Archive for the Spoofs Category

Friday Night Knife Fights: SHAUN OF THE DEAD vs. ZOMBIELAND – PART 2 (OF 3)

Posted in 2013, All-Star Casts, Friday Night Knife Fights, Horror, Horror-Comedies, Spoofs, Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2013 by knifefighter

FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS:
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) vs. ZOMBIELAND (2009) – PART 2 (of 3)
With Michael Arruda, L. L. Soares, Daniel Keohane, Paul McMahon, Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel, and Colleen Wanglund

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MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Welcome back to Friday Night Knife Fights. Tonight it’s Part 2 of the great zombie comedy debate, as our panel of Cinema Knife Fighters takes on the daunting task of pitting SHAUN OF THE DEAD vs. ZOMBIELAND. Once again, L.L. Soares and I are joined by Dan Keohane, Paul McMahon, Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel, and Colleen Wanglund. Thanks all for being here, and thank you readers for joining us tonight.

Last Friday, in Part 1 of this debate, Rounds 1 and 2 went to SHAUN OF THE DEAD, which now leads ZOMBIELAND by a score of 2-0. This bout has a total of seven rounds, and by the end of those rounds, we hope to declare a winner and be able to choose which one of these zombie comedies is the better movie.

On to Round 3. Which movie treats the horror genre with more respect? 

Okay, Paul, since we already know which movie you’ll be picking, since you’ve made it clear that you hate ZOMBIELAND, we’ll start with you.

MCMAHON:  Definitely SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

ARRUDA:  What a surprise!

MCMAHON:  Aside from it being its own story, there were plenty of homages to George A. Romero’s DEAD movies. From ‘Foree Electronics’ to Ed’s line “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!,” to the argument between Tim and Ed about whether it’s okay to say the ‘Zed’ word.

Reuben Fleischer saw SHAUN OF THE DEAD and decided he could make a zombie comedy, too. That makes ZOMBIELAND  nothing more than a SHAUN knock-off. A top-shelf knock-off, but still a knock-off. Fleischer’s movie rewards ignorance and stupidity, just like we do in this country these days.

ARRUDA:  Ouch!  No need to get political now.

MCMAHON:  I think that inclusion was accidental rather than a considered, purposeful Romero-esque social commentary of our time.

By far, SHAUN OF THE DEAD is more respectful of the horror genre.

ARRUDA:  Well, it’s more respectful of the Romero zombie movies, anyway.

SOARES: Let’s face it, Romero zombie movies – especially the first three –  are the gold standard for zombie horror movies. So it’s pretty much the same thing.

MA: Dan, what about you?

KEOHANE:  They’re both spoofs, of course, but—.

SOARES:  Did you watch the movie this time, Dan?  Do you know it has zombies in it?

KEOHANE (puts on his dark sunglasses):  I see dead people.

Anyway, overall, I think SHAUN has a level up on the horror scale, since you have more of a threat to characters, more a sense of danger especially in the pub scene, than in the chaotic, silly world of ZOMBIELAND’s amusement park.

ARRUDA:  Funny, though, when I re-watched ZOMBIELAND for purposes of this column, I found it less silly than I remembered it. I mean, it has its goofy bits of course, like the whole Twinkie thing, but I found it edgier than I remember.

SOARES:  Dan, give those glasses to Michael. ZOMBIELAND, edgy?  It’s about as edgy as a Twinkie!

(KEOHANE hands dark glasses to ARRUDA who promptly puts them away.)

SEBASTIAN-GABRIEL:  Would you like the walking stick, too?

ARRUDA:  No, I think I’m good. Actually, on second thought, I will take the walking stick. (SEBASTIAN-GABRIEL hands ARRUDA the walking stick.)  This might come in handy later. (Waves it at SOARES.) 

So, Sheri, what are your thoughts on which one is more respectful of the genre?

SEBASTIAN-GABRIEL:    Both films do the horror genre proud, I think. They both poke just a bit of fun at the genre without showing any disrespect.

WANGLUND:  Ditto.

SOARES:  You two need to be more disagreeable.

Anyway, I don’t think either one is disrespectful. But I think it’s pretty obvious that SHAUN OF THE DEAD is the one that has more affection and respect for the genre.

