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A Haunted House(2013)
Marlon Wayans stars in this comedy that spoofs the 'found footage' horror genre. Over the moon that his girlfriend Keisha (Essence Atkins) has decided to move in with him, Malcolm (Wayans) takes the opportunity to record the event for posterity. The couple, however, soon find themselves beset by a phantom spirit that makes its presence felt in some distinctly un-phantom like ways. With his sex life plummeting, Malcolm decides to enlist the help of a clutch of paranormal healers, including a gay psychic (Nick Swardson) and a recently released ex-con exorcist (Cedric the Entertainer).
For more about A Haunted House and the A Haunted House Blu-ray release, see A Haunted House Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on April 30, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Cedric the Entertainer, Nick Swardson, Alanna Ubach, Essence Atkins, David Koechner
Director: Michael Tiddes
» See full cast & crew
A Haunted House Blu-ray Review
"This $*%! Ain't Paranormal." You're right, front cover tagline. It's just $*%!
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, April 30, 2013
What's worse than a bad found-footage horror movie? A bad found-footage horror movie spoof. What could possibly be worse than that, you ask? A bad Wayans Brothers found-footage horror movie spoof. Still worse than that? A cinematic abomination like A Haunted House, which falls into all the previous categories and somehow tacks one more to the list: rock bottom disaster. Believe it or not, it wasn't so long ago that the name Wayans carried a fair bit of clout. But that was before Shawn and Marlon forged inexplicably profitable careers on besmirching the family name. Before Scary Movie 2 or Scary Movie 3. Before White Chicks, Scary Movie 4, Little Man, Dance Flick or, lest we forget, forever dooming future filmmakers to repeat such ill-begotten history... the unholy, unwatchable terror that is Scary MoVie. *Shiver* Then there's A Haunted House, easily one of the most mind-numbing, unoriginal films credited to one of the two youngest Wayans brothers; an uncomfortably uncertain comedy-hybrid so uninspired and unfunny it bypasses horrible and goes straight to unbelievably, unspeakably awful.
Gone are the days of the original (serviceably clever) Scary Movie. Gone too is partner in crimes-against-cinema Shawn Wayans, who separated from his younger brother to pen Scary MoVie. Writer/producer Marlon Wayans is left alone in the dark, with no one but first-time feature film director Michael Tiddes to hold his hand. The result is a three-page treatment posing as a script, stillborn improv, dead-on-arrival jokes and sight gags, and some of the dimmest, dullest horror parody in recent memory. The setup is dreadfully, or perhaps mercifully, simple: a struggling young couple (Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins) slowly realize their new home is haunted. The rest involves a lineup of second stringers running through the horror comedy motions. Cedric the Entertainer shows up as an f-bombing priest, Nick Swardson as a psychic, David Koechner and Dan Sheridan as security equipment installers (rather than TV's Ghost Hunters, a missed opportunity), Andrew Daly and Alanna Ubach as swingers, and Affion Crockett as thug cousin Ray-Ray. You know, because cursing holy men, town psychics, dim-witted technicians, pushy swingers and cartoonish gangstas didn't already have their comedy heyday in the mid-90s.
When paralyzed by crippling creative fear or screenwriting doubt, Wayans repeats himself, dipping into the Brothers' now-tattered bag of cheap, all too obvious Scary Movie tricks whenever a better idea fails to present itself. Which is far too often. However, rather than wholeheartedly embracing parody, Marlon and Tiddes shy from it, taking a shot at something resembling straighter R-rated comedy and losing track of the movie they're making in the process. One minute it's a failure of a parody, the next a failure of a spoof, the next a failure of a Paranormal Activity clone, the next a failure of a comedy... on and on and on. Wayans and Tiddes shuffle from trope to trope, subgenre to subgenre, without anything in the way of crafty commentary or remotely entertaining wit, and their skewering of horror convention is so lazy, shallow and predictable that it only makes the worst of the genre seem like Oscar-worthy classics. And it only grows increasingly tiresome and unbearable as it limps along. Involuntary bodily functions? Hee-larious. Possession? The stuff of sex-with-spirits legend. Ghost rape? An oldie but a goodie. Obligatory racism? The kids'll eat it up!
