The spoof genre seems to be one that keeps churning out films the majority of them just do not work. When the Wayans brought Scary Movie to audiences it looked to rejuvenate the genre but while the second in the franchise delivered some laughs the following 3 just did not work. It seemed as though it was dying again, but Marlon Wayans branched out on his own with 2013s A Haunted House that met with mixed reviews, but delivered more often than not. Not surprisingly the success of the first film opened the door for the sequel aptly titled A Haunted House 2, but does it bring the clever comedy scares to the screen or will it kick off the downfall of yet another franchise?
A Haunted House 2 follows Malcolm, who starts a new after he loses his girlfriend Kisha in a car accident, with his new significant other Megan. When things begin to get back into their paranormal ways, targeting both the children and the property, things complicate even more when his back-to-life Kisha moves into the neighborhood. This latest entry brings both new and old cast members back including Jaime Pressly, Essence Atkins, Gabriel Iglesias, Missi Pyle, Cedric the Entertainer, Rick Overton, and Hayes MacArthur as well as the obvious inclusion of Wayans. The first film felt fresh and fun even if it didn’t resonate with everyone, but this one felt more forced than anything. There are some fun moments including a spoof on the films in Sinister and a disturbing relationship between Wayans and a possessed doll similar to the one in The Conjuring, but beyond that it just falls flat. There is no real cohesive story here as it is all over the place trying to bring the funny, but instead just seems like one big cash grab. What is most irritating about the whole thing is that speaking with Wayans during the press tour to this film he seemed pretty passionate about it, but it just doesn’t come across in the finished product. He is pretty funny as a whole and continues to give his all to the performance, but he is surrounded by people that just don’t fit or have good enough material to play off of. There are so many missed opportunities here that it is a real shame as handled a bit differently and fleshed out a bit more could have made for an excellent spoof sequel, but the rush to production looks to have hurt the finished product.
What’s great about this genre is that it grabs everyone differently so there are likely some that will love it and others will hate it. The spoof genre is a dying art form that Marlon Wayans clearly loves and has a flair for so hopefully this misstep doesn’t deter him from keeping it alive. If you love these types of films then check it out for yourself, but might be best to wait until it hits video just in case.