In A Haunted House, also known as the worst metaphor for sharing your space with your girlfriend ever, Malcolm (played by Marlon Wayans) opens up his home to his girlfriend of two years, Kisha (Essence Atkins). Things get crazy quickly on the first night, when Kisha starts to notice some strange occurrences, attributing them to a ghost.
The only thing that makes this film somewhat bearable is the directing ability of Michael Tiddes. He makes the movie bearable by keeping everything light, from the lighting to the raunchy comedy. Alas, a director can only do so much with such a weak script.
Written by Wayans and Rick Alvarez, Haunted House is slapstick funny on its surface. There are plenty of goofy gags to keep the audience in stitches.
IT’S GOT ISSUES
Problematic is the blatant disrespect for women, the irreverent offensiveness of the film, the holes in its plot and the unfinished ending. The stupidity in this film is informed by such horror movies as the Paranormal Activity and Last Exorcism franchises and all other such horror films that have been released in the past few years. With so few black-helmed films, the fact that Haunted House made its way to theaters, rather than a quality film, is offensive to good filmmakers.
Wayans and Alvarez started off with a good storyline. Kisha moves in and accidentally kills Malcolm’s dog, Shiloh, with her car. Malcolm goes nuts trying to bury it. It’s the obvious themes and parallels that kill this film, though. Case in point: Kisha admits to selling her soul to the devil for a pair of Louboutins, thus bringing a spirit into Malcolm’s house. The horrendous inference of this plot line, beyond a woman selling her soul for shoes, is Wayans’ and Alvarez’s suggestion that when a woman moves in, it’s like moving in with a demon.
It seems that the writers have a special gripe against the opposite sex. While Kisha is portrayed as a soul-selling, demon-possessed loony, her college friend Jenny (Alanna Ubach) is promiscuous with everything that walks, while her boyfriend, Steve (Andrew Daly) watches. If we go by Wayans’ and Alvarez’s views, all women are demon-possessed, shoe-loving
nymphomaniacs, who like to be with both sexes.
Yet women aren’t the only groups to be offended by Haunted House. All white people are portrayed as either homosexuals or racists. Three stuffed animals were sexually assaulted during the making of this film. Father Doug is an ex-convict in clergy training who still smokes weed and takes hits of cocaine (both kept hidden in his Bible and crucifix), curses like the proverbial sailor, and refers to Kisha with profanity every chance he gets. Cedric’s portrayal as Father Doug actually cheapens his performance as a real preacher in his television series The Soul Man. What was he thinking?
Haunted House, like any movie, is supposed to tell a story, even though it is a “found-footage” film in the vein of Paranormal Activity. But the Paranormal films certainly must have tighter plots than Haunted House. Who is the “demon” supposed to be? Is it Kisha’s imaginary friend from when she was eight years old, whom she wished would never leave her? Is it the “devil” she sold her soul to? It can’t possibly be her dead father, whose ashes she keeps, because the “ghost” had sex with her … and Malcolm.
Disgusted yet? Even more disgusting: In an effort to “exorcise” Kisha’s demon, Father Doug and the “Ghost Guys first take a hit of cocaine, then beat the daylights out of Kisha. Soon after the film ends, with no resolution. Leaving one more question: What was the point of this film? Do yourself a favor, don’t go see this movie.