Perhaps the only thing going for A Haunted House is the inclusion of just a single, solitary Wayans Brother, Marlon, the apparent Highlander of the brothers. Having long been banished from the Scary Movie franchise, Marlon has decided to once again give horror movies the what-for in that decidedly Wayans tradition of weed and fart jokes. I’m not saying the sub-genre that A Haunted House is going after — namely, found footage horror flicks — isn’t deserving of or ripe for parody. What I am saying is that the intellectual capital needed to achieve such a comedic undertaking successfully just isn’t here. The key is to keep things moving. No matter how bad the jokes, you’ve got to keep chucking them out there. A Haunted House doesn’t do this. Following the gist of the Paranormal Activity films, it depicts a couple (Wayans and Essence Atkins) who move into a house, are haunted by a demon, and film everything, etc. But the movie is organized into set pieces, so we get gags that go on for inordinate lengths of time. Even with an 88-minute runtime, A Haunted House is an exercise in patience. Along the way, we get five minutes of our leads smoking pot with a ghost, an exchange of fart jokes for three minutes, experience six minutes of gay panic, endure two minutes of Wayans humping a stuffed bear and so on and so forth, until the credits finally roll. It’s like a mathematical formula for how to make a terrible movie.
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