A Haunted House
Facts and Figures
Run time: 86 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th January 2013
Box Office USA: $40.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $40M
Distributed by: Open Road Films
Production compaines: Open Road Films, IM Global, Wayans Bros. Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 10%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 46
IMDB: 5.0 / 10
A Haunted House Review
Yet another spoof from Wayans and Alvarez, this movie isn't nearly as bad as it could have been (they also produced the resolutely unfunny Scary Movie 2 and Dance Flick). There's the germ of a clever idea here, mainly satirising the Paranormal Activity series in the context of a new relationship. But of course, they can't resist resorting to random pastiche and silly gross-out jokes instead of actually clever comedy.
Wayans plays Malcolm, a cheeky guy who is far too thrilled that his girlfriend Kisha (Atkins) is moving in with him. She's a little more reticent about it all, especially because she thinks there's a ghost creeping around the house. So Malcolm installs a security camera system, secretly hoping to videotape their sex life. As the paranormal shenanigans increase, their friends (Ubach and Daly) introduce them to a psychic (Swardson) and then a priest (Cedric). And it turns out that Kisha has a history with evil spirits.
Filmmaker Tiddes plays merrily with the found footage genre, shooting everything as if through a video camera, webcam or CCTV, while indulging in the format's voyeuristic possibilities. This gives the premise, of a couple moving in together, a smart kick. So it's very frustrating when some genuinely amusing scenes are interrupted for cheap toilet gags and only weakly comical set pieces. After setting things up, the screenwriters just get lazy and stop bothering to make scenes funny or engaging at all.
As a result, the movie turns into the kind of film it's trying to parody: a lot of banal, uninteresting footage in which nothing much happens. Essentially it's not much more than a series of vaguely comical black-out sketches, as wacky side characters come and go with irrelevant jokes and simplistic vulgarity. On the other hand, when the humour hinges on the central relationship, it's smart and pointed, and gives us a glimpse of the clever spoof this might have been.