It’s taken me a while to get this one off of the press, but that’s partly because of my being so busy this last week and partly that it’s a movie I’ve been trying (And for the most part succeeding) to forget. Seeing this and Broken City back to back has been one of the most painful movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. Of course, part of the reason I hated Broken City even more than A Haunted House is that the former at least had some potential, while A Haunted House was never going to be anything but awful. I just didn’t really realize how low Marlon Wayans was capable of going in his ongoing game of cinematic limbo. Crude, unimaginative, criminally unfunny and filled with a menagerie of awful supporting characters, A Haunted House is perfect proof of how a film can make absolutely no effort whatsoever and still make a net profit at the Box Office.
Malcolm and Kisha move into their dream home, but soon learn a demon also resides there. When Kisha becomes possessed, Malcolm – determined to keep his sex life on track – turns to a priest, a psychic, and a team of ghost-busters for help.
Marlon Wayans, who also wrote the screenplay for A Haunted House, has been on a long, steady decline since his glory days of the first Scary Movies and White Chicks. This could very well be his The Last Airbender though, at least I hope so because I simply can’t imagine him sinking any lower. Wayans is exactly the same here as he’s ever been, and whatever charisma he might have had in the past is completely overshadowed by the sheer laziness of the jokes he writes for himself. For the majority of the film he sticks to physical, gross-out comedy that occasionally got a chuckle or two from me out of sheer shock value, but nothing more.
Essence Atkins is even more annoying, however, as Wayan’s girlfriend Kisha. While she’s usually more of a springboard Wayans jumps off from whenever he’s trying to be funny, every time she tries to bring some comedy of her own it just comes across as incredibly stereotypical and obnoxious. I have a feeling Atkin’s career is going to lead her along the lines of daytime programming on BET followed by plan B.
This isn’t a Tyler Perry Production though, so there are a few white people involved. Unfortunately, those white people are made up primarily of David Koehner, Nick Swardson, and Andrew Daly, none of whom give the slightest effort and end up being indistinguishable from any other supporting character they’ve ever played. Regarding Swardson, I do admit that I enjoy his stand up but any time he gets behind a camera something in his brain seems to switch into weird/semi-gay mode and lead him to ruin any movie he’s in. At least we have some moderately funny moments from Cedric the Entertainer to fill some of the comedic void of the film.
The Writing (And Lack Thereof):
I have no research to prove it, but I’d guess that about 10 minutes worth of thought went into the entire script. It’s as if Marlon Wayans just picked up a camera, called up a few friends and then just started doing stuff. To show what I mean, here are some things that actually happen in the film.
1. Malcolm has incredibly graphic sex with not one, but TWO stuffed animals for nearly three minutes.
2. Malcolm and Kisha’s friends spend the entire film doing nothing but trying to get them to couple-swap with them.
3. The couple have a bonding moment with their house’s haunting spirit over a comically large joint.
4. Marlon Wayans gets sodomized by a ghost after literally taking a shit on the ashes of his girlfriend’s father.
Like I said, you could probably write a comedy of similar quality off the top of your head as well. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should…
The Verdict: 2.0/10 Symphony of Suck
– Only achieves laughs out of sheer shock value
– Supporting characters are on autopilot and are just as unfunny as always
– The parody aspect is very lazily done
– Makes the Scary Movie Franchise look like high art
Rotten Tomatoes: 6%
Dan the Man Movie Reviews: 2.0/10
Average: 1.3/10 – Repulsive