A Haunted House 2
Directed by Michael Tiddes
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias
Rated R for crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violent images
1 hr. and 27 min.
Raunchy parodies have always been a staple in Hollywood. Movies such as Airplane and The Naked Gun are classic examples of how to mix slapstick with social critique and wit. The sequels to those films, however, haven’t fared so well. A Haunted House 2 is in the same vein as those series of pictures, but unlike the aforementioned movie sequels, this one definitely stands on its own hilarious merit.
Picking up right where the first one ended, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) leaves his possessed girlfriend, Kisha, in a crashed car and literally doesn’t look back. A short while later he moves into a new house with his new girlfriend, Megan (Jaime Pressly), and her two children from a previous marriage. Foolishly thinking his days spent with paranormal hijinks are over, he attempts to settle into his new life as a stepdad and suburban neighbor. Of course this is not to be the case as a succession of otherworldly events begin to happen once again.
A movie that is basically a spoof of recent horror films such as Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring and Sinister could lose something in the translation, especially if the audience hasn’t seen all of the recent stock of Hollywood horror. Couple that with the fact that Wayans Brothers movies are not for everyone, and this picture could have gone south very quickly. The Wayans’ brand of humor can usually be best-described as strangely offensive and at times intellectually insulting (White Chicks). But with A Haunted House 2, Marlon and fellow co-writer Rick Alvarez have managed to transcend the usual low-brow hilarity associated with this type of film and present a movie that, while still ridiculous, also manages to be topical and smart. Are there the expected sight gags? Yes. Are they funny and relevant to the plot? Yes. That is usually hard to pull off.
Marlon’s performance is nothing short of riotous. In fact, the entire cast plays its parts to the hilt, especially Steele Stebbins as Megan’s son, Wyatt, who has an imaginary friend that exhibits questionable behavior, and Rick Overton as Professor Wilde, who personifies his character’s last name extremely well to say the least.
If there are any shortcomings in this movie it would be the fact, as previously mentioned, that if you haven’t seen all of the many, many horror movies the filmmakers reference, some of the jokes might fall flat. There is also a tendency by the director and writers to play the race card more than is necessary. Repetition can be a clever component of comedy, but sometimes it can just be too much. Still, the racial aspects of the movie do make for some of the better moments, and despite the fact that it is “supernatural comedy,” a great deal of the funnier bits come from the interaction between characters combined with assumed racial stereotypes. Gabriel Iglesias as the Hispanic neighbor Miguel has some very funny interactions with Malcolm that have less to do with ghosts than with social preconceptions.
This movie is perfect for people looking to laugh their asses off and not feel bad about why they are doing so. If you are a fan of modern horror, old-school humor or unapologetic jokes about ethnic stereotypes, A Haunted House 2 is the perfect way to spend a few bucks.