A Haunted House (2013)
Directed by: Michael Tiddes
Premise: A parody of recent horror pictures, namely Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside. A couple recruits a variety of experts to banish evil spirits from their home.
What Works: Essence Atkins seems like a capable actress and much better than this film.
What Doesn’t: There has been a trend in the comedy genre recently, and in the spoof genre in particular, of making racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes under the auspices of satire. This has resulted in dreadful movies like The Hangover Part II, Project X, and The Change Up but as lousy as the comedy genre has become, it hasn’t produced anything quite as rotten as A Haunted House. This spoof of recent horror pictures commits the same filmmaking sins as its contemporaries, with the filmmakers showing little insight into the conventions and clichés of the movies they satirize and no imagination in the humor. But A Haunted House is especially rancid as it resorts to gay panic, racial stereotypes, and rape jokes in a vain attempt to be edgy. The picture includes Nick Swardson, who has managed to make a career out of homophobic jokes, as a gay psychic who keeps trying to molest the other males. The film also includes a recurrent “Mandingo porn” gag and scenes of the lead female character being sexually assaulted by a ghost —and liking it. Worse, the movie keeps repeating these jokes, making them louder, more obnoxious, and less funny in each iteration. Ultimately, A Haunted House isn’t a parody film at all. It uses the veneer of a spoof movie as an excuse to tell racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes.
Bottom Line: The parody genre has been in terrible shape for some years but it is hard to imagine a movie worse than A Haunted House.
Episode: #475 (January 26, 2014)