Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Michael Tiddes
Cast: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabriel Iglesias, Essence Atkins
I wasn’t insane about Marlon Wayans vehicle, A Haunted House. It was funny, about half of the time, flat the remaining half. But, I’m a big fan of the man’s work. Marlon Wayans, to put it as blunt as possible, is funny as shit. The guy cracks me up. I love his racially fueled comedy and fearlessness when writing. Marlon likes to insult everyone, black, white, brown, yellow, blue – the man doesn’t give a damn and it is insanely refreshing. Very rarely does he step away from the taboo comedy that’s made him famous, but from time to time he’ll sneak something different in the mix, stepping out of his wheelhouse. Flicks like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra or Requiem for a Dream can be enjoyable, but they aren’t Marlon’s forte. Characters like Malcolm in A Haunted House/2 are the kind of characters that Wayans needs to be embracing (he obviously knows this), and this specific sequel really hammers that point home.
I think Marlon went back and watched the first AHH flick and identified the weaknesses. Then he headed straight for the drawing board and patched up every detectable hole. A Haunted House 2 is raunchier, funnier and far more stimulating than its predecessor. Wayans goes over the top in a glorious way, constantly pushing the envelope, only to pull the reigns during supposed “serious” moments, and the pendulum swing is so extreme that both elements of the character’s personality really, really shine. He also plays extremely well off his onscreen counterparts. And the thing is, Marlon does have some good backup to fall on should he sputter in a scene. But he never needs that support. As humorous as Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias and Essence Atkins may be, this is truly a one man show.
I won’t get into the story. That’s a pointless endeavor. We know what these films are about: They’re satirical pieces. Outright spoofs of other popular genre films (in this case, Sinister, The Conjuring, The Possession and of course, Paranormal Activity – to name a few) that travel great lengths to remind us that sometimes these serious horror movies make for an open invitation to highlight their thinly veiled ridiculousness. That’s what the A Haunted House flicks are all about.
Stunned to the fullest, I absolutely loved a flick that I didn’t hold much hope for. But Marlon Wayans is a damn stud, and he erased any negative memory that may have been left lingering in the wake of the first franchise film. The sequel is just exponentially more successful in garnering genuine laughs. It’s a riotous romp that had me in stitches for 90 minutes, and I’ve got to extend major gratitude to Marlon Wayans and director Michael Tiddes who did a stellar job of producing a spoof of high quality. I doubt most critics will jump to praise the movie, because history tells us that, regardless of fan reception, pundits are prone to trash satirical pictures. That’s the name of the game, unfortunately it isn’t always a fitting name. A Haunted House 2 deserves big praise, plain and simple.