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Barbed Wire: ‘A Haunted House’

Barbed Wire: 'A Haunted House'

Barbed Wire is the place where Criticwire celebrates the art of the pan. Here’s where you’ll find the roughest, toughest, funniest reviews, with easy access links to both article and author so you can follow more of their work.

When I was a kid, parodies were fun. “Airplane!” “Top Secret!” “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” and other movies that ended with exclamation points were among my favorite childhood movies. Now when I hear about a parody or spoof, my immediate reaction is a deep, regretful sigh: my beloved genre lies in fart joke laden ruin. The latest entry in a once-proud comedic tradition is “A Haunted House,” a send-up of found footage horror movies starring Marlon Wayans, Cedric the Entertainer, and Nick Swardson. 

Critics are calling “A Haunted House” deeply unfunny — and those are the good reviews. Some writers claim it goes beyond bad jokes into bad messages, accusing it of homophobia or sexism or both. I will leave that to you to decide, should you go to see the movie for yourself (an activity I’m not necessarily endorsing, mind you). In the meantime, here are ten great lines from ten horrible reviews of “A Haunted House.”

Eric Walkuski, JoBlo.com:

Where do jokes go to die? ‘A Haunted House.'”

Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com:

“The third act of ‘A Haunted House’ (with its tasteless anal rape jokes) dissolves into chaos to cover for the lack of a conclusion, which, for a normal picture, would be a disappointing revelation. However, this is Wayans Country. I’m just delighted that the film actually ends.”

Michael Gingold, Fangoria:

“To quote an old Gene Siskel review, ‘A Haunted House’ may contain the screen’s first unfunny slapstick exorcism scene — and they’re almost always funny.”

Gary ThompsonPhiladelphia Daily News:

“As ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ sparks debate over waterboarding, we’re left to wonder if there might be some other way to obtain information from enemy non-combatants. I’d suggest forcing them to watch ‘A Haunted House,’ the new Marlon Wayans movie and alleged comedy, a parody of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise. A parody that is, in its own way, more horrifying than the real thing.”

Peter Simek, D Magazine:

“There is little that will prevent ‘A Haunted House’ from a long afterlife as a forgotten film.”

Matt PaisRedEye:

“Imagine if the ‘Paranormal Activity’ films still featured loud noises and mysteriously falling pots and pans — only this time, they also included Marlon Wayans being raped by a ghost. Wouldn’t that be hilarious?”

Tom Santilli, Examiner.com:

“There is smart stupid and then there is just plain stupid. Then there is ‘A Haunted House,’ which blazes its way into a whole new category of stupid: Painfully, epically stupid.”

Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter:

“What ‘A Haunted House’ ultimately demonstrates is that the parody genre is as played out as the film styles being sent up.”

Dustin Putman, DustinPutman.com:

It only took two weeks into 2013 for a film to reserve a surefire place on my end-of-the-year bottom ten, and one supposes it’s apropos that said movie is a partial parody of 2012’s first worst-list entry, ‘The Devil Inside.'”

James RocchiMSN Movies:

“The only scary thing about ‘A Haunted House’ is how many screens it’s opening on, and the only funny thing in it is the bittersweet bad joke represented by the fact it even exists.”

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