3 1/2 Stars
Having grown weary of the declining Paranormal Activity
trilogy, A Haunted House
arrives just in time to uproariously skewer the series and found footage flicks in general. Leave it up to the talented Wayans clan to successfully lampoon the new generation of horror, after having done it 13 years before riffing on Scream
and it’s contemporaries in Scary Movie
and the sequel Scary Movie 2
. A Haunted House
isn’t the instant classic those films are, but it is just as good as the criminally underrated White Chicks
. More importantly it nearly erases the memory of Little Man
and firmly establishes Marlon Wayans as one of the most gifted comedians working today.
We meet Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) on the day his long-time girlfriend Keisha (Essence Atkins) is moving into his home. He has just purchased a video camera from the local Best Buy and plans to document the couples’ life together. After a few uneventful nights, a series of unexplainable noises are heard and physical items are suddenly moved about. All of the usual stops are hit along the way, but Wayans and his co writer Rick Alvarez (working with excellent supporting comedic talent) turn the typical on its ear. There is the home video surveillance guy, who keeps begging Malcolm to let him utter a racial slur. A psychic is called in to investigate the supernatural and as played by Nick Swardson, is more interested in Malcolm’s heterosexuality than spirits.
There are plenty of genuine laughs throughout the scant 87 minute running-time, unlike most comedies the film doesn’t run out of steam in the first twenty minutes. This is a consistently funny movie, that had me laughing out loud numerous times. The rare comedy I wanted to watch again, immediately. As with any spoof, a working knowledge of the source material is always a plus.
Director: Michael Tiddes
Stars: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins. Nick Swardson