Review No. 508
Mm-hmm, I say, “A Haunted House” ain’t that bad!
DIRECTED BY MICHAEL TIDDES. PRODUCED BY TIDDES, MARLON WAYANS, AND RICK ALVAREZ. WRITTEN BY WAYANS AND ALVAREZ. STARRING WAYANS (MALCOLM JOHNSON), ESSENCE ATKINS (KISHA DAVIS), CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER (FATHER DOUG WILLIAMS), NICK SWARDSON (CHIP THE PSYCHIC), DAVID KOECHNER (DAN “THE MAN” KEARNEY), AND DAVE SHERIDAN (BOB KEARNEY). ALSO STARRING MARLENE FORTE, ANDREW DALY, ALANNA UBACH, AFFION CROCKETT, ROBIN THEDE, AND J.B. SMOOVE. DISTRIBUTED BY OPEN ROAD FILMS ON JANUARY 11, 2013. PRODUCED IN ENGLISH BY THE UNITED STATES. RUNS 1 HOUR, 26 MINUTES. INTENDED FOR MATURE VIEWERS, DUE TO DRUG CONTENT, PROFANITY, AND SEXUAL SITUATIONS.
A HAUNTED HOUSE WAS WATCHED ON JUNE 28, 2013.
“I would say watermelon, but that could be racist.” –Chip the Psychic (Nick Swardson)
A Haunted House offers up all we really need in a modern-day American hard-R comedy. If you enjoy the kind of movies that rely on sight gags, sex jokes, and stereotypes to tell their stories, you’re in for a real treat. The movie doesn’t hold back. I’ll try not to spoil anything, but to put it simply, one of the first moments humorously plays a woman running over her dog with a car almost as soon as she moves into her new home; and one of the last moments features Cedric the Entertainer as a priest, reciting Samuel L. Jackson’s famous “Ezekiel 25:17” during an exorcism.
The premise is, however, something as timeworn as the word “the.” Okay, maybe it’s not, but it sure seems so. 2009’s horror movie sleeper hit Paranormal Activity was itself a continuation of a “found footage” story that was made famous a decade earlier with The Blair Witch Project. There’s been so many nephews, nieces, and knockoffs since, that it seems like 2009 was fifty years ago. A Haunted House doesn’t do very much that hasn’t already been seen. It directly assesses its inspirer with a sense of humor, but when this sense of humor lacks solidity and cleverness, it’s easy to see through the approach.
Agan, I’m not saying A Haunted House is a bad movie, and that in itself could get me in trouble with almost every audience. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this film as a guilty pleasure, and it’s a chore to try and identify what makes it the awful movie it has been dubbed by close to everyone. If it’s just that people are sick of seeing one movie poked at, then, all right. A Haunted House did have potential, but that was a struggle to reach. It’s as if Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura) were to remake The Producers. It’d be funny, just not the same funny or genius as Mel Brooks.