ARRUDA:  I think both films treat the genre with respect, and I don’t see either one as dissing horror films. But I give the edge to ZOMBIELAND because at times it worked more as a straight horror film. I empathized with the characters more in ZOMBIELAND, and I was concerned for their safety, even during the silly amusement part scene. I didn’t really feel this way watching SHAUN OF THE DEAD, because I was too busy laughing. I find this amusing because it’s the SHAUN OF THE DEAD characters who die, while the ZOMBIELAND characters survive. SHAUN did such a good job building its comedic world, I never took it seriously.

So, the Round 3 tallies are in, and SHAUN OF THE DEAD wins 3-1, with two abstentions.

Which means SHAUN wins Round 3.

Okay, after three rounds it’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD 3 and  ZOMBIELAND  0 so far.

****

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

ARRUDA: On to Round 4.- Which movie has the better cast?   I’ll answer this one first.

I prefer the ZOMBIELAND cast. I like the four principal leads, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. This quartet is more effective than Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield and friends.

Plus ZOMBIELAND has Bill Murray playing himself in one of the movie’s goofier segments. Even though I agree with Paul that this sequence is overrated, it’s still fun to see Murray.

I like Simon Pegg A LOT in SHAUN as the normal guy caught up in the zombie apocalypse, but I like Jesse Eisenberg almost as much in the same type of role. But in addition to Eisenberg, ZOMBIELAND also has tough guy Woody Harrelson, tough babe Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. While I like the supporting cast of SHAUN, they’re not quite as good as the Fab Four from ZOMBIELAND.

SEBASTIAN-GABRIEL:  I agree with Michael.

I like Simon Pegg and his gang, but you can’t beat Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee for sheer bad-assery. Harrelson brings a touch of carefree sexiness to the film that SHAUN just doesn’t have. I can certainly appreciate that Shaun manages to overcome his hopelessness and pull himself out of his rut, but having two pathetic guys in one zombie battle is a little redundant.

MCMAHON:  You’re both wrong.

Simon Pegg and crew had some difficult scenes, and they did a fantastic job nailing every emotion called for. The standoff between Shaun and David toward the end was particularly intense.

In ZOMBIELAND, the plot came to a halt for a spell while the characters revealed where they came from and what they’d been through. I saw Tallahassee’s big “reveal” coming a mile away… possibly because I’d recently watched the final M*A*S*H episode “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” which used the same narrative sleight of hand. While Harrelson did okay with the scene, it wasn’t enough to overshadow the acting in SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

SHAUN OF THE DEAD clearly has the better cast.

SOARES:  I have to go with ZOMBIELAND for this one. While I liked Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in SHAUN, I can’t name anyone else who was in it. All the major characters in ZOMBIELAND are good and memorable, and work as an ensemble. So it’s ZOMBIELAND for me.

KEOHANE:  Personally, I think they’re both top-notch. I became a Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes fan because of SHAUN OF THE DEAD and later their brilliant SPACED television series (1999-2001).

I’ve always enjoyed Eisenberg and Harrelson (and more recently Emma Stone) in anything they’ve done, or at least anything of theirs I’ve seen. They may have sucked in something I simply haven’t watched yet.

I’m calling this one even.

WANGLUND:  SHAUN OF THE DEAD was co-written by and stars Simon Pegg, a British actor who clearly brings his dry sense of humor to the film. Pegg plays a regular guy dealing with some typical issues that most people can relate to when the zombie outbreak occurs.

Most of the cast was unknown to American audiences, and I appreciated that because no one is safe.

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ZOMBIELAND has a fairly well-known cast that portrays the characters almost to the extreme of their types. Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee takes pleasure in destroying zombies while Jesse Eisenberg is like a scared little boy who you have wonder how he has survived at all (I very much like his “rules”). Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin’s con-artist sisters are believable in terms of how you may have to survive, but I think the characters aren’t as relatable as they are in SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I did like the cameo appearance by Bill Murray which was funny and sad at the same time.

But overall I’m going with the cast of SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

ARRUDA:  So, ZOMBIELAND wins Round 4 with a score of 3 -2 with one tie, which means after four rounds, our score is SHAUN OF THE DEAD 3 and ZOMBIELAND 1.

****

ARRUDA: On to Round 5.   Which director does better job, Ruben Fleischer on ZOMBIELAND or Edgar Wright on SHAUN OF THE DEAD?

