Wednesday 22 November 2017

House is hauntingly terrible

A haunted house
A haunted house

Paul Whitington

Film Review: A haunted house (16, general release, 86 minutes) 1 STAR

Director: Michael Tiddes Stars: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, David Koechner, Cedric the Entertainer

Another tiny nail in the coffin lid of western civilisation, A Haunted House stars Marlon Wayans and is a 'satire' in the style of the Scary Movie films. In other words, it is so crass and witless it beggars belief and should be avoided at all costs, unless of course you're a connoisseur of bad films, in which case you're in for a treat.

It's inspired, if that's the right word, by the found footage genre and in particular the Paranormal Activity movies, which were pretty dim but at least had a faint spark of originality.

That's an accusation that will never be leveled at A Haunted House, which blunders about aimlessly for a very long 86 minutes and contains barely a single recognisable joke.

Wayans is Malcolm Johnson, an amiable idiot who has just set up a webcam in his home and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins).

Kisha begins complaining of strange goings on during the night, and the couple find out they're being targeted by a poltergeist. Cue lots of supposedly hilarious nocturnal webcam clips, and when Wayans and his co-writer Rick Alvarez have flogged that weary horse to death they turn in desperation to exorcism for laughs. They don't find any. I imagine the Wayans family are beyond embarrassment at this stage, but a scene in which Marlon simulates the Karma Sutra on a stuffed toy may remind them what it feels like.

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