Synopsis:Having exorcised the demons of his ex, Malcolm is starting fresh with his new girlfriend and her two children. After moving into their dream home, however, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events.
Cast:Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Essence Atkins, Gabriel Iglesias, Missi Pyle, Ashley Rickards, Affion Crockett, Steele Stebbins, Rick Overton, Hayes MacArthur, Dave Sheridan, Cedric the Entertainer, Kurt Carley, Tom Virtue, Kym Whitley
Review:I am mostly sour on horror/comedies these days. Unless they really go out of their way to bring something new to the table. And blend together comedic elements that are fresh, new, and bold. "A Haunted House" as a franchise, didn't really do ANY of that the first time out. I don't blame the filmmakers really. See, "A Haunted House" is from the mind of one Marlon Wayans. And since The Wayans kind of split from the Dimension Films/Weinstein family, and left the "Scary Movie" franchise in their hands. They (Marlon mostly) went on to do their own thing. Er go, the "A Haunted House" franchise.
Which is exactly like the "Scary Movie" franchise in terms of "spoofdom" except Marlon is not playing Shorty anymore. And the film gives exposure to a new up and coming generation of actor/comedian types like Affion Crockett and Gabriel Iglesias. As opposed to just stocking its cast list with D-list celeb cameos. But these types of movies sell at the box office so, as long as they keep doing one and a half or twice over their budget in returns..... the studios will just keep cranking them out.
Although I have to admit the "A Haunted House 2" DVD/BluRay experience was FAR better than the first movie. In ANY setting. I thought "A Haunted House" was terrible to be honest. Part 2 though, carried some nice surprises. The sequel picks up where "A Haunted House" left off, in "Paranormal Activity" style. Malcolm's girlfriend Kisha is under demonic possession, and so he and Ray Ray (Crockett) are trying to get her to a doctor.
The possessed Kisha has other ideas though, and the end result winds up being a car crash. Which Malcolm and Ray Ray manage to flee from. With Kisha's fate left as a question mark. Er go, sometime later.... Malcolm has started fresh with a new girlfriend named Megan (Pressly). Him and her move into a new home with her son Wyatt (Stebbins) and her daughter Becky (Rickards). But soon, the house begins experiencing paranormal activity of the comedic variety. All of which seems to be centered around a strange doll.
While the trailers for "A Haunted House 2" may have made the film seem overdone and annoying, its game plan is actually quite clever. Marlon Wayans character Malcolm is kind of like the reverse stereotype of a horror movie character. Whereas most characters in horror films who make bad decisions, that lead to catastrophe happen to be almost always Caucasian... this films running gag is that Malcolm's bad decisions are what always end up leading to more disaster for him and everyone around him. In "A Haunted House 2", between him leaving "Demon-Kisha" to die, and having a late-night "rendevous" (the details are way grosser) with the aforementioned "mystery doll"... it sets in motion a chain of events which only make Malcolm and his new family's life that, much more difficult. To say the least!
The supporting cast this time comes in a bit stronger this time to alleviate those moments when Wayans character becomes too overbearing or obnoxious. And that, along with the terrific Dolby Digital Sound quality packed into the home disc release, are what make the sequel far more tolerable that its predecessor. Comedic vets like Missi Pyle, Cedric The Entertainer, and Jaime Pressly. Along with newcomer Gabriel Iglesias.... round out a pretty strong cast. Rickards, who most will recognize from MTV's "Awkward"... also does a good job from a comedic standpoint, in the film as Megan's stereotypically-angsty teenager daughter Becky. But Iglesias steals the show mostly as Malcolms Mexican-American neighbor Miguel. So along with all the horror-spoof humor of the "Paranormal Activity" films, and other supernatural horror releases such as "The Conjuring"... we also get some racial humor thrown in as well.
But not in a cheap, low-brow kind of way. Wayans and Iglesias manage to make these parts of the film GENUINELY FUNNY. Not just because of the dialogue, but also because of the terrific way the two actor/comedians play off of one another during many scenes they have together in the movie. They have great chemistry, and these segments act as a terrific companion piece to the films "horror inspired" humor which at times can get a bit dull and bland when they either run out of stuff to spoof, or take some jokes way too far. But that's a rareity this time around, as the "horror inspired" humor seems to be a lot sharper this time around. In particular, the best spots come involving Malcolm and the "possessed Annabelle knock off doll".... who end up developing a "stalker'esque" relationship. Complete with embarassing social media tie-ins and all.
As well as a scene around the middle of the movie where Becky's room is "swarmed", and Malcolm and Megan come under attack during the incident. The films conclusion gets a lukewarm grade from me. In that it should've ended when it ended. Instead, they tack on another scene to try and garner a few extra laughs from the viewer. It wasn't a terrible scene, but I felt it was forced and unnecessary in the big scheme of things. "A Haunted House 2" is a great release though, and those who didn't see it in cinemas might actually come to appreciate it more on DVD. I think this franchise fits better in that home release environment, where you're just looking for something modestly humorous and entertaining for an hour and a half. As opposed to the theatrical marketplace, where you're expecting MAJOR laughs and a bigger presentation.
OVERALL:Three out of Four Stars.