Movie Review for A Haunted House 2

An Absence of Satire

A Haunted House 2

Comedy, Horror | R-13 | 1 hr 30 min

A Haunted House 2 picks up where the last movie left off. It opens in Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) in the back of a car with his demonically possessed girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins). He's trying to get her to some help, but the demon causes the car to crash. Malcolm runs away from the scene thinking that Kisha is dead. The movie then jumps a year forward, with Malcolm moving in with a new girlfriend, Megan (Jaime Pressly) and her two kids. And soon, of course, Malcolm realizes that his encounters with the paranormal aren't quite over yet.

The first film was a parody of found footage horror pictures like Paranormal Activity. This sequel sets it sights on more recent haunted house fare, like Insidious, Sinister, and The Conjuring. And despite the fact that none of those films used the found footage aesthetic, A Haunted House 2 is still shot in the same way. This is the first sign of the extreme laziness that defines the entire movie. The filmmakers obviously don't really have much to say about their parodic targets. They're just out to waste our time and money.

Very few of the jokes are actually specific to any of the elements of the source movies. The film just replicates these random elements and just has Marlon Wayans and the rest of the cast yelling over it in fear. But that's often the end of the joke. The thing is scary, and these people are screaming wildly. And this isn't even the focus of the movie. Many of the scenes don't have anything remotely connected to horror cinema at all.

Instead we might get a bunch of scenes that detail Malcolm's interactions with his Mexican neighbor, played by Gabriel Iglesias. The joke is always the same: Malcolm will ask something, and the neighbor will call him out for being racist before confirming the stereotype anyway. The joke isn't really funny the first time, and it becomes really tedious the third time it rolls around. The movie also gets similar mileage from Malcolm dealing with his new girlfriend's insecurities, which mostly has to do with being of different races.

When the film isn't being lazy with racial stereotypes, it gets lazy with the other standard elements of these comedies: sex, violence and drugs. Through it all, no jokes are actually constructed. The whole point is that these characters are having sex, or doing drugs, or getting hurt. It's really boring. Worse yet, it appears that the film has been cut to meet its SM-friendly rating. The movie is pretty disjointed to begin with, but the cuts make several scenes completely unwatchable.

Movies like Sinister, Insidious and The Conjuring certainly deserve some ribbing. There's plenty to make fun of in those movies, but A Haunted House 2 refuses to work hard enough to actually find all the funny in them. Instead, it falls back on everything it already did in the first movie, which was already pretty boring and lazy back then. Now it's boring, lazy AND redundant. This is a well that has obviously run dry. One begins to notice that in the middle of all the empty yelling and references to feces, there aren’t any actual jokes.

My Rating:

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