Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Haunted House [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

Now, I really do like paranormal and horror movies from the past few years. I think I have a higher tolerance than most for some of the modern ones that have come out, but I try to make the best of a "bad" era so to speak. This movie quipped my interest because, believe it or not, I'm a fan of the Paranormal Activity series. [Pauses for all the boos] I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to spoof films like these so I hoped Marlon Wayans' A Haunted House would give me a good watch. Let's just say, I wish I'd stuck with thinking The Woman In Black and The Devil Inside were some of the worst movies I've ever seen.

We open A Haunted House with Malcolm and Keisha (Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins) moving in together to hopefully continue their lives together. But as Keisha pulls into the driveway for their first day together she accidentally runs over Malcolm's dog. Not a good start. Things begin to seem weird as they begin to settle into living together. Keisha has never liked Malcolm's maid, Rosa (Marlene Forte), Keisha farts far too much in her sleep and Malcolm doesn't get rid of his arcade systems. It also becomes apparent that there is something else in the house with them. Malcolm hires a crew, Dan (David Koechner) and his partner Bob (Dave Sharidan), to install cameras all around the house. It turns out that Keisha once made a deal with the devil over a pair of shoes and invited the demonic presence in. In attempts to find out why the spirit is here they hire a homosexual psychic, Jim (Nick Swardson), as well as hiring an ex-con turned priest, Doug Williams (Cedric the Entertainer), to try to exorcise the demon from Keisha. It takes the efforts of this unlikely group to even stand a chance against the demon in this spoof on the paranormal.

This is a pill of a movie a times to be quite honest. It's another movie that desperately wants to recreate the magic of say Scary Movie and Date Movie, but falls flat in the majority of the scenes and humor it tries to convey. I will say that the dynamic between Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins, as Malcolm and Keisha, was good enough to keep me engaged throughout. Speaking of, Essence Atkins is the brightest spot in this abyssal movie. While a lot of the times other people over acted or went off the deep end, the humor Essence was given, as Keisha, was probably the best in the movie. She carried herself to most of the laughs I got and I think it's cause she went more normal instead of just crazy. There were some good one-liners, digs at horror and paranormal movies and enough general humor to get me to smile a few times. So in that respect it get a few points from me. Keep in mind, this in no way makes me want to watch it again.

The bad really does outweigh the good in this movie, by a landslide. Found footage is great if it's more than just, "Hey I bought a camera and I'm getting cameras installed and hey look a computer (with a camera) here we can use, etc." It relied too much on letting us know cameras are there and were installed, when it should be more a subtle thing when they're introduced. The acting, aside from the main two, were pretty phoned in as well. I love David Koechner and he's been in a few of my favorite comedies, but in this he's just another supporting guy with iffy lines. Never been a fan of Nick Swardson and this performance, if you can call it that, didn't win me over. He overacts in all of his scenes and as he plays a gay man, he overstates everything and it comes off as insensitive. Cedric the Entertainer is usually good for a few laughs and while he has a few good one-liners, this is like Koechner's role, largely flat. Finally the humor is pretty bad relying on fart jokes (there's like a five minute scene on this), yelling and running in panic, as well a racial and "gay" humor. Most of it is either flat out not funny or just in bad taste as they could be misconstrued and homophobic or edgy.

Well what can I say this isn't one of the best spoof films I've ever seen, but it's far from the worst  Does anyone remember Epic Movie? That was awful. They say source material for writing has to be good otherwise what comes out will be lacking. Well, I don't know if they actually say that, but it does make sense. Paranormal movies are usually regarded as pretty bad overall and most all of them are in fact pretty bad. So Wayans had an uphill battle from the start and while it's does have a few laughs and situations, this is largely a disappointment. One bright spot though is Essence Atkins as Kiesha. She did really well in this movie clouded in bad. Only see this if you're a fan of spoof movies or Wayans humor. If you like both of those, this is right up your alley. Otherwise avoid this at almost all costs.

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