SOARES:  I think they both do a fine job. I’ve liked other things Edgar Wright has done, and I noticed that one Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movie that Wright didn’t direct – PAUL (2011)– was painfully unfunny. So, because I just like Edgar Wright better overall as a director, I give the slight edge to him.

WANGLUND:  Edgar Wright, who co-wrote and directed SHAUN OF THE DEAD does a great job keeping the pace of the comedy while still keeping the zombie threat very real and very scary. The end of the film is bittersweet as so many of Shaun’s friends and family do not survive, but life has been able to continue.

I think ZOMBIELAND director Reuben Fleischer did a good job balancing the comedy with the very real horror of a zombie apocalypse.

The directing was superb in both. Even Steven again.

ARRUDA:  While I agree that both directors do a good job, I give the slight edge to Ruben Fleischer. I like the energy he brings to the pacing of ZOMBIELAND. Some scenes are downright frenetic. I also like the creative gimmick of the words superimposed on the screen where Eiesenberg’s Columbus lays out his rules to live by. Sure, this isn’t original, we’ve seen this type of thing before, but it still works here.

But Edgar Wright utilizes a lot of creative touches in SHAUN OF THE DEAD as well.

This one’s very close but I give the edge to Fleischer. Advantage, ZOMBIELAND.

MCMAHON:  From the very first shots of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, you know Edgar Wright is bringing his A-game. A seemingly intimate conversation between Tim and Liz is revealed through camera angles to be happening at a table crowded with their friends. Also, I loved the pre-zombie and post-zombie mirroring of Shaun’s trip to the corner store for a Coke and a Cornetto.

ZOMBIELAND tried to copy the sense of fun by using title cards to keep track of Columbus’s rules for survival, and that was cute, but felt heavy handed to me. Almost like Ruben Fleischer wanted to be sure we knew he was making a comedy.

Winner: SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

SEBASTIAN-GABRIEL:  I’m siding with Colleen on this one. Superb direction by both guys.

KEOHANE (feigning ignorance):  Which movies are we discussing again?  Seriously, this one’s too close to call.

SOARES: Yeah, I notice people are saying “both” to a lot of these questions. These two movies are just too close – they’re both decent comedies about zombies. It’s just not a very exciting contest to me, because there’s no real conflict here.

ARRUDA:  I disagree.  I’d much rather have a close contest like this than something like SHAUN OF THE DEAD vs. SCARY MOVIE 5.  Where would the fun be in that?  Competition is supposed to be evenly matched.  Otherwise it’s not much of a contest.

All right, then, there you have it. Round 5 goes to SHAUN OF THE DEAD, with a score of 2-1 and 3 ties. Which means our tally after 5 rounds is SHAUN OF THE DEAD 4 and ZOMBIELAND 1. But ZOMBIELAND could still pull a surprise win out of its hat in PART 3.

That’s all the time we have for PART 2. Join us next Friday night for the final two rounds, the exciting conclusion to our debate of SHAUN OF THE DEAD vs. ZOMBIELAND. Don’t forget, ZOMBIELAND still has a chance.

So long for now!

—END PART 2—

© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Daniel G. Keohane, Paul McMahon, Sheri-Sebastian-Gabriel and Colleen Wanglund

 

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SCARY MOVIE 5 (2013)

Posted in 2013, Cinema Knife Fights, Comedies, Garbage, Just Plain Bad, Michael Arruda Reviews, Spoofs with tags , , , , on April 15, 2013 by knifefighter

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT:  SCARY MOVIE 5 (2013)
By Michael Arruda

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(THE SCENE: A cabin in the woods.  MICHAEL ARRUDA walks through the interior, inspecting the bloody carnage from some horrifying incident.  Blood is spattered on the walls, severed body parts are strewn about the floor, and the room is littered with busted and broken furniture.)

MICHAEL ARRUDA (looking things over):  I guess I’m too late for THE HANGOVER PART III cast party!  Wow, it must have been quite the shindig!  Hey look!  (picks up a small white object.)  It’s one of Stu’s teeth.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to be reviewing THE HANGOVER PART III today, I’m not.

Nope, I’m here today in this cabin in the woods because I’m reviewing that sorry excuse for a comedy, SCARY MOVIE 5 (2013).

(Picks up a severed arm.)

