I didn’t see the first A Haunted House, but the parody movies have gone down hill over the years. I grew up in the ‘70s watching the first ones – Young Frankenstein, Airplane, etc.
It helps that since I’m a movie critic, I had seen a lot of the movies this was making fun of. Those would include The Last Exorcism, Sinister, The Conjuring, Paranormal Activity, and even The Possession – the only Jewish horror movie I’ve seen. In A Haunted House, that means they find a box that says “Mashugana – Oy veh”.
This movie wasn’t screened for critics, which usually means it’s a turkey. I did hear Marlon Wayans say in an interview that it’s not the type of movie that critics praise. Boy is he right! I just glanced at Rotten Tomatoes and it was only getting 9% positive reviews. A few critics wrote about how Wayans was screaming the whole time. Yes, he did. And I laughed almost every time he shrieked. Ya know what? I’m embarrassed to say how much I laughed in this movie. There were two scenes that made me laugh so hard, tears were rolling down my face. That rarely happens. One of those scenes is easily the most crude scene you’ll see all year. Wayans finds the creepiest looking doll imaginable. Think Chukie with the eyes of the dummy from Magic (anybody remember that horror movie from 1980?). Wayans had a 10 minute sex scene that is raunchier than the one in Team America. I heard somebody nearby even say, “What is this movie rated?”
The other scene that brought tears to my eyes involves a fight Wayans had with his wife, played by Jaime Pressly. The misunderstanding started with him saying he liked her big booty. As she gets angrier and angrier, she talks about how her body has changed after having two kids. He tells her that isn’t a problem, and I can’t describe what part of the body they start talking about. My editors would cut it out of this review. Yet Wayans wraps that argument up with, “It sounds like Doug E. Fresh beat boxing,” while he makes the sounds with his mouth. Oh, how I wish more comedies had moments like this.
The crudeness of the film means it won’t be for everyone. A lot of people will be turned off by many things. That might be the scene where Cedric the Entertainer, as a priest, jokes about molesting kids. It might be the dogs that are killed (one in a particularly gruesome fashion).
The original A Haunted House was made for less than $3 million and pulled in over $40 mil. The sequel doesn’t have the other Wayans involved (I think there is one in a quick scene as a cop). It was made on an even smaller budget (I’m guessing), and it’s getting worse reviews. Again, this all surprises me.
That doesn’t mean this is the greatest comedy ever made. It’s all over the place and gets a bit crazier than it needed to; but…why did critics mostly give Bad Words positive reviews? The stuff Jason Bateman did to the children was deplorable. Don’t get me wrong, I found that funny, too. I just don’t understand what it is critics want. Not every comedy is Tootsie, Caddyshack, or Blazing Saddles. There’s a place in the comedy genre for the manic energy of Marlon Wayans.
If you must know the premise, it starts with Malcolm (Wayans) and his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins) in the back of a car. She’s possessed, and the driver (Affion Crockett) has a few good lines. One of them is a bizarre impersonation of Forest Whitaker (complete with an eye that goes in another direction). When he thinks Malcolm doesn’t get it, he says, “You know, the guy from ‘The Butler.’ That was the movie like ‘The Help’ but without the doodie in the pie.”
We quickly go to Malcolm and his new wife Megan (Jaime Pressly), and her kids (Steele Stebbins and Ashley Rickards). They buy a new house that’s haunted. There are tapes in the attic that show previous incidents, and that spooky doll shows up.
Comedian Gabriel Iglesias (“fluffy”) plays a neighbor that is there for some ethnic jokes (those are mostly hit-and-miss).
Sitting here writing this, I think of so many of the scenes smartly written. There’s Cedric ranting about how he agreed with Chris Brown punching Rhianna because she’s “an island girl with a big mouth.”
There’s the scene where Cedric shanks another priest, after the priest comments on his “insolence.” Cedric thinks he’s talking about his diabetes.
There’s a scene with a couple that’s going to perform an exorcism and try to explain why they aren’t racist.
Oh, and the great visual of moths flying all over the daughters bedroom. Malcolm is handed a flyswatter (with thousands surrounding his head). The items he uses to fight them off (including nunchucks), gets more and more bizarre. Yet the laugh out loud moment was when he used a vacuum cleaner. We hear these things getting sucked into the machine, and he exclaims, “I don’t like that sound. That’s gross.”
He drops the vacuum cleaner and goes for something else. I realize that doesn’t sound funny to describe, but it was.
This movie is a must for anybody that’s a fan of all these recent horror movies, and for those that don’t mind crude humor.
I’m giving it 3 ½ stars out of 5.