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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is mostly filled with questionable behavior that doesn't have any consequences. Even the loving couple at the center of the story tends to argue and treat each other with disrespect.
Positive Role Models
Characters are shallow and mostly irresponsible. Their primary goals seem to be selfish and carnal, rather than helpful or considerate.
Violence & Scariness
The hero's dog is killed by a car; the dog's body (which looks fake) is shown. Horror violence includes a ghost attacking and a woman being possessed by a demon; the scare factor is diffused by the movie's comic tone.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A long montage shows the main character performing several (practice) sexual acts with a stuffed animal. Three topless women are viewed in a brief "party" scene. The neighbors are "swingers" who try to convince the main characters to join them. A "mandingo party" is briefly shown (black men having sex with a white woman, while the woman's husband watches). Men's naked bottoms are glimpsed. A sex toy and a leather bondage outfit are shown.
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Strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," the "N" word, "t-ts," "p---y," "d--k," "vagina," "penis," "ass," "ho" ("whore"), "hell," "damn," and "bitch," as well as "oh my God," "Jesus Christ," and "goddamn." A character uses the word "NigGyver" to describe a black "MacGyver" move.
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Products & Purchases
Best Buy is shown, and an Angry Birds game is shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke pot and snort cocaine in a comical way. They also drink beer socially.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Haunted House is the latest comedy spoof from Marlon Wayans and his cohorts, this time with their sights set on Paranormal Activity and the like. It's similar to Scary Movie and Dance Flick but less focused on pop culture references. Still, the humor is very vulgar and outrageous, with tons of sexual jokes/content (characters are swingers; one is gay; a sex toy and bondage outfit are shown) and some nudity (breasts, bottoms), as well as very strong language ("f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, etc.). The references to horror movies suggest some violence -- like demon possession and a scary ghost -- but the scare factor is often diffused by the humorous tone. Pot smoking and cocaine-snorting are played for laughs (a priest keeps a huge joint inside his Bible). Teens may want to see this opening weekend, but after that, not many will care. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A Haunted House is steeped in the crudest, most vulgar type of humor, milking laughs mainly out of uncomfortable sexual situations. Co-writer/star Wayans and his crew are clearly making an attempt to move beyond their usual "spoof" movies; there are fewer direct references to pop culture and more focus on characters and romantic relationships. Wayans even plays the movie's "straight man," giving the funniest lines to outsiders. But as a whole, it doesn't really work.
One character is gay and hot for Wayans' character, while the demon likes to have "sex" with Atkins' character, and the next-door neighbors are kinky "swingers." Other jokes are filled out with the usual farting, strong language, and drug references. On the plus side, the filmmakers have paid close attention to the Paranormal Activity movies and have mercilessly skewered their methods, and Cedric the Entertainer's arrival late in the movie is a breath of fresh air; his (clearly improvised) line deliveries provide the movie's few genuine laughs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.