A Haunted House Review: Unintentionally Horrific

I will admit, I LOVE this poster

I will admit, I LOVE this poster

It’s taken me a while to get this one off of the press, but that’s partly because of my being so busy this last week and partly that it’s a movie I’ve been trying (And for the most part succeeding) to forget.  Seeing this and Broken City back to back has been one of the most painful movie-going experiences I’ve ever had.  Of course, part of the reason I hated Broken City even more than A Haunted House is that the former at least had some potential, while A Haunted House was never going to be anything but awful.  I just didn’t really realize how low Marlon Wayans was capable of going in his ongoing game of cinematic limbo.  Crude, unimaginative, criminally unfunny and filled with a menagerie of awful supporting characters, A Haunted House is perfect proof of how a film can make absolutely no effort whatsoever and still make a net profit at the Box Office.

The Plot:

Malcolm and Kisha move into their dream home, but soon learn a demon also resides there. When Kisha becomes possessed, Malcolm – determined to keep his sex life on track – turns to a priest, a psychic, and a team of ghost-busters for help.

The Players:

Marlon Wayans, who also wrote the screenplay for A Haunted House, has been on a long, steady decline since his glory days of the first Scary Movies and White Chicks.  This could very well be his The Last Airbender though, at least I hope so because I simply can’t imagine him sinking any lower.  Wayans is exactly the same here as he’s ever been, and whatever charisma he might have had in the past is completely overshadowed by the sheer laziness of the jokes he writes for himself.  For the majority of the film he sticks to physical, gross-out comedy that occasionally got a chuckle or two from me out of sheer shock value, but nothing more.

images (17)

Sadly, this scene is probably the funniest of the entire movie

Essence Atkins is even more annoying, however, as Wayan’s girlfriend Kisha.  While she’s usually more of a springboard Wayans jumps off from whenever he’s trying to be funny, every time she tries to bring some comedy of her own it just comes across as incredibly stereotypical and obnoxious.  I have a feeling Atkin’s career is going to lead her along the lines of daytime programming on BET followed by plan B.

My God, this is how the world will remember us

My God, this is how the world will remember us

This isn’t a Tyler Perry Production though, so there are a few white people involved.  Unfortunately, those white people are made up primarily of David Koehner, Nick Swardson, and Andrew Daly, none of whom give the slightest effort and end up being indistinguishable from any other supporting character they’ve ever played.  Regarding Swardson, I do admit that I enjoy his stand up but any time he gets behind a camera something in his brain seems to switch into weird/semi-gay mode and lead him to ruin any movie he’s in.  At least we have some moderately funny moments from Cedric the Entertainer to fill some of the comedic void of the film.

The Writing (And Lack Thereof):

I have no research to prove it, but I’d guess that about 10 minutes worth of thought went into the entire script.  It’s as if Marlon Wayans just picked up a camera, called up a few friends and then just started doing stuff.  To show what I mean, here are some things that actually happen in the film.

Wait, you're saying I'M the most bearable part of this movie?!

Wait, you’re saying I’M the most bearable part of this movie?!

1.  Malcolm has incredibly graphic sex with not one, but TWO stuffed animals for nearly three minutes.

2.  Malcolm and Kisha’s friends spend the entire film doing nothing but trying to get them to couple-swap with them.

3.  The couple have a bonding moment with their house’s haunting spirit over a comically large joint.

4.  Marlon Wayans gets sodomized by a ghost after literally taking a shit on the ashes of his girlfriend’s father.

Like I said, you could probably write a comedy of similar quality off the top of your head as well.  Of course, that doesn’t mean you should…

The Verdict:  2.0/10  Symphony of Suck

- Only achieves laughs out of sheer shock value

- Supporting characters are on autopilot and are just as unfunny as always

- The parody aspect is very lazily done

- Makes the Scary Movie Franchise look like high art

Critical Consensus:

Rotten Tomatoes: 6%

IMDb: 4.9/10

Metacritic: 20/100

Other Reviews:

Dan the Man Movie Reviews:  2.0/10

Fogs’ Movie Reviews: F

Average: 1.3/10 – Repulsive

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About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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13 Responses to A Haunted House Review: Unintentionally Horrific

  1. Ryan says:

    It really sucks that there has to be so many bad movies…

  2. LOL. I’m curious what a movie has to do to earn a 1 now. LOL ;)

  3. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Andy. Just not really funny, and proves that maybe the Wayans should just give-up when it comes to humor and let the “other”, shitty parody movies take over. Sad thing to say, but it’s sort of true.

  4. I’ve had no interest in seeing this movie, which is a good thing, because it sounds like an insult to bad movies. :-) I thoroughly enjoyed your review, though. It’s good to know even shitty movies serve a function — they often lend themselves to wonderfully entertaining reviews in the hands of a talented, funny writer.

    • r361n4 says:

      Thank you very much, it’s great to hear feedback like that :) I honestly do enjoy writing the reviews for movies like this far more than seeing them, so like you say I guess they do serve a function

  5. wordschat says:

    I\ll skip it thanks and wish I’d skipped Broken City which was at best an average TV crime movie of the week.

  6. Emma says:

    Even the pictures look scary! I saw a upcoming film advertized at the cinema last night – Mama, it has Jessica Chastain in it from Zero Dark Thirty, and that looked pretty scary too!
    I’ll give this a miss. Thanks for the warning.

  7. Broken City, Movie 43 and this in such close proximity. I feel for you, man. I bet this one is atrocious. On an unrelated Wayans note, I quite enjoy Damon Wayans Jr.’s work in Happy Endings. I think that show, along with Community, is the funniest thing on the air right now.

  8. Pingback: January Wrap-Up: 1 Down, 11 To Go | Rorschach Reviews

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