'Haunted House 2' is too much of a bad thing
Imagine a Venn diagram charting three qualities: Silly, gross and dumb. At the point where they overlap you will find the fright film spoof “A Haunted House 2,” a scattershot, anything-goes affair that's unapologetically stupid. Proudly stupid. Aggressively stupid.
The film is writer/star Marlon Wayans' take on suburban ghost stories. Putting himself at the center of that usually lily-white genre gives him a target-rich environment for broad, politically incorrect satire. The first entry in the series gave Wayans' upwardly mobile new homeowner a head-spinning freakshow of a girlfriend (we've all been there, right, guys?). Those demons banished, he takes another shot at suburban life with his new girlfriend (Jaime Pressly) and her two teenagers.
Once again, the road to settling down and relationship building is strewn with supernatural stumbling blocks. Wayans is repeatedly hypnotized by a chalk-faced, creepy-eyed antique doll whose erotic magic sends him into a mating frenzy, typically when Pressly or her kids are approaching the bedroom door.
The star's gymnastic, flesh-baring humping and randy pillow talk is funny at first. It's not the kind of joke that improves with repetition, though.
To the limited degree that the film works, it's thanks to the all-in commitment of the cast. In a Santeria blood-sacrifice ritual, Wayans has to catch, pummel and slaughter a chicken that turns out to be remarkably uncooperative and tough. The scene is a master class in physically punishing over-the-top slapstick.
Pressly is winning as Wayans' oblivious, cougarish new squeeze. Gabriel Iglesias provides good-humored ethnic awkwardness as Wayans' Hispanic neighbor, and Cedric the Entertainer returns as a serenely sinful exorcist.
The film parodies a lot of movies that deserve it (its basic framework comes from the “Paranormal Activity” series, the doll from “The Conjuring”) and one or two that deserve better (the sublimely scary “Sinister” gets a thorough drubbing, turning its occult killer into an accident-prone klutz). The script is lazy, recycling countless genre cliches rather than inventing novel twists.
But, at least in one way, “A Haunted House 2” improves on the first entry in the series. That film had a long, gratuitous shot of Nick Swardson's bare rump, a horror that the sequel spares us.
Colin Covert is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- DVD reviews: ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie,’ ‘No Escape’ and ‘American Ultra’
- Holidays offer the gift of plenty of new films
- Review: ‘Trumbo’ a breezy, bright tribute to civil liberties
- Review: ‘Brooklyn’ is one of the year’s best
- Review: ‘Creed’ is best Rocky movie since ‘Rocky’
- Review: Katniss’ saga comes to a fairly satisfying end
- Review: ‘The Night Before’ is an instant Christmas classic: naughty, but nice
- Review: ‘Difret’ clashes ancient ideas with modern freedoms
- Review: ‘Secret in Their Eyes’ doesn’t live up to original
- Review: ‘Spotlight’ illuminates a dogged path to truth
- ‘Hunger Games’ director aims to please fans