Superhero Movie, Epic Movie, and that god-fucking-awful Meet the Spartans. The Scary Movie series was taken over by David Zucker and given their own spin (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly was a change of pace).
But this lead in isn’t about Scary Movie, this is about A Haunted House.
A Haunted House is the latest flick to come from a Wayans; specifically Marlon. If you’ve seen a trailer or TV spot for this movie, you can see it deliberately spoofs the new wave of found footage haunted house movies. I suppose it is about that time to make fun of them.
AHH features Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins playing Malcolm and Kisha. The two are a couple that just moved in with each other. Malcolm sees it is necessary to film everything for whatever reason (Who cares? It’s a parody). After a few nights, they soon realize there is something going on. They assume its burglars so they quickly get a full security system installed to look over the whole house. Over a few nights they start noticing things moving around at night when they watch the film of them having sex. The strange occurrences start becoming more and more violent as the couple becomes more aware of what’s going on.
To help with the ghost, they call upon a psychic (Nick Swardson), a pair of ghost busting weirdos (David Koechner and Dave Sheridan), a priest (Cedric the Entertainer), and Malcolm’s gang-banger cousin Ray Ray (Affion Crockett). All of which do not provide any help for the cause.
A Haunted House is certainly not that clever, but its R rating gave it room to be offensive. This certainly helped the movie out at times, adding comedic effect that being PG-13 may not do justice. The characters were allowed to be more natural in their, dare I say, black moments. When shit gets real they let their true self out. The downside of the rating is the unnecessary sexual themes they added in. It’s one thing to have a sex scene “for the camera” but when you have a 2-minute lead in to that with Marlon Wayans dry humping a stuffed animal, it gets stupid.
Most of the humor fell flat with me. They just recreated many scenes from all of the Paranormal Activity (-ies) and The Devil Inside with a quick call back to Quarantine (which I actually appreciated) and added a sex and fart joke.
What made this movie somewhat tolerable were some of the supporting cast. Cedric the Entertainer came in as the priest who isn’t really a priest; more of a wanted felon. He comes in to perform an exorcism on a possessed Kisha, and he puts his holy diagnosis along the lines of “Dog, this bitch is crazy”. His one-liners were bright spots in a rather dark and dull movie.
Another enjoyable character was Nick Swardson’s role as the gay psychic. I think Swardson is a natural talent for acting gay. He evaluates the couple’s house while continuously hitting on Malcolm, asking him to join his 5-man wrestling league. Making each scene he is in uncomfortable and funny within reason.
But in the full picture, A Haunted House is just a rude and crude spoof movie that doesn’t really do much beyond that. While that is kind of expected, it surely doesn’t blow anyone away with how funny it is. The movie’s crudeness comes off without any wit. Tired gags and recycled jokes are riddled throughout the movie. It’s hard to watch at times. If you’re looking for a clever and funny spoof of Hollywood’s tired genre of found footage horror movies, A Haunted House is not your jam. Maybe we can look forward to Scary Movie 5 after all [/sarcasm].
A Haunted House – 4/10