Plot: Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) is about to take the next step in his relationship, as his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins) is moving in and while he is nervous, he has no idea what is about to walk through the door. After Kisha moves in, the two go through the usual cohabitation pains that test their bond a little, from her pooping with the door open to him expecting constant sex. But Malcolm and his trusty camera document all the ups and downs, which is good, as soon some weird things begin to happen and the camera captures what happens after they fall asleep. It would seem the house is haunted, but the spirit seems to have arrived when Kisha did, which means Malcolm is none too pleased with the tag along presence. The couple tries to cope, but soon call in a psychic and eventually a priest, but can the house be cleansed or has Kisha brought an evil into the house that can’t be exorcised?
Entertainment Value: The found footage genre is ripe for parody, since it is one of the most formula driven type of movies, with a lot of conventions and little in terms of innovation or creative approach. So it makes sense that A Haunted House would opt to have some fun with Paranormal Activity, but I wish it took more shots at the genre, rather than leaning on generic jokes. The tone is of course slapstick and over the top, but you could still skewer the found footage aspect of the movie, but instead this one aims for a little horror satire and mostly unrelated humor. I mean, watching your girlfriend poop or having sex with stuffed animals might offer some laughs, but it has little to do with the parody approach and in the end, A Haunted House settles for the cheap, non horror related laughs. The movie is humorous at times and the manic energy involved helps compensate for some lame duck material, but those interested in the horror side of the inspiration will likely be let down. This not on par with Scary Movie, which blended general humor with an emphasis on genre related jabs, but I’ve seen much worse comedies than A Haunted House. So if you want to see an uneven, but sometimes fun take on found footage, this one is worth a rental.
I think the movie has a fun cast, as Marlon Wayans might be a shaky lead, but he has been surrounded her by capable, though lower profile comic talent. Wayans does his usual shtick and if you like his zaniness, you’ll have some laughs here, but he relies on physical humor and outlandish mannerisms for the most part. This works in some scenes, but starts to grate after a while, as he just seems to think the louder and sillier he acts, the funnier the movie is and at least to me, that isn’t the case. But you can’t fault his enthusiasm, as he goes for broke with the role, I just wish he had more focus and better material to work with. David Koechner is fun as a total douche who winds up mixed into the madness, with his usual boisterous, often hilarious performance, while Nick Swardson is awkward and cringe level in his role, which again leads to consistent laughs, so I wish they’d both had more screen time here. I also really liked Andrew Daly as a very minor, but quite humorous character. The cast also includes Alanna Ubach, J.B. Smoove, Essence Atkins, and Cedric the Entertainer.