A Haunted House



Vulgar horror movie spoof has sex, language, and drugs.
  • Review Date: January 8, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

What's the story?

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) decides to move in with his girlfriend, Kisha (Essence Atkins). Things start off a bit rocky as their annoying habits become apparent to each other, but that's nothing compared to the malevolent demon that seems to be visiting their house. Malcolm decides to hire a security man (David Koechner) to set up cameras throughout the house, but when the disturbances become more paranormal, a psychic (Nick Swardson) is called in, followed by an exorcist (Cedric the Entertainer). Soon it's clear that the demon is after Kisha; can Malcolm save the day before it's too late?

Is it any good?


With A HAUNTED HOUSE, 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. Yet A Haunted House is still steeped in the crudest, most vulgar type of humor, milking laughs mainly out of uncomfortable sexual situations. 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about A Haunted House's strong sex-related humor. What makes it funny? Does the movie ever discuss sex in a mature way?

  • Is the movie scary? How does the movie use images similar to those in horror movies but make them less scary?

  • What is a spoof, exactly? What does a spoof promise and deliver? What does it do to the original material?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 11, 2013
DVD release date:April 23, 2013
Cast:Cedric the Entertainer, Essence Atkins, Marlon Wayans
Director:Michael Tiddes
Studio:Open Road Films
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content, language and some drug use

This review of A Haunted House was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byantoineisthebest January 28, 2013


funny but just don't bother
Kid, 12 years old January 16, 2013


Horible movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dont bother!!!! for adults ONLY
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byJason79 January 18, 2013

Funny Spoof

Very funny movie and less raunchy than other very similar spoofs. I see no problem letting your young teen or even a little younger watch this.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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