Just when you thought it was safe to go back onto movie theaters, Marlon Wayans is back and taking aim at the horror genre yet again with yet another spoof movie. Malcolm Johnson (Marlon Wayans) survived the events of A Haunted House, and a year after the possession of Kisha (Essence Adkins), he’s found a new girlfriend named Megan (Jaime Pressly) and he’s moved into a fancy new house in the suburbs with Megan’s children Becky (Ashley Rickards) and Wyatt (Steele Stebbins).
As it turns out, you can’t kill your problems in a car wreck, even if your problem is a possessed woman. Malcolm moves into his new house and the problems immediately start. There’s a creepy doll, a box that drives Becky insane, a vodka-swilling imaginary friend that teaches Wyatt to curse… you pick the horror movie trope, and it shows up at some point, right down to Malcolm’s obsession with cameras and home security. As it turns out, once Agouhl (Dave Sheridan) has his eyes on you and your family, getting rid of him is not that easy.
A Haunted House 2 is what happens when writers Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez look at the horror movies of the last few years (Insidious, The Conjuring, The Possession, Sinister) and decide to just mash them all in a blender, top them with horrible racist and scatological humor, and hit puree on the blender. There is absolutely nothing new or unique about this film; if anything, Alvarez and Wayans have managed to make the very unfunny A Haunted House look like Airplane with this particular piece of dreck. There’s no joke too obvious or too cheap, and every possible opportunity to squeeze in a gross sex joke, poop joke, drug joke, or rape joke is jumped upon and promptly throttled to death by clumsy, crushing hands. There’s certainly not much of a plot to hang those jokes on, more like a collection of stolen elements glued together with several gallons of fake sweat.
Marlon Wayans is from a famous family of funny people, but clearly he needs some oversight from Damon and Keenan Ivory in order to make the most of his particular brand of energy. Wayans doesn’t so much as tell a joke as he does scream it. If there’s a chance to flop around on the floor, he’ll take it. If there’s a chance to pull a stupid face, he’ll do it. If there’s a chance to flop around on the floor and pull a stupid face while screaming and wailing, then you’d better believe he won’t let that opportunity pass him by. You can’t argue with his commitment to attempted comedy, or his ability to really throw himself around, but the mugging reeks of desperation, as if he knew he didn’t have any actual funny ideas and assumed the only way he could get laughs is by pretending to hump a creepy doll. At least the rest of the cast doesn’t join him in his wailing and roiling, not that it provides much respite from all the noise.
You would think that all the opportunities to play with horror set pieces would give director Michael Tiddes an opportunity to show off a little visual flash, but that doesn’t really happen here. Indeed, it’s a very flat movie. Even once they drop the found footage conceit – though some character or another carries a camera pretty much all the time – it doesn’t give the movie any dynamics. It’s just kind of clumsy, like everything else.
I think the worst offense of this whole movie isn’t that it’s not funny (to be clear, it’s not funny in the slightest), it’s that it feels interminable. It’s only 87 minutes long, but that 87 minutes feels like three hours because it’s nothing but one-note jokes surrounded by padding. He has sex with a doll; it’s stupid, but it could have also been a brief cut-in rather than 5 minutes of the same joke repeated multiple times. Malcolm has to kill a chicken so his neighbor Miguel (Gabriel Iglesias) can exorcise the demon with a blood sacrifice. It goes horribly wrong, but it goes horribly wrong for a three minutes of set destruction and bad physical comedy (that was a joke stolen from Family Guy in the first place).
There’s nothing original in A Haunted House 2. The stolen tropes and horror elements are poorly executed, both on the page and on the screen. There’s no sense of pace, no plot to speak of, and absolutely nothing redeeming about this waste of energy, time, and money. I have no doubt it will turn a profit since the last one somehow made $60 million on an investment of $2.5 million, but just because the movie makes money, that doesn’t mean it needs to actually be made.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan can only hope that Marlon Wayans and company will take the money and run, rather than coming back for yet another trip into the haunted house. Fingers crossed! Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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