If there's solace to be had, it's in another movie. If there's rest for the weary, it's in the end credits. If there's salvation to be found, it's in pressing "eject" and exorcising your Blu-ray player of A Haunted House. It's an incredibly flaccid, humorless series of non-scares and non-laughs strung together with the thinest of premises and held in place by the weakest of convictions. It's also aimless, irritating and dysfunctional, typically all at once, and there isn't a single scene that addresses what should be an exceedingly easy question for any film, even the worst of the worst, to answer: why did someone green-light this mess? As a parody, it's five years too late. As a spoof, it's careless and apathetic. As a comedy, it falls flat. As a horror pic, it doesn't offer anything in the way of frights. As a genre mashup, it fails to do pull off anything fresh or exciting. As a film, it hacks up blood, doubles over and gives up the ghost within minutes, leaving nothing but a cold, soul-stripped shell of a movie that shouldn't have existed in the first place. Did I laugh? Precisely three times, and each time out of sheer desperation to enjoy something, anything Marlon's Haunted House had to give. But it offered nothing, and I gave up quickly. I suspect most of you will find yourselves doing the same.
A Haunted House Blu-ray, Video Quality
If nothing else, A Haunted House takes its found-footage heritage seriously, falling in step with the grainy, at-times low-res shaky cam aesthetic of the Paranormal Activity movies. Universal's subsequent 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer is commendably true to its source, perilous and unsightly as it can be. Macroblocking, noise, aliasing, crush and ringing are often out in force, particularly when the lights go down and darkness presses in. Detail and delineation dip and dive accordingly, with decent edge definition and capably resolved textures by day and waning clarity by night. Color, contrast and skintones follow suit, although none of it seems off base, unnaturally saturated or all that distracting given the filmmakers' visual intentions. It's a fully functional presentation, flawed as the photography may be, and there aren't any serious issues of note; at least none that can be pinned squarely on the studio's efforts.
A Haunted House Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Without a doubt, the highlight of the disc is Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which clings to the film's found-footage sound design without sacrificing atmosphere or power. Dialogue, although often chained to whatever interior acoustics and handheld camera mics any given scene entails, is clear and intelligible, and the busier sequences' various ambient and directional effects fall in line with the deceptively orchestrated true-to-life nature of the soundfield. LFE output is always firm, and ferocious whenever necessary, and the rear speakers keep themselves busy, especially as the spirit haunting Malcolm and Kisha grows bolder and more brazen. The mix rarely abandons its found-footage sleight of hand, though, so don't come to A Haunted House expecting an overtly polished, precision crafted sonic experience. It wouldn't suit the film if it were.
A Haunted House Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A barely there wisp of a featurette -- "How to Survive a Paranormal Presence" (HD, 2 minutes) -- is the only extra the Blu-ray edition of A Haunted House has on tap.
A Haunted House Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A Haunted House falls into "how did this even get made?" territory. It's yet another painful horror comedy from a Wayans that turned a substantial profit at the box office -- it cost three-million and cleared forty -- meaning A Haunted House 2 is most certainly inbound. God help us all. For the Wayans fans hiding among you, Universal's Blu-ray release will be a satisfying one thanks to its solid video presentation and strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Of course, a two-minute extra hardly constitutes a supplemental package, so be sure you enjoy the film itself before investing any hard-earned cash.
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A Haunted House Blu-ray, News and Updates
• A Haunted House 2 Blu-ray - June 11, 2014
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of director Michael Tiddes and co-writer/producer Marlon Wayans' A Haunted House 2, starring Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias, Cedric the Entertainer and Essence Atkins. The sequel to ...
• A Haunted House Blu-ray - February 19, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Combo Pack release of producer/writer/actor Marlon Wayans' latest parody, A Haunted House. The found-footage horror spoof co-stars Cedric the Entertainer, Essence Atkins, Nick Swardson ...
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