This arm is funnier than anything you’ll see in SCARY MOVIE 5.

(A severed head on the floor suddenly frowns.)

HEAD:  But that arm’s not funny at all!

MA: My point exactly.  (looks around cabin)

I sure have been spending a lot of time here lately, in this cabin in the woods.  L.L. SOARES and I were just here last week reviewing the EVIL DEAD remake, and I’m back here again for today’s review. I wish I were here under better circumstances.

HEAD:  I’m glad you’re here.  I could use the company.

MA (to HEAD):  So, what happened here, anyway?  Things must have gotten violent.

HEAD:  Why do you say that?

MA:  Well, for starters, you’re missing your body!

HEAD:  Oh, I’ve been without my body for years.  I arrived here this way.

MA:  You did?

HEAD:  Yeah, someone at the party said they wanted a little head.  (Drum beat)  So, here I am!

MA:  On that note, I should get started on today’s review. We’ll talk more later.

HEAD:  I’ll be right here.  It’s not like I can leave.

MA:  Anyway, I’m here in this cabin because today’s movie, SCARY MOVIE 5 (2013) involves a place just like this, although strangely, one of the movies it didn’t spoof, was the aptly titled THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011).

I’m flying solo this week, as L.L. Soares is off on another assignment—which is code for “I’m not seeing that f—cking lame ass movie so do it yourself Arruda!” —so here I am, facing the dubious task of bringing you today’s review of SCARY MOVIE 5.

Here goes:  as if you didn’t already know, SCARY MOVIE 5 sucks.  Don’t see it.

Okay, you can go home now.

HEAD:  Are you leaving already?  Because if you are, would you mind giving me a lift to the closest bus station?

Scary Movie 5 poster #2

MA:  No, I’m not leaving already.  That was just a joke.

Even SCARY MOVIE 5 deserves an honest review.

HEAD: Okay, but when you do leave, can you take me to that bus station?

MA:  Sure.

HEAD:  I know it’s early, but I’d like to get a head start on the traffic.

MA:  Stop, all right?  Just stop.

Now, where was I?   Yes, the review.

Seriously, unless you’re a diehard fan of the series, and I’m sure there is one of you out there, you have no business seeing this movie.  Avoid it like the plague.  But you’re smart enough to already know that.

What’s the best part about SCARY MOVIE 5?  That Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan only appear in one scene, and it’s the pre-credit sequence.  You get them out of the way quickly.

Not that I have anything against Sheen or Lohan, but it’s obvious that they’re only in this movie to exploit their real life personal problems, which I find sad.  Keep your personal lives out of the movies, thank you very much!

Unfortunately, what follows after Sheen and Lohan isn’t much better.

SCARY MOVIE 5 spoofs a bunch of horror movies, obviously, and it uses as its framework the recent horror film MAMA (2013) as a young married couple Dan (Simon Rex) and Jody (Ashley Tisdale) agree to take care of Dan’s brother’s kids after they were found abandoned in a cabin in the woods.

So, that’s the framework for this one, but to say that this movie has a plot is saying a lot.

I will say that the scene where Snoop Dog and his buddy first discover the little girls in the cabin is a funny one, and one of the few times I laughed.

HEAD: I liked that scene, too.

MA:  So, you saw the movie?

HEAD:  What?  You think I’m not allowed into movie theaters or something?

MA:  I didn’t say that.

HEAD:  Of course, I do go early, so I can be at the head of the line.

MA (groans):  Enough! You’re giving me a headache.

HEAD:  You said that one.

MA: Moving right along—.

In addition to MAMA, the film pokes fun at the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies, and the jokes here are some of the worst.  Most involve the overweight housekeeper, in gags that are tasteless and vulgar. Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind tasteless and vulgar jokes, but they have to make me laugh.  These didn’t.

The film strangely parodies RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) as Dan’s day job is to work with Caesar and his fellow apes.  These scenes were the most disappointing of all.  The material here is ripe for laughter, and yet time and time again, the writers drop the ball.

While Dan is busy training Caesar, Jody trains to be a ballerina in scenes spoofing BLACK SWAN (2010), in yet another series of scenes that constantly misfire.

There’s even a pointless sequence lampooning INCEPTION (2010) which seems out of place here and is about as funny as the real movie.

HEAD: Was INCEPTION a comedy?

