Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., May 19
A Haunted House
Upon moving into the title abode, Damon Wayans purchases a video camera and promises girlfriend Essence Atkins that he’s going to “film everything: Christmas, New Year’s, vagina.” One of the first images Wayans's camcorder captures is the imprint of Atkins’ rear tire just moments after it ran over his pooch’s head. A most imaginative sight gag soon cleans the air. Wayans reimagines Paranormal Activity godhead Orin Peli’s shape-shifting, sheet-fluffing specter as his galpal’s blanket-ballooning nocturnal flutter-blasts. The cast of hedonistic house guests includes a gay psychic, a determined couple of swingers, a “Mandingo party” that puts Tarantino’s to shame, and a surprisingly flat Cedric the Entertainer in the role made famous by Max Von Sydow. Worth seeing for Essence Atkins, who alternates between comic underplaying and demonic flamboyance with the greatest of ease. The Wayans family withdrew from the Scary Movie franchise after the second installment. With SM5 just around the corner, series co-creator Wayans decided to beat the Weinsteins to the draw with a Paranormal parody of his own. His scheme paid off. SM5, set to open last concurrently, pushed back its release date from January to April. Certainly not for everyone, but I must confess to chuckling at a few of the film’s baser moments. Michael Tiddes directs. 2013.
- Big Screen review • January 14, 2013