Dead again – A Haunted House review

By Richard Haridy
May 28, 2013

Marlon Wayans has described A Haunted House as a “labour of love,” and after watching it, one can only read this as a truly terrifying statement. A straightforward parody in the vein of the Scary Movie franchise (which the Wayans brothers’ ignited), it directs most of its punches at the Paranormal Activities. Wayans stars as Malcolm; he shoots everything with a newly bought camera for no reason whatsoever. After his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins) moves into his home, strange things start happening. They immediately assume it’s a ghost, resulting in the installation of security cameras in their abode, and thus justifying the premise of the movie.

A Haunted House – ostensibly directed by Michael Tiddes – assumes a bizarre rhythm that alternates between long stretches featuring no jokes at all and one-joke sketches extended to painful lengths. Early on, we are treated to a montage of Malcolm simulating sex with a teddy bear. This sequence goes on for one minute and fifteen seconds – I checked – excluding the outtakes they threw into the credits. That’s a long time! Count to 75 right now while picturing the scene and tell me if it deserves that duration. I’ll wait.

A Haunted House

The only thing impressive about the feature is how it manages to plumb new depths even after you presumed it couldn’t get any worse. These pearls of comedy in Wayans “labour of love” include someone defecating on a rug, a predatory homosexual psychic, not one but two scenes of ghost rape – the second involves Wayans being sodomised – and a clever structure that bookends the picture with fart jokes.

A Haunted House is technically inept, monotonous, and stiflingly cheap-looking. How this cost $2.5 million dollars to produce is beyond me. Even more frightening is the fact it made over $40 million in America, inspiring the makers to gear up for a sequel. God help us all if this is the future of comedy. A Haunted House makes dross like Two And A Half Men seem like high art.


A Haunted House arrives in Australian cinemas May 30, 2013.

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