Sunday, 26 May 2013

#ESPspotlight REVIEW: A HAUNTED HOUSE (MOVIE)


Now let's be honest. Discounting White Chicks (2004), you would be hard pressed to find a Wayans production that didn't get a giggle out of the toughest of crowds. We all know that family are biologically gifted with the funny, it's genetic. Like blondes with blue eyes, or our darker nation and flat feet (seriously damaging, and more painful than most are willing to recognise, I might add); the Wayans name and their comedy brand is as natural and authentic as unrelaxed hair. So when you combine the latest offering from the youngest of the '1st gen' comedy clan - in theatres this Friday - the Scary Movie franchise (in the beginning when it was funny), and the excellent choice of Essence Atkins as a leading lady, A Haunted House is already a thoroughbred in its prime, coming out of the gate.

A humour-infused version of Paranormal Activity and just about every other blockbuster of similar ilk; the story starts on #Day1 of the new phase in Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha's (Atkins) relationship. 'Coincidentally', it also happens to be the day he unwraps his brand new video camera. Moving into Malcolm's house, the 'omens' start before the Mrs even stops her box-filled car. From male disappointments to disturbing friends and family; there are jokes and punchlines that work throughout; keeping you laughing even after the storyline crosses over (no pun intended) into an uncomfortable level of supernatural satire.

It's ironic that Wayans actually references Shaggy from Scooby Doo as to my mind, his brand of humour has always been the tanned equivalent of the affable, accidental hero. His pairing with Essence Atkins is equally matched, as her one-of-a-kind comedic timing has been overlooked since her early sitcom days, as the cool elder sister of a once-cute Smart Guy. You 90s kids will know to what I refer. Mostly off the British radar since her Dee Dee Thorne days in that other sibling sitcom, Half & Half; her gradual transition from 'Normal' to 'Crazy' to 'Black Girl Crazy' to 'Demonically Possessed', saved the storyline's descent into White Chicks-level pointlessness on many an occasion. I urge women everywhere to chalk the likeness between those last two stages up to parody too, save Mr Wayans find himself the unlucky inhabitant of a chalk outline before the sequel hits next year...

Supporting performances from a scene-stealing Nick Swardson as Chip, 'The Gay Psychic', Alanna Ubach, 'The Nubian-loving Nympho', and second gen Comedy King Affion Crockett (well if he isn't technically anointed as such, then he should be) as archetypal 'Crim-Cousin Ray-Ray' - give strong weight to a storyline that at times, loses the parodical intent by running far too close to the original. I would love to have added the other original King of Comedy to that balancing scale, but whilst Cedric The Entertainer is undeniably hilarious by living up to his moniker as always; the character of 'Father Doug Williams' as a whole, took the joke a little too far for God-fearing tastes...



You WILL laugh, because the punchlines in the Marlon Wayans / Rick Alvarez script are unquestionably en pointe. If you're actively inclined toward the paranormal, then this is also an entertaining twist on the series for you. But, on a scale of the terrible White Chicks to the awesome Dance Flick and Scary Movie 1; A Haunted House reaches a respectable Scary Movie 2. If you haven't seen any of those, then after you've slapped yourself on my behalf, call this a decent 3.5/5 Stars.

A Haunted House opens in UK cinemas on Friday, 31st May.

For more on the film, visit the 'A Haunted House' websiteFacebook Movie Page or follow the 'AHH' latest via Twitter.

Have you seen the movie? Is my take 'bang on the money' or on the 'wrong Spiritual plane'? Let me know in the usual fashion - the Comment Box below is all yours!

ES ;)