A Haunted House

Marlon Wayans has capitalized on his knack for making parodies throughout his career and with so many classics under his belt (Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, Don’t Be A Menace), no one can blame him for creating another spoof tackling the horror genre. When slasher films ran rampant in the 90’s, the comedic heavyweights tore them apart with Scary Movie, a declaration about the current state of horror movies. The times have changed and “found footage” films have poured out into theaters over the past few years and with the huge success of the Paranormal Activity franchise, it makes complete sense to address this phenomenon in the horror genre with a crude, rude, offensive but hilarious comedy and that’s exactly what A Haunted House accomplishes.

A Haunted House molds its plot around Paranormal Activity, with Malcolm (Wayans) preparing for his girlfriend, Kisha, to move in with him (Essence Atkins) by documenting the big occasion, unknowingly opening a can of worms and recording the things that go amiss in the night. Following the formula that many “found footage” films use, things get increasingly intense and absurd as time goes on. Hilarity ensues when the likes of Nick Swardson, Cedric the Entertainer, and David Koechner all make appearances as specialists trying to aid the couple with their ghost problem.

I have to admit, this whole week I’ve been amped to attend the screening and after getting the opportunity to sit down with Marlon Wayans himself and discuss the movie, my interest spiked. When I asked him what he wanted people to know about A Haunted House, he simply stated that it’s a good time for people who want to laugh and enjoy a fun movie experience. Marlon took the success of the original Scary Movies and amplified it with the experience he’s gained over the years to make another Wayans classic.

When breaking the movie down, of course it has its obvious flaws, but that’s not what matters when it comes to films like these. What matters is the genuine deliverance from the actors and you can surely tell that they enjoyed making the film, which gives the audience a reason to enjoy it as well. Wayans has delivered “the black people response” to the genre that often focuses on white characters which makes A Haunted House extremely likable. All the typical clichés are present and flipped upside down, leaving myself and others repeating “they did not just do that!” over and over again. Crude jokes, nudity, pop culture references, drug use, and stereotypes all make this an over the top comedy questioning if there’s any limit to the Wayans’ madness.

There are critics who will unquestionably tear this movie apart and declare it a waste of time, but all I can do is feel bad for those people that just can’t enjoy the simple things. A Haunted House accomplished everything it set out to achieve and then some. For those who are fans of a Wayans’ parody, I can guarantee you customer satisfaction with this one.

A Haunted House is now playing.

Ben Lester (bjams11)