Directed by: Michel Tiddes
We’ve seen plenty of those (badly done) POV films where the entirety of the film is shot though a combination of shaky hand-held and security cameras. These films tend to substitute cobbled together static and shaky-cam shots for actual story thus tend to (theoretically) make for good horror movies. Well, as it turns out, while the “scary” part of those films is questionable (at least by this reviewer), apparently the humor inherent in those self-same set-ups is beyond question — at least according to Marlon Wayans. With A Haunted House Wayans has done what his brother Keenen, David Zucker, and other directors have done with the Scary Movie franchise and have brilliantly skewered the genre.
In A Haunted House a young couple Malcolm and Kisha (Wayans and Atkins) have just moved in together in the hopes of starting a beautiful life together. Unfortunately the action starts off on something of a bad omen, as Kisha pulls into the driveway and runs down Malcolm’s dog. What follows is a hilarious scene where Malcolm’s grief is overwhelming. Eventually they get about getting Kisha settled into their dream house. However as they go through the process of setting up house, they quickly find they’re not alone, apparently Kisha has inadvertently brought a demonic presence into the house with her (she confesses to having once made a deal with the devil for a pair of shoes).
In an attempt to rid their home of the evil spirit, Malcolm and Kisha hire everyone from modern day Ghostbusters to a “priest” (Cedric The Entertainer — who admits that not only is he an ex-con, but he is really a priest in training), to a psychic (Swardson — who seems more interested in Malcolm than in finding the ghost). As is de rigur for these films, the young couple is determined not to let the evil spirit ruin his relationship — or, more importantly to Malcolm — his sex life. As expected, the film follows the same formula of the Paranormal Activity films they install an array of cameras to sweep the house so that they can spot anything out of the ordinary (in one extremely funny bit a camera strapped to the base of an oscillating fan captures numerous images of Malcolm’s Hispanic made, Rosa (Forte) doing numerous things from running a cocaine lab to having sex on the kitchen table with the gardener).
Having sat through four of the Paranormal Activity films watching Wayans, humorous take on how these films should have been made proved to be righteously funny. (Malcolm, crying that Black people don’t open the door to see who is behind it, they run! Malcolm & Kisha alternately “enjoying” and “suffering through” the spirit’s nightly visits, and their reactions to such.) Yep, this film is way better — and far more entertaining — than the films on which it was based, and thus it comes highly recommended. Go, and see how a good (and totally funny) POV “horror” film is made.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.