A spoof ultimately done in by its own ambition. HOUSE isn’t content to merely string one gag after another, HELLZAPOPPIN-style, as the SCARY MOVIEs do. Yes, much of it is parody (mostly of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies; also, one funny reference to BLAIR WITCH). But large parts of it seem aimed at genuine story development, when all we really want are the jokes. Too many times a scene begins in what I call “reset mode” — by which I mean that stuff that’s gone before which scared the crap out of the protagonists is utterly forgotten so that they can once again be frightened just like the first time. Those protags don’t bring much to the table. Marlon Wayans hasn’t much to do and what Essence Atkins does is just bad. Leave it to four solid comedians to provide the fun — especially Nick Swardson and Cedric the Entertainer, along with David Koechner (a regular in these kind of flicks) and Affion Crockett. Four reasons why you shouldn’t miss this movie: Swardson’s “Have you ever been with a man?” interview, Koechner’s emotional meltdown while installing security equipment, any and every line Cedric delivers (including the end credits), and a sex scene involving stuffed animals that is the dirtiest set of position variations since the (unrated) TEAM AMERICA slow jam. — Jeff Schultz

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