Dave’s 3-Word Review:
If I remember correctly, the main reason I actually went to see the first A Haunted House was because of Marlon Wayans. Wayans, of course, was one of three brothers that brought us the horror parody franchise – Scary Movie. If any of the crap parodies out there remotely held a chance, it was that series, so I was hoping we’d have something special on our hands again. However, the first one proved to me that it took all three Wayans to give a parody a glimmer of hope, and just the one this time made the film absolute crap. So now we learn that it gets a sequel. Well, of course it does…why wouldn’t it? Was the sequel any better than the first? Technically, yes, I think it was.
Marlon Wayans returns to his role as Malcolm in this sequel, and this time he’s dating Megan (Jaime Pressly). It takes place sometime after the events of the first and he is met with another demon…or perhaps the same one? It comes once he and his new girlfriend get a house through old video reels, a creepy haunted box full of moths, an imaginary friend, and a doll named Abigail. They must find a way to stop this demon before it keeps multiplying in other horror film rip-offs.
The found-footage style was visited once again for the sequel, which is good, because that gives the franchise consistency – even though the technical aspects aren’t really taken that seriously. A phone’s video quality versus an actual HD handheld cam is much different, but the movie is indistinguishable. Not only that, but half the time, characters are holding their cameras and pointing them at the ground, yet they are steadily aimed at the other character in the next shot. Also, there are random characters that seem to be filming on their phones for absolutely no reason other than to explain to the audience how they got that shot. I think they wanted to expand the filming locations, and that was the only way they knew how to do it…seemed ridiculous…but hey, it’s a spoof comedy.
I also like to watch the movies and try to figure out what films they are spoofing. It bothers me that they choose so many, but at the same time, it’s fun to recognize the movies if you’ve seen them. From what I counted, they were ripping off of Paranormal Activity 4, Insidious, The Possession, The Conjuring, and Sinister. What’s cool about that is that – at this point, I haven’t seen a lot of spoofs on these specific movies, and I’ve actually seen all of them, so I could actually respect what they were going for. At the same time, you can’t enjoy the movie on its own without knowing the source material. That was something I think Scary Movie had the advantage of…but I won’t let it get to me.
In all seriousness, the choice of spoofs in this movie were better than the first, and the way that they interlocked the stories was better than the first as well. Not only that, but they got a better budget all around, so there are better actors that actually show up than the first, making it an all around better film. However, I still didn’t really laugh in the movie, and instead sat their wondering what in the world I was watching half the time. I also firmly believe that however good the choices of spoofs were, there were too many to tell a solid story. Instead, we’re left with a number of side plots that don’t really mesh together as seamlessly as they should.
Remember, in my opinion, a parody is a film making fun of an idea or genre in general, a spoof is taking someone else’s idea and making a mockery of it…which is why parodies are much better, and for the most part…extinct in film. They are the types of movies Leslie Nielson often took a part in, Naked Gun, or Airplane! for example…or even Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods. Those are parodies, and they are so rare nowadays that it’s a crying shame.
Marlon Wayans upped his game for A Haunted House 2, making sure to stick to only spoofs on current horror films that more people would recognize.
As much of a step in the right direction this film was, it still wasn’t funny, in my opinion. It tried way too hard to hit those physical and WTF comedic moments, and because of that – fell short on what would actually work.
The inside jokes about the Wayans and the Scary Movie franchise was the funniest two seconds in the entire movie.