Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: A Haunted House

Version I Watched: Redbox DVD rental

History: Was released on January 11th 2013 which was originally the release date of Scary Movie V. The movie had a budget of $2.5 Million and it wound up making nearly $60 Million worldwide. It was received mostly with negative reviews but a sequel is already in the works.

Personal History: I'm just as surprised as you are.

Review: It's true I am a fan of bad/good movies. I recently exclaimed on my FB page how I'm planning on pre-ordering Sharknado to add to my collection of other bad/good movies like the Puppetmaster movies and Mega Piranha. But some movies are just so bad they move beyond becoming good and become bad again... or were just bad in the first place. In this case I want to touch on spoof comedies. I talked about in my Mafia review that in the recent years there's been a lack of quality in spoof comedies. We used to have Naked Gun, not much anymore. In recent years we've had multiple Scary Movie titles and then the craptastic Friedberg/Seltzer comedies like Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Disaster Movie. The only truly great spoof comedy there's been in the last decade or more has honestly been Black Dynamite (Don't worry, I've got something planned for that one). So whenever a new one comes out that isn't a sequel (i.e. Scary Movie V) it's understandable to be very skeptical. But in terms of A Haunted House... could have been worse.

I don't know what drew me to this one. I had no interest in it when it came out in theatres and passed it off as just another one of "those" comedies. Did I want to see it just to see how bad it was? Or did I have a legitimate interest in it? Any way you look at it I decided to pick it up. And the following may surprise you. I actually laughed a lot during the movie.
Something that usually takes me out of these more recent spoof comedies is that they look crazy cheap. For an example here's the trailer to Scary Movie V. One of Scary Movie's biggest downfalls over most of their movies is that they try to cram as many references together as they can regardless of relevance. Because of that everything looks out of place and that it doesn't belong. Now take a look at the trailer for A Haunted House. Now, while it doesn't mimic Paranormal Activity, The Last Exorcism, or The Devil Inside it gives off a better vibe of satire right from the get go. And what I liked about A Haunted House so much is that it knew it's theme and it stuck with it. This has benefited from the fact that it's from Marlon Wayans who was one of the writers on the first Scary Movie which was pretty decent (I'm sure if I watched it now it wouldn't be as wonderful as I remember). And overall Marlon Wayans, along with the rest of the Wayans brothers, are pretty funny guys. So they know what they're doing. They have experience with pretty fun comedy. Not smart comedy, more so unintelligent dirty comedy that's just fun to laugh at for an easy watch.
But that's what A Haunted House was. A low down dirty good time. Most of the humor was sexual and Marlon Wayans exploiting stereotypical black humor/reactions. There's even one part where Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) refuses to go into a room because he said if they were watching their story in a movie theatre then some black folks would be screaming not to go in the room. And I hope this doesn't come off weird (especially since I'm as white as a college ruled notebook) but I enjoy humor like this from time to time. I enjoyed the Nutty Professor movies back in the day, and whenever I see a fast talking black character in modern comedies I find them hilarious, and yes in the way they intend it to be funny (hashtag not racist). So honestly there were plenty of moments when this movie made me laugh out loud. But I guess that's mostly what can be said about this. It's a fun example of losing yourself in some silly humor. I'm just glad that they chose a style and theme and actually stuck with it.
Don't start to think this means the spoof comedy is starting to come around again. Hardly. I wish it would come back the way it used to be. And while I laughed a lot at this there were a ton of times when they were trying way too hard with some of their jokes, or they went on way too long. Mostly with the sexual humor. Early in the movie Malcolm is excited for sex and he's showing his camera what he's gonna do when his girl returns. He uses a stuffed animal and if it went on for maybe ten to fifteen second that would be one thing. It had to have lasted at lease a minute or longer. It kept going and it felt like it would never end. Also there was an ongoing joke where Nick Swardson's character kept not so subtly trying to have gay sex with Malcolm. I did however enjoy seeing Cedric the Entertainer. He's always made me laugh when I see him. Also one part that I was surprised I enjoyed was a joke that started as way too over the top. Later in the movie there's a moment when Malcolm is raped by the demon that haunts their house. It was of course all caught on camera and since the demon is invisible, then all you see is his ass in the air while screaming. A bit over the top. But when his girl watched it and she's laughing so hard at the video while Malcolm has his hand over his face out of embarrassment it made me crack up.
But probably my favorite joke in the entire movie was when Malcolm's girl said, "I may have failed to mention I sold my soul to the devil when I was younger."

I guess there's not much else to say about it. Kinda hard to talk about this movie without talking about the jokes specifically. But my overall, even shorter review is this. It's silly, it's stupid, but it made me laugh. It's not a higher grade of spoof comedy (especially now that I re-watched Black Dynamite the other day) but I feel it's an improvement that did more right than wrong. Just don't expect too much out of it. I don't want to oversell it cause I don't know if it'll be as funny as I remember it if/when I see it again.

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