Movie Review: A Haunted House
Rating: R (For crude and sexual content, language, and some drug use)
Length: 86 minutes
Release Date: Jan. 11, 2013
Directed by: Michael Tiddes
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Stars: 3 out of 5
In "A Haunted House," a couple moves in together only to realize that their house is haunted. Written by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez and directed by Michael Tiddes, the film chronicles the life of this couple as they try to deal with the demon and keep their life normal.
The movie begins as Malcolm Johnson (Marlon Wayans) prepares to move in with his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins). Johnson decides to document the move on film, unwittingly recording paranormal happenings in their new house.
"A Haunted House" is a parody of "Paranormal Activity," but it also seems to have received inspiration from other demon movies, including "The Devil Inside." After he moves in with Kisha, Malcolm becomes more and more anxious about their relationship. His friends do not make matters any simpler for him when they continually tell him that couples who cohabit often find that their sex lives disrupted. In fact, this is his basis for installing surveillance cameras all over the house in hopes of capturing some of the bedroom action on camera.
In a particularly comical twist, the ghost turns out to be just as randy as the man of the house. A sleepy Kisha enjoys paranormal sex with the ghost and is not averse to the idea either. Even Malcolm is not left alone, as he is soon possessed and violated by the demon too. Some people have found this to be an uncomfortable scene in the movie, and matters are compounded when a gay psychic named Chip (Nick Swardson) has his hands all over Malcolm.
This movie has been described by many people as desperately funny. While that might be stretching the description a bit too far, some of the comical scenes are strained. Nevertheless, many people will still find it funny because it is filled with crude gestures and references. A case in point is the scene where a scantily clad Malcolm comically simulates having sex with an animal. Another example is when he is sodomized by the demon and accidentally uploads the footage online. These are the kinds of jokes in "A Haunted House," and only those who find such situations funny will enjoy the movie.
One question the filmmakers decide to leave unanswered is the origin of the demon. Given that the paranormal activities commence with the arrival of Kisha, it can be argued that she might have instigated them. It is also revealed that she has had previous dealings with a demon when she sold her soul to the dark forces for a pair of stunning Louis Vuittons.
It is also interesting to note that those who are brought in to exorcise the house seem to have their own agendas. Two surveillance experts, Dan (David Koechner) and Bob (Dave Sheridan), have each produced reality television shows. Among other self-professed exorcists is the lewd ghetto-raised Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer).
It's good to watch this film with an open mind. Those who are easily offended may find "A Haunted House" distasteful. The jokes about bodily functions may be particularly displeasing to some people, but others will find them decidedly funny.
Movies of this genre will obviously have their flaws, but it does not pay to dwell on these faults. In most cases, the characters themselves carry the greatest weight and determine whether or not the film is a success, and most film audiences base their reviews on whether or not the lead characters are likable enough to be remembered. In "A Haunted House," the actors are as genuine as they can be, and the nudity, drug use, dirty jokes, and stereotypes all unite to make the film maddeningly funny.
Often collaborating with his brother Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans is an American comedian, actor, and director. He has appeared in "Scary Movie," "Little Man," and "G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." Atkins is an American actress best known for her role as Dee Dee Thorne in the sitcom "Half & Half." She also appeared in the sitcoms "Are We There Yet?" and "Smart Guy." Cedric the Entertainer is an American comedian, director, and actor who has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including "Barbershop," "The Original Kings of Comedy," and "The Soul Man."