Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: A Haunted House (2013)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Michael Tiddes
Stars: Marlon Wayans, Marlene Forte, Essence Atkins
Writers: Rick Alvarez, Marlon Wayans

A parody based off Paranormal Activity isn’t anything new, what made me want to give this movie a try however was Marlon Wayans. While not the biggest fan, I did like the first Scary Movie and he did have a hand in writing it. As the movie began I was actually hopeful; there was an attempt at actual comedic humour and not just based on references. Did this hope prove to be justified?

Unfortunately no, yet I’ve got to give this movie some credit. The actual story has a coherency not found in other like-minded films and never makes the mistakes of others like Epic Movie or Date Movie. While those films would go for the easy reference rather than keep the plot going, A Haunted House surprisingly sticks to the plot and the nods and winks to other films are in the background.

However this is really the only positive that can be said about the movie. The comedy is extremely childish and your mileage is going to depend on how funny you think farts are. Also when it tries to make fun of current trends in television and movies (the prevalence of ghost hunting shows and the like), it fails pretty hard. I chuckled to myself once or twice but for a full length movie that’s not good.

Probably the greatest problem of the film is trying to stay too close to the Paranormal Activity aesthetic. The reason the PA movies work is even though the setting is static, there is a constant tension that creates excitement and suspense. Without this tension the setting becomes very boring very quickly, as evidenced in A Haunted House.

This is probably the scariest scene of the movie. Also a good
indicator of the type of humor.
Acting-wise everyone is mugging for the camera - not a bad thing in a parody movie - yet everyone just seemed flat. Well, everyone except for Marlon Wayans, who puts a lot of energy into his performance. Unfortunately not portraying the straight man in a comedy does tend to take away the kooky nature of the supporting characters.

What can I really say about this flick? It’s a bad movie but I’ve got to give it credit for bucking the current trend in parody films. Nonetheless any spark of creativity that was present in Scary Movie is not to be found here. For those looking for a good parody movie maybe head to the past, as I don’t think this genre is going to get any better any time soon.

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