*Over the years many of us have come to know and love the genius that is the Wayans family. In Living Color the Emmy Award Winning comedy sketch series that introduced audiences to the family members, alerted us to their talent in writing, producing, directing and acting. Now, Marlon Wayans, the youngest sibling, delivers A Haunted House, an off the beaten path, often raunchy, but undeniably funny film that spoofs and takes aim at the found footage horror phenomenon and paranormal activity. Think Exorcist.
Here’s the deal: Malcolm (Wayans) has been videotaping himself at home, talking to the camera, and inviting the viewers in on all of his everyday weirdness. After he takes the plunge and invites his girlfriend Keisha (Essence Atkins) to move in with him, he learns this girl is bringing more to the home than her luggage. A demon has moved in with them!
Of course, this realization takes time to unfold; but in the meantime we meet a cast of characters that we can only assume Marlon Wayans and co-writer/co-producer Rick Alvarez utilized mood enhancers to create. “Dan the Security Man” (David Koechner), “Chip the Psychic” (Nick Swardson), and even Cedric The Entertainer as “Father Williams” and “the swingers” couple are funny in spurts, but at times, they are so corny they are actually somewhat painful to watch.
One really funny scene happens when “the bandana-wearing cousins” come in. So acutely stereotypical, but then again it works, and this is what makes them hysterical. You’ll howl with laughter when one of them asks, “Hey cuz, where yo furniture go?” BAM!
Stupid, but priceless.
Now, I’ll admit, some of the stunts pulled in this movie are really bad. Hokey bad. And the thing with these kind of films is, there is no real “acting” per se involved, just “being” you know, so Marlon, with his close-ups on video-cam, comic asides, and even the super-naughty bedroom scene where he is waiting for Keisha to get into something more comfy for bed on her first night there—you’ll know it, there’s a teddy bear or something involved—he seems like he’s ‘being’… well… Marlon. But nevertheless, the character’s name is Malcolm.
On the other hand, Essence Atkins, who African Americans don’t automatically relate to as the type of person she portrays in the film, more ‘hood’ if you know what I mean, can be seen as playing more of a character, and she’s really good. I mean, you can see that this girl is challenging herself.
With all of this said, A HAUNTED HOUSE is definitely worth seeing. It’s an overall enjoyable movie and you will, at times, find yourself laughing out loud; caught up in the silliness of this particular Wayans magic. But a word of advice, don’t you dare take the kids!
Open Road Films and Endgame Entertainment presents ‘A Haunted House’ directed by Mike Tiddes, written by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez. The film opens nationwide on January 11, 2013.
Check out another one of the trailers below.