“A Haunted House” Is Funny, Not Spectacular


HOLLYWOOD—The “Scary Movie” franchise was quite funny when it first hit theaters in 2000.  Well I’m more referring to the first two installments of the franchise as other sequels failed to deliver epic laughs. So it’s great to see a spoof of supernatural phenomenon “Paranormal Activity” starring Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins.

This tale follows Malcolm Johnson (Wayans) and his girlfriend Kisha (Atkins) who experience some paranormal things inside their home.  Those events are quite hilarious to say the least, but if you’ve seen the trailer for the movie you already know what to expect.  While you’re likely to chuckle here and there, the gags are stretched a bit too far.  The movie isn’t quite sure when to end the laugh and to move onto the next one.

There are indeed some hilarious moments with Chip the Psychic (Nick Swardson), as well as Dan, the Security Man (David Koechner) who becomes apart of the journey to rid this house of evil spirits, but that stops there.  “A Haunted House” does indeed push the envelope with its R-rating, but it stays pretty close with the material that they choose to spoof and never stretches beyond that point.

What worked so well for the first installment of the “Scary Movie” franchise was not only its ability to tackle multiple pictures, but to also tackle questions involving the horror genre.  This movie touches on specific movies and some genre rules, but does not go beyond that point.  The audience is watching a movie that spoofs a picture they’ve seen before on the screen; you know how it plays out, you just have no idea the type of gag or laugh that will be delivered to the unsuspecting moviegoer.

I particularly found the scenes with Cedric the Entertainer as Father Doug Williams, a reformed ex-convict not funny at all.  The material was stretched to the point that it’s not comical, but you almost want to turn away from the screen. “A Haunted House” presents laughs to the audience, but does not know when to move onto the next laugh which causes the movie to be a bit repetitive.  A fart joke is only funny so many times, after two to three farts the joke is no longer funny.

By LaDale Anderson