Friday, September 20, 2013

Film Review: A Haunted House (2013)

A Haunted House (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"A great comedy to kill a night."

A young couple, Malcom Johnson (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins), move in together. After abnormal flatulence and other supernatural events, a haunting is suspected...

A Haunted House is a spoof of many contemporary horror films, including Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside. It follows Malcom Johnson and Kisha as they react to strange events. Along the way, they bring in several specialists, including a psychic (Nick Swardson), a security expert (David Koechner), a Father (Cedric the Entertainer) and some thugs. Very simple, straight-forward story, which surprisingly follows a clean structure up to its credits -- sure, it's repetitive, but the randomness is minimized.

The comedy in this film isn't as random as most spoof films -- and I appreciate this. But, it may not be comedy for everyone, and some jokes might fly right over your head if you're not familiar with other forms of horror media; for example, I loved the "She might be like the Witch from Left 4 Dead..." reaction from Cedric the Entertainer, while those not familiar with the video game will completely miss it. The jokes often miss, as well. Be warned: it is an offensive film with jokes about racism, sex/rape, and religion occasionally feeling mean-spirited. However, it's not a film that promotes either. The main offense of this film is it's repetitive jokes and formula, which can cause fatigue.

Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins are great as the leads; they are charismatic and feel like a real couple. I liked David Koechner and Cedric the Entertainer the most in the supporting cast. The writing is much better than most spoofs releasing nowadays; although it's much more balanced and direct, the jokes are repetitive. The first act is solid, the second act is okay, the final act is great.

Overall, A Haunted House is a good spoof film. The comedy isn't for everyone, especially those easily offended or those unfamiliar with horror. It has more than a handful of laugh-out-loud moments, and many moments worth a smirk or giggle, but it's almost crippled by its repetitiveness. A great comedy to kill a night.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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