MA:  No.  It was a thriller.

HEAD:  Then, why did you— oh, I get it now.  (laughs).

MA:  Probably the funniest sequence in the movie is a spoof of EVIL DEAD (2013), where Jody and her friend take turns reading from the Book of the Dead, which causes some comical results.  But other than this, I didn’t laugh much at all.

I’ve heard the argument that films like this shouldn’t be criticized because they’re supposed to be stupid.  Really?  I thought they were supposed to be funny?  And that’s the problem I have with this film. You want to spoof something, do a flippin good job, or don’t do it at all!

Pat Proft and David Zucker wrote this movie, and these guys have a ton of comedic credits, including THE NAKED GUN films, AIRPLANE! (1980) and a bunch of other funny parodies.   They should know better.

What’s going on here is lazy writing and taking the easy way out.   It’s obvious to me that these jokes were written with the mindset that even if it’s just the tiniest bit humorous, it’s okay.  The film plays like a first draft from beginning to end.

So many of the jokes in this movie, had they been properly set up and thought out, could have been very funny.  There’s no reason in the world why a movie like SCARY MOVIE 5 couldn’t be a laugh riot.  But it’s not, because the jokes just aren’t there.

You’re telling me that you’re spoofing the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies and the best you can do is relentlessly make fun of the housekeeper?  That’s it?  That’s all you’ve got?  You can’t do any better than the lowest common denominator of humor—crude bathroom jokes, vulgar sex jokes—and rehash it over and over?  That’s spoofing?  I don’t think so.  That’s laziness.

Some of the best parodies take specific scenes and have fun with them.  That sort of thing is severely lacking here.  And if the material isn’t there, if these films have been satirized to death already, then maybe you shouldn’t be making a SCARY MOVIE 5.

The cast can’t save this one either.  While Ashley Tisdale is watchable as Jody, there was something about Simon Rex’s performance as Dan that I found irritating.  He was over the top silly and goofy without being funny.  I have to admit, I strongly disliked most of his scenes, and since he’s in most of the movie, that’s not good.

The rest of the cast either overacts or mails it in, looking as if they’re just there to have fun as opposed to work and actually create something funny.

SCARY MOVIE 5 is rated PG-13, and honestly, this one looks as if it was originally intended to be Rated R and then edited down to a PG-13 rating.  Not that it would have made much of a difference.

In one gag, for instance, as Dan and Jody tour the medical facility where their young girls are being cared for, they pass a window where they see two babes showering and soaping up their bodies, and these babes are wearing bathing suits.  Now that makes a lot of sense.

HEAD:  Who showers wearing a bathing suit?

MA:  My point exactly.

HEAD:  That was a lame scene!  I felt cheated.

MA:  Well, yeah.  I felt that way after the first five minutes of this one.

I almost gave this movie 0 Knives, but admittedly I did laugh a couple of times, and I did enjoy that EVIL DEAD scene.  So, I’ll be generous today, but still, that’s pretty sad to find only one or two laughs in a movie that is supposed to be a comedy.

I give SCARY MOVIE 5 one knife.

Do yourself a favor and see something else this weekend.  Okay, I’m out of here.

HEAD:  Hey, don’t leave me.  Hey!  A little help?

MA (sighs):  Sure, buddy.  What is it?  You want me to drop you off at the bus station?

HEAD:  Actually, I’ve changed my mind.  I feel like washing my hair.  Want to do me a huge favor and reach into that duffel bag and hand me that bottle of Head and Shoulders?

MA:  You know, I’ve had enough of these lame puns.  You’re on your own.  I’m outta here. (Exits.)

HEAD:  Gee, wasn’t he a heady bastard!

—END—

© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda

(EDITOR’s NOTE: While I didn’t see this one, I can say that, based on Michael’s review, A HAUNTED HOUSE, which came out earlier this year, sounds a lot funnier than SCARY MOVIE 5. So if you really have to see a horror movie spoof movie this year—you’d be better off seeing that one. It has a lame title, but at least it has some laughs and I gave it a decent review. Check out the review here. ~LLS)

Michael Arruda gives SCARY MOVIE 5 ~ one knife!

