Why do we have a sequel to last year’s poorly reviewed A Haunted House? Well, some people – including me – thought the first outing was a dumb unadulterated comedy that was actually a really funny send-up to the recent trend of horror flicks involving possessions and the devil. Because of the giggly reception and a profitable box office, director Michael Tiddes and partner-in-crime Marlon Wayans have decided to throw another spoof our way.
A Haunted House was crass and lowbrow with humour that was either physical, irreverent, or both. It was also very stereotypical with exaggerated characters and language involving different races. It wasn’t everyone’s cup o’ tea, that’s for sure.
It’s expected that A Haunted House 2 would follow through with a similar string of funnies. It does and it’s still amusing, though this comedic chapter isn’t as strong as its predecessor. Mostly because Tiddes and Wayans are still clueless as to when to end a joke.
A Haunted House 2 also offers more of the same with its storyline. Malcolm (played by Wayans) is settling in with a different girlfriend (Megan played by Jamie Pressly) and her two children, but he’s still followed by an evil in the form of his ex (still played by Essence Atkins). Through a series of prat falls, ominous reels of film left in the new house’s attic, and a one night stand with a creepy doll, Malcolm finds out that history will repeat itself.
What’s really odd about A Haunted House 2 is that you could probably play Tiddes’ first spoof at the same time with this sequel and scenes would actually sync up – timing and all. Wayans screwball sex scene with an inanimate toy happens at the same time as the overlong stuffed animal three-way in A Haunted House. Unfortunately, this scene is even longer, more graphic, and more uncomfortable for the audience to endure. It also becomes more of a staple in one of the sequel’s story.
The issue A Haunted House 2 runs into is that it broadens its spoof scope too much causing Tiddes’ follow-up to be scatterbrained.
A Haunted House had very little recent resources to pull from, but it was more direct with its plot. A Haunted House 2 takes jabs at a lot more modern day horrors including Sinister, The Possession, The Conjuring, and – of course – the Paranormal Activity sequels. Though there’s plenty more to poke fun at, the script (written by Wayans and Rick Alvarez) loses its way and can’t figure out what the main focus is. By the time the left hooks towards The Conjuring come, it feels as of we’re watching a brand new movie.
Because of the indecisiveness, the scenes come across more as sketches or halfhearted ideas that don’t come together as well as they could. Some of these moments are spot-on spoofs utilizing textbook slapstick – most notably the digs at Sinister’s found footage and the moth infested room from The Possession. Otherwise, there’s a lot of demonic activity being joked around with but nothing necessarily going anywhere.
A comedy as dopey as this needs an anchor to tie it down to stop it from being too aimless. If the Haunted House team decide to go back for thirds, they need to find that film that’s going to provide enough framework and then stem off of it with little jabs that poke fun at other movies.
As it stands though, A Haunted House 2 is a step backwards for this series. It’s all over the place. But, when the film is in its proper juvenile element, it can pull off good unintelligible laughs – which is exactly what it’s going for.