At first glance, the Marlon Wayans found-footage horror spoof A Haunted House wouldn’t appear to be especially thought-provoking. But as you watch it, certain questions crop up. Why am I watching this? How did this movie get released to theaters and not go straight to VOD? Does it even qualify as a movie? Why did it take two people to write and cost $2.5 million to make? Just how much did producer/star/co-writer Wayans pay himself? Did his co-star Essence Atkins get equal pay, considering she holds her own comically and maintains her dignity in spite of being the brunt of an extended fart joke? Does the found-footage conceit truly justify leaving in what feels like every single improvisation, then putting the few unused ones in the blooper reel during the closing credits? Who decided that Nick Swardson’s lisping, predatory gay character wasn’t stereotypical enough and that he needed a single gold earring as well? Why establish Atkins’s character’s lifelong fondness for Rubik’s Cubes without paying it off? Are the movie’s half-dozen genuine laughs there just to tease the audience? What can we do to keep A Haunted House 2 from happening?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 16, 2013