It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, which is exactly why I left A Haunted House 2 channeling my inner Michael Bluth while muttering, “I don’t know what I expected.” There was a small, microscopic bit of hope that optimistically motivated my legs to physically walk into my screening, but within mere repetitive minutes, I realized a maddening case of déjà vu was about to hit.
While Mike Flanagan’s newly released Oculus is about a mirror that reflects your inner demons, A Haunted House 2 provides a mirror image watch that’s doubly paralyzing based on the sheer audacity of so many recycled similarities – but honestly, this review won’t matter worth a damn. Everyone who saw A Haunted House and made it financially successful will flood theatrical screenings of its sequel and laugh incessantly just like last time, studios will enjoy fat pockets, and A Haunted House 3 will be greenlit. But hey, let’s exercise some futility, shall we?
Riffing off of a score of recent horror movies such as The Conjuring, Insidious, any Paranormal Activity, The Possession, The Devil Inside, The Last Exorcism 2 and Sinister, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) is ready to settle down with his new wife Megan (Jaime Pressly) and her children Becky (Ashley Rickards) and Wyatt (Steele Stebbins). Unfortunately for Malcolm’s new family, the demon who previously embodied Kisha (Essence Atkins) is now haunting Malcolm’s current house and all its inhabitants. Can Malcolm vanquish this evil once and for all with the help of a psychic couple who can communicate with the dead, a local gardener (Gabriel Iglesias), and Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer)?
Once again, not even a modicum of actual satirical comedy that plays with horror myths hides throughout a numbing script, as A Haunted House 2 inches even closer to being a complete Scary Movie clone. The only difference this time around is the inclusion of white family members for Malcolm to engage with on an interracially comedic level – which boils down to awkward white people debating whether to use the “N” word. Expanding upon simply utilizing black and white “comedy,” the introduction of Gabriel Iglesias’ character lets Marlon Wayans rocket through every Latino stereotype in the book, engaging in long-winded dialogues ripe with jokes that comedic cave men probably shared with dinosaurs.
Prevalent once again is a childish, immature, and head-scratching obsession with sexual jokes, somehow trumping the crusty sock that was A Haunted House. Repetition strikes again as Marlon Wayans runs the gamut of Kamasutra positions not only with Jaime Pressly, but also with an inanimate doll resembling Annabelle from The Conjuring. Kudos to Wayans for selling each “sultry” and ridiculous moment, but these sexual exploitations are one trick ponies considering we’ve seen the exact content replicated between Malcolm and Kisha in the last movie. Wayans goes for huge laughs when one of the fast-forwarded sequences flashes a glimpse of Pressly taking him from behind, but it’s an exact rip from A Haunted House if I remember correctly. Redundant, cheap, and overplayed – the word “effort” doesn’t even come to mind.
The sad truth about A Haunted House 2 is that not a single punch line can avoid some kind of perverted reference of sorts, be it flashing a phallus, peeing on something, the act of sex or creating obnoxiously in-your-face sexual innuendos – completely destroying the witty veil of said innuendo. Classless, crude, and blandly reliant on obscenities, most jokes are dead on arrival, and even when something funny arises involving an actual horror movie segment, a swift kick to the nuts brings us right back down into this 12 year old’s wet dream of a “comedy.” Audiences are just begging to see Marlon Wayans defecate on camera, especially when said shock poo tactics have been used in the original, aren’t they?!
The egregious repetition of A Haunted House material really remains as the silliest, most infuriating part of A Haunted House 2. Any joke that sparked even the slightest chuckle was re-purposed tenfold this time around, praying that repeat viewers will laugh even harder. Did you enjoy Malcolm’s dog dying last time? Well don’t worry, there are even more doggie deaths this time around! Couldn’t get enough sweaty, naked Marlon Wayans love-making? Don’t worry, he’ll stick his junk anywhere this time! Do you have a fetish based around watching people poop? Well not only do you get more shit-takes, but also a corn-covered metaphor as Marlon Wayans literally takes a shit on modern day horror! Get it?! A visual double entendre! Alas, you’d probably lose more brain cells slamming your head repeatedly in a refrigerator door.
There’s one defining line in A Haunted House 2 as Malcolm spoofs Sinister by writing in a journal, and through an audible thought bubble we hear “When are they they going to stop making Scary Movie sequels without the Wayans brothers? Those movies suck!” – or a slight variation. While I respect Wayans for the dig, because at least his performance trounces anything those Scary Movie hacks have pissed out (sans Leslie Nielsen – RIP), my laugh counter can still be illustrated by a single hand. One, two, three – that’s about it. I’ll admit, the Exorcist inspired reverse cowgirl sex shook me from a lifeless coma, and, I mean, I’m pretty sure something else made me laugh two more times, but based on overall quality, it’s hard to separate A Haunted House 2 from Scary Movie [insert whatever sequel they're on now].
What else can I say - A Haunted House 2 is EXACTLY the sequel you’d expect based on the original, which will either excite fans to unbelievable levels, or prove to spoof comedy fans that the genre is currently on life support (thanks to Dr. Jason Friedberg and his dastardly nurse Aaron Seltzer). Whenever there’s a leaky hole in this dam of a script, Marlon Wayans just attempts to shove his dick into it for a quick laugh – a mindless decision that inevitably ends up f#cking everyone, including a doll, into an unwatchable oblivion.