HOLLYWOOD—When the 2013 spoof “A Haunted House” starring Marlon Wayans arrived in theaters it took audiences by surprise, so much so, the picture delivered major numbers at the box-office. Considering the spoof more than recouped its budget, it was only fitting that a sequel was in the works. So we have “A Haunted House 2.” The movie delivers some laughs, but nothing compared to the freshness of its predecessor.
Wayans returns as Malcolm Johnson, who previously did battle with evil spirits in the predecessor. This time around he has attempted to put his life back together, by ditching his ex Kisha (Essence Atkins) and moving onto Megan (Jamie Pressley) and her two children, Becky (Ashley Rickards) and Wyatt (Steele Stebbins). While the predecessor tackled the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, this picture takes on 2013’s thriller “The Conjuring.”
There are a few decent laughs at the expense of the creepy Abigail doll, but beyond that not much else happens. The sequel focuses way too much on spoofing what we’ve already seen on the screen in a comedic tone that doesn’t always deliver the punch line as one would expect. Wayans can only carry the picture so much with his comedic timing, and comedian Cedric the Entertainer fails to bring any additional spark to the movie which it needs.
What the audience is given is a group of characters, where all the craziness revolves around one character as they attempt to interact with him. The chemistry is not as strong as the first go around and the narrative doesn’t really take the audience anywhere that hasn’t been seen before in a comedy spoof.
We know the outcome, but even if that is the case, we expect some decent laughs to lead up to the climax. We really don’t get that here. We get quite a few stale pop culture references, not to mention an overload of stereotypical situations that may get a chuckle or two at most.
Time spent watching “A Haunted House 2” could be better spent doing something a bit more entertaining. Yes, it might only be 90 minutes, but that’s 90 minutes of wasteful time you’re unable to get back.
By LaDale Anderson