Boo! A Madea Halloween Review
That’s right kids, this was going to be a straight up review I was genuinely excited for… but oh no, Tyler Perry done got us, and now, we’re gonna skewer the son of the bitch. I was going to let this go, but then I started googling posters and … we’ll get to that… oh we will get to that!
This is the part where I do that generic review, and in this case it definitely applies. Aside from clips of “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, I had never seen a Madea movie. I knew nothing about the Madea-verse or what the “rules” were. I was genuinely eager to find out, having had friends with a Madea type in their family growing up, and being a huge fan of Sanford & Son, I was expecting the best.
The movie itself, seems to be standard fare for a Madea movie. They had about 15 mins worth of content and stretched it out to a grueling hour and a half. The crowd we were with helped (more on that later). The movie was passable, at times enjoyable, and currently sits at my 28th for the year as a whole. It was a way to kill an hour and a half and as a Madea movie it’s a fair B-
But this movie, is NOT the movie we thought we were gonna get.
Boo! A Madea Halloween Revievangent
As we settled into our seats for that gimmicky new horror flick Lights Out a lackluster trailer for Morgan played. “Who is Morgan?” “Who cares?” I thought.
As the Lionsgate logo flashed on the screen I figured “at least it’s not another Blumhouse”. A cookie cutter low-budget broadcast about yet another Zombie plague sweeping the globe plays as we see “chilling smash cuts” to a desolate asylum, a ravaged city and… holy shit, is that Madea?
As Tyler Perry’s staple character Madea appears on a porch toting a shotgun blasting the undead, a smile crosses my face, my little sister’s face, and Jim’s face who is already erupting into laughter. We see a carefully pieced together with care montage teaser of Madea facing off against hordes of the undead, poltergeist hands inside of a television, evil clowns and other horror tropes. I see shades of Elm Street, Hallo- excuse me Herruween,
Growing up where and when we did, Jim and I were both accustomed to the idea of not just the “dollar theater” (man, THOSE were the days) but the cheap theater in the hood. When I saw Scream 2 at said theater way back when, the irony of the opening scene wasn’t lost on me, as a few gentlemen in the crowd jumped at the chance to provide a feature length commentary throughout the duration. To this day, my dad will randomly yell at me “Slice up that white bitch! Throw her off the roof!”
As the months wore on we began to see more and more posters, tucked away mostly except for featuring on the wall at the entrance and exits of various posters.
A new trailer dropped
Deep into October, we began to actually look forward to seeing this movie.
We elected not to read or watch any indepth Madea reviews, and Friday night with our BVS review crew of Andrew and Colin in tow, we headed for Hudson Mo (that’s what we used to call it).
The overly white young cashier clearly lost a bet when I said “Three for the 8pm Madea”, and even though this was the point where I’d usually say “Back off man, I’m a scientist [movie reviewer]” I wanted to let his fellow cashier, an obviously open-minded young black woman, have her victory. “See, I told you, don’t assume!”, I heard her say as I didn’t order three for Jack Reacher.
Jim had walked me through the basics of the Madea-world, how Tyler Perry does an Eddie Murphy and plays multiple characters, including straight man Bryan; how the “plot” was Madea coming to babysit an insubordinate teen and keep her from sneaking out to a frat party. The potential for camp meets schlock, some of our FAVORITE things, was through the roof. This sounded like Black Christmas meets Friday. I wanted to see Madea take on deadites, gremlins, the Cult of Thorn, a Party City royalty free Jason Vorhees, you name it. My “movie brain” that every writer/reviewer unfortunately develops kicked in and screamed at me “This day-time frat party set-up will be the first 15-20 mins of an hour and half movie…but then you get an hour of straight camp and Madea!”
boy was I fucking wrong.
Over the years, when giving any kind of lesson or lecture on advertising and marketing, I bring up the same three stories. When it comes to outright “false advertising” or “not the movie they sold” I have always gone to the well of the original Gremlins trailer which sold a whimsical holiday pet in a family Christmas movie (that any fan or viewer of Gremlins knows is the furthest possible thing from the truth and it resulted in traumatized children and outraged parents and along with Temple of Doom is the sole reason for the PG-13 rating)
, and Jason Goes to Hell which sold fans Jason actually being in the movie as more than a glorified cameo
Madea has now taken that top spot. Not a fucking FRAME of the teaser trailer that is an obvious close set reshoot exists in the movie. The horror tropes from the posters, no bearing on the movie. The second trailer pumped up with Poltergeist TV hands and a tape playing the SAW recording? Doesn’t happen.
We do get Bella Thorne in a crop top…but I don’t know if she’s old enough to put on my list yet.
So what do we get in this movie?
The first 15-20 mins is the day-time setup of the plot. We then get an amazing and truly hilarious scene of Madea and Aunt Bam sitting on Madea’s front lawn (which of course is not the lawn or the house she’s toting a shotgun in front of in the Teaser) It feels exactly like Friday and it’s perfect. I turned to Jim and said “Please, let this be the entire movie, and everything just unfolds here.”
We then get some really awkward 12 minute over the top discussion about child abuse that goes from funny to dark to sad to uncomfortable.
And even then I was thinking “This is going to be like Scooby Doo, and then real supernatural stuff will happen. It will likely be all a dream, or Madea “exaggerating a story through narration” but it will happen in the Third Act.”
It never did.
Thank God for the crowd, and the character of Joe, because otherwise we would have been really upset.
It wasn’t a “Bad” movie, and I’m sure the Madea fans will enjoy it. It wasn’t the movie I was sold or the movie I would have wanted to see. I went home and did way more research than I should have on the Madea world. It only bummed me out to find out there were even funnier characters we could have gotten, because while I loved Aunt Bam and Joe, I could have done without the one that sounded like a Member Berry, and pretty much Bryan's entire family.
Typically we avoid trailers, and deliberately avoid reviews for things we want to see/have to see/ or up in the air about. We really should have just watched this:
Ball is in your court now, Tyler Perry.
Cause Madea said it best “That’s why they call it Trick R Treat. That’s the Trick, mother fucka!”
Well played, Mr. Perry. Well played indeed