Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Cedric the Entertainer, Rick Overton, Missi Pyle, Gabriel Iglesias, Essence Atkins
Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez
Open Road Films
There is, quite simply, no doubt that the individual members of the Wayans family are fully capable of being the first family of American comedy.
Why then do they so consistently refuse to perform at the top of their games and instead reduce themselves to such mindless money grabs as A Haunted House 2, an absolutely abysmal and lifeless film that manages to be even worse than the original film despite having a significantly superior cast and a far better group of horror flicks from 2013 to rip off?
Oh yeah, money. Silly me.
If you've only found yourself watching the trailer for A Haunted House 2, then you already know that the film radiates an aura of cheap production values and lazy humor. The set-up is essentially the same as the first film with Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) back with a different woman, Megan (Jaime Pressly), her daughter Becky (Ashley Rickards), and her son Wyatt (Steele Stebbins). It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the house move into is haunted (Gasp!) and that A Haunted House 2 riffs off of films such as The Conjuring, Sinister, The Possession, and even the Paranormal Activity films.
Cedric the Entertainer is back as the bawdy priest from the first film, while Hayes MacArthur and Missi Pyle show up as a pair of 70's attired exorcists, aka Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, and Gabriel Iglesias is here as a next door neighbor who spews forth just about every ethnic stereotype one can possibly imagine. Essence Atkins, Malcolm's woman from the first film, is here briefly but it's basically irrelevant anyway.
There are a couple of laughs to be found in A Haunted House 2, though given the history of these spoof films they aren't exactly unexpected. Still, they at least elicit laughs and save the film from its otherwise deserved "F" grade and zero star rating. I suppose director Michael Tiddes and co-writers Wayans and Rick Alvarez deserve at least a little bit of credit for not catering to the young adult crowd and actually committing to the film's fairly deserved "R" rating.
The only thing truly scary about A Haunted House 2 is that the film actually managed to get made.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic