Many African Americans have viewed horror films and have wondered, often aloud, how the characters would react if they were black. Here we find out.
The plot follows the lives of Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) just as the happy couple is taking the next step in their relationship by moving in together.
It picks up from the moment Essence arrives at Marlon’s character’s residence when she flattens his dog while pulling into the driveway. From that point the laughs are nearly non-stop as Malcolm and Kisha call out all stops to try to rid the home of a demonic presence. First and foremost, I feel I must remind the would-be viewer that this is a film produced by Marlon Wayans.
If you’re not familiar with his signature brand of humor then I would recommend you brace yourself. Stuffiness, snobbery and psuedo sophistication have no place in this film, and if the viewer harbors any of those sentiments then this might not be the film for that particular viewer.
To say that some of the jokes are dirty is an understatement. Also, if you have any qualms regarding viewing the male anatomy, the gluts in particular, then this may not be the film for you either. Horror film-spoof humor? Check. Gay humor? Check. Mild drug humor? Check. Pornographic humor? Check. Simulated intercourse with stuffed animals? That would be a check as well. During the press conference following the screening for the film Marlon told reporters that he is addicted to laughter. Upon catching a glimpse of “A Haunted House” you will see exactly what he means. No joke is too much, no norm is too sacred and no joke is too risque.
Though Marlon is literally and figuratively the butt of many of the jokes, he actually plays more the straight man in “A Haunted House” for much of the film. His reactions to the outlandish behavior of other characters features his classic facial expressions and vocal inflections as comical punctuation. Some of those scenes are actually stolen by the lovely Essence Atkins as her character Kisha reveals secret after damningly funny secret throughout the course of the film, and battles with her inner demons as they try to come out. The chemistry between the two leads was essential for the comic timing displayed by the duo throughout the film.
I laughed more at Cedric the Entertainer in this film than I have in about 10 years. That is not to say that he is not funny, but his reputation for clean and family oriented humor does precede him. But from the moment “Pastor Williams” made his entrance I knew this wasn’t going to be the same old Ced brand of entertainment that we’ve become accustomed to. Nick Swardson? Well, you remember that whole “gay humor” thing I mentioned a paragraph ago? Well, if you’re having any problems regarding your own masculinity, or lack the stomach for rapid fire jokes of a homosexual nature then consider yourself warned. Every scene Nick is in is all gay all the time. The envelope was pushed considerably.
Fans of modern comedies are sure to recognize David Koechner’s face, if not his name, but that does not take away from the fact that he is one funny individual. In the film David plays racist security camera installation technician/ghost hunter Dan the Security Man. He and Marlon immediately go in on one another in a classic, yet racially insensitive, exchange. But before you get your liederhausen in a bunch about the dreaded “r” word, just relax. Koechner and Cedric the Entertainer’s dialogue is some of the funniest in a very funny film. But I’m not going to tell you about every character in “A Haunted House.” In fact, I’ll leave out the describing the swingers just so you can have something to anticipate. But you won’t wait long. Here’s a hint: Mandingo party.
“A Haunted House” also features hysterical scenes from the likes of Affion Crocket, JB Smoove, Robin Thede and David Sheridan formerly of MTV’s “Buzzkill.” If the true north of your moral compass is determined by what you see on the big screen I would recommend you not see this film. But if you’re a happy, well-adjusted adult who needs of mega dose of unapologetic laughter then you should go check out “A Haunted House.” The film is now playing in theaters nationwide. Don’t be in such a rush to leave the theater when the credits roll. Some of the biggest laughs are on the blooper reel.