Actors, at the behest of writers, directors, producers, and agents, have had to suffer all sorts of indignities onscreen. The actor-turned-writer, however, gets to wrestle back some measure of control, which is why it boggles the mind that A Haunted House star and co-writer Marlon Wayans is at least 50% responsible for a scene that requires him to take a dump on the living room floor. And here’s the real rub: By the end of this witless Paranormal Activity spoof, you’ll think the soiled carpet got off easy.
Some of the Scary Movie series’ architects reassemble here for a joylessly raunchy comedy about a ghost causing trouble for couple Malcolm (Wayans) and Kisha (Atkins). Ghost Hunters and The Exorcist are some of the eye-rolling springboards for parody, while Wayans and co-writer Rick Alvarez flog gross stereotypes about gender and race (Mandingo parties are a recurring theme) to zero comedic effect. In his first feature, director Michael Tiddes mimics the increasingly fruitless found-footage trend, and it’s a disastrous move, this documentary aesthetic: By eliminating the winking, broad strokes of the filmmakers’ more successful spoofs, they’ve made a film that is not only dumb, but dull. It’s like watching a snuff film, only it’s the audience who’s dying inside.