A Haunted House [Blu-ray]
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The "found footage" subgenre of horror films, as exemplified by Paranormal Activity, The Devil Inside, and countless others, receives a raunchy, raucous spoof by Marlon Wayans and a capable cast in the very broad comedy A Haunted House. Wayans, who also cowrote and coproduced the film, is top-billed as a young homeowner documenting every aspect of his new domestic situation with girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins) via digital camera. To his dismay, Wayans discovers that the camera footage reveals the presence of a supernatural entity from Kisha's past with designs on disrupting their lives (especially in the bedroom), which prompts the enlistment of various eccentric outsiders, including an ex-con priest (Cedric the Entertainer), to combat the otherworldly intruder. Wayans, director Michael Tiddes, and cowriter/coproducer Rick Alvarez arm themselves with two potentially fruitful comic scenarios--the inherent absurdity of the found footage subgenre and the tensions that arise between newly moved-in couples--but bury any chance for real humor under a barrage of easy-target gags involving bodily functions, racial stereotypes, and uneasy gay panic riffs involving a predatory psychic played by Nick Swardson. Granted, this is the formula with which Wayans has reaped major box-office returns with the Scary Movie franchise, White Chicks, Dance Flick, and other low-brow comedies, so fans of those pictures will most likely find his shenanigans here hilarious. He's also abetted by a very game group of supporting players, including David Koechner, J.B. Smoove, Alanna Ubach, and Andrew Daly, who do their best to enliven the material. The Blu-ray/DVD includes a digital copy and UltraViolet content, but supplemental features are limited to a very brief, electronic press kit-styled interview roundup. --Paul Gaita