A HAUNTED HOUSE (2012)

Posted in 2013, Comedies, Evil Spirits, Exorcism Movies, Faux Documentaries, Fun Stuff!, Ghosts!, Haunted Houses, LL Soares Reviews, Parodies, Possessed By Demons, R-Rated Comedy, Spoofs with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by knifefighter

A HAUNTED HOUSE (2013)
Movie Review by L.L. Soares

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While Michael was seeing GANGSTER SQUAD, I opted to check out this comedy starring Marlon Wayans instead, and I’m glad I did. A HAUNTED HOUSE, despite the lame, generic title, is actually a pretty good comedy, taking aim at all of the “found footage” horror films we’ve been subjected to lately, from the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films, to THE LAST EXORCISM (2010) and last year’s THE DEVIL INSIDE.

The found footage genre is so prevalent in the movies these days, that it was only a matter of time before someone skewered them. So along comes actor/writer Marlon Wayans (who’s been in everything from the TV show IN LIVING COLOR, 1992 – 2001, to the first two SCARY MOVIEs and WHITE CHICKS, 2004), to do the skewering.

Marlon stars as Malcolm, a likeable guy who tells us early on that this is a big day, because his girlfriend, Kisha (Essence Atkins), is finally moving into his house. Like the people in those PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies, Malcolm is obsessed with filming everything that goes on in his house. Things start off on a bad foot when Kisha runs over his poor little dog pulling into the driveway, and they just get worse from there. When Kisha is upset that her keys are on the floor (How did they get there?!!), she immediately deduces that the house must be haunted and calls in a psychic named Chip (Nick Swardson), who seems a little too interested in Malcolm. When things get weirder, Malcolm calls in a security guy named Dan (David Koechner) to install cameras all over the inside and outside of his house, so that he can keep track of the “ghost.” An especially funny scene involves Malcolm’s cousin Ray-Ray (Affion Crockett) and his crew, a group of thugs who are determined to get to the bottom of the haunting, but find out it’s not that easy to intimidate a supernatural being.

When Malcolm and Kisha determine that it’s not a ghost at all, but a malicious demon (!), there’s a funny flashback to Kisha’s childhood with her callous Mom (Robin Thede) and Dad (the always hilarious J.B. Smoove), that delves into the origins of Kisha’s demon problem. Malcolm and Kisha do everything they can to get rid of their unwanted visitor, including getting stoned with the invisible creep (they all get mellow and engage ins some supernatural hijinks), and even having sex with the demon (while Kisha has a good time with this, Malcolm’s experience isn’t quite so pleasant).

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) find themselves in A HAUNTED HOUSE.

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) find themselves in A HAUNTED HOUSE.

When Kisha finally gets possessed by the demon (and we get into EXORCISM territory), Malcolm finally has to call in the big guns, which include psychic Chip, Dan and his cameraman sidekick, Bob (Dave Sheridan), who have their own paranormal TV show (on the Internet and cable access) and the local priest (and ex-con), Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer, who’s really good here). They chase the possessed Kisha all over the house, with funny results.

Directed by Michael Tiddes, and written by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez, A HAUNTED HOUSE could easily be part of the SCARY MOVIE franchise, but those movies have been taken over by the Zucker Brothers (the guys behind the AIRPLANE and NAKED GUN movies). That said, A HAUNTED HOUSE seemed to be funnier than the usual SCARY MOVIE installment, with a higher ratio of laughs.

Marlon Wayans does a fine job as our “hero,” Malcolm. Essence Atkins is really funny as Kisha, and the entire cast is pretty solid. Other supporting players include Andrew Daly (who you might recognize from the HBO series EASTBOUND AND DOWN) and Alanna Ubach, as Steve and Jenny, a swinger couple who are friends with Malcolm and Kisha, and who are always trying to get them to swap partners (Malcolm is completely clueless to their intentions), and Marlene Forte as Malcolm’s maid, Rosa, who is up to some very surprising shenanigans when the couple is away.

If a comedy is judged by how much you laugh, then A HAUNTED HOUSE is a success. I laughed a lot, and so did the packed audience I saw it with. The gags in this one come fast and furious, and most of them work. It doesn’t hurt that the movies this one is spoofing have created their own list of clichés just waiting to be goofed on.

I give A HAUNTED HOUSE, three knives. But man, do I wish they had come up with a better title.

© Copyright 2013 by L.L. Soares

LL Soares gives A HAUNTED HOUSE ~three knives.

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