72° Good Evening
72° Good Evening

'A Haunted House' review: Don't go there

Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins in

Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins in "A Haunted House." Photo Credit: MCT

Marlon Wayans wrings every last down-and-dirty giggle out of a single joke in "A Haunted House," his return to "Scary Movie" territory, in truth if not by contract.

He's no longer involved in that series, so he limited himself to making fun not of every modern "scary" movie, but just the "Paranormal Activity" series. And for 85 rude and raunchy minutes, he does his best to drive a comical stake through the heart of horror's hottest franchise and the "found footage" genre.

It's a "what if ghosts visited a randy black couple in the suburbs" take on "Paranormal," covering much of the same territory as the movies that inspired it -- consulting a Ouija board and a gay psychic, wiring the tract house with cameras to catch images of the things that go bump in the night, and the couple (Wayans and Essence Atkins) who go bump in the bedroom. Malcolm (Wayans) calls in his thug cousin (Affion Crockett) and company to deal with the "demon" that moved in at the same time Kisha (Atkins) did.

Cedric the Entertainer is a foul-mouthed priest who figures it would be easier to find a new girlfriend than to exorcise Kisha. Nick Swardson has "psychic powers, all over my body," and is more interested in Malcolm's body than chasing demons.

Wayans has aged out of his manic years, but he hurls himself at the nudity, the simulated sex and whatnot. Unfortunately, Wayans hasn't given himself much that's new to play around with.

PLOT Couple moves into a haunted house; hilarity doesn't ensue

RATING R (crude and sexual content, language and drug use)

CAST Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, David Koechner, Nick Swardson, Cedric the Entertainer

PLAYING AT Area theaters


BOTTOM LINE Rude and raunchy

More Entertainment