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A Haunted House 2 (2014)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/12/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/13/2014
In 2000, Keenen Ivory Wayans helmed a spoof ofScream entitled Scary Movie and he cast his brothers, Sean Wayans and Marlon Wayans in the movie. This same group came back with Scary Movie 2 the following year. The movies were successes, with the first one grossing over $150 million and the second over $70 million. However, when Scary Movie 3 appeared in 2003, the Wayans were not involved. They clearly had a hankering to get back into the horror spoof business, as A Haunted House starring and co-written by Marlon Wayans arrived in 2013. That movie was enough of a success for A Haunted House 2 to be rushed into theaters. Is it a good thing that one of the Wayans has returned to this well?
A Haunted House 2 opens a year after the events of the first film. Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) is now dating Megan (Jamie Pressly) and they have decided to move in together, along with Megan's kids, Becky (Ashley Rickards) and Wyatt (Steele Stebbins). Not long after they move in, strange things begin to happen. A strange doll seems to be watching Malcolm. Wyatt has a new imaginary friend who apparently has a foul mouth. Becky becomes obsessed with an old box. Malcolm finds a box of old movies which show a monster killing people. Despite these odd events, only Malcolm sees a problem and Megan won't help him. So, Malcolm takes it upon himself to save his family.
Back in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker days of Airplane! and The Naked Gun, a spoof movie would typically tackle a genre and make passing references to specific films. Today, these movies simply take a popular film, or films, and directly ape those movies. They take wholesale scenes from the original movie and change one thing in an attempt to make it funny. Scary Movie started this trend and then super-hacks Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg built a career on it, cranking out cinematic disasters like Date Movie and Epic Movie.
A Haunted House 2 follows in the footsteps of these films, proving this can easily be the epitome of lowest common denominator comedy and that little thought (if any) goes into these films. A Haunted House 2 directly spoofs Paranormal Activity,The Conjuring, Sinister, and The Possession. Wayans and Co-writer Rick Alvarez lift moments directly from these movies and then add a quirky notion to them in the attempt to make them funny. This can be a small thing, such as a search for the moth problem created by the box from The Possession, or an incredibly odd thing, as when Malcolm falls in love with the doll from The Conjuring.
As noted above, Scary Movie started the trend of these movies which make fun of specific films. But, Scary Movie and its sequels would weave their own individual and unique story throughout the film to supplement the spoofs. Yes, this would merely serve as a backbone to the spoof material, but it would also supply its own laughs at times. We don't get this with A Haunted House 2. Basically, we get the principle set up that Malcolm has moved into a new house, and then after that the movie is simply one scene after another which mocks a hit movie. There really isn't anything else, and the whole thing comes off as feeling incredibly lazy. Most of the jokes here show little creativity and they just as easily could have come from a 12-year old boy. Another issue is that Wayans and Alvarez don't know their way around a joke. Many of the bits aren't funny and they just keep going on and on. The majority of the film is simply Marlon Wayans screaming, and this simply isn't funny. And don't get me started on Ray Ray (Affion Crockett), who may be the most annoying character ever to grace the movie screen.
The appeal of something like A Haunted House 2 is that the audience presumably has seen the movies being targeted, will recognize the specifics of the joke and find it funny. But, if you haven't seen one of the movies listed above, you will have no idea what is happening here. The movie focuses so hard on making fun of horror hits that it forgets to include nearly any other kinds of humor. The few other jokes which do work their way in are so crass, offensive, or obvious that they simply aren't funny. The only humorous thing in the film is the fact that instead of taking Malcolm's stories seriously, Megan takes them all personally. Otherwise, you'll be treated to a lot of Marlon Wayans screaming, a lot of Marlon Wayans nudity, and little, if any laughter. The movie's most meta scene is also it's saddest, when Malcolm belies the fact that the Wayans' are no longer involved in the Scary Movie franchise. Why? They've clearly got their own franchise to ruin.
A Haunted House 2 has no idea how to take advantage of truly funny situations on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials, save for those inherent in the "found footage" approach. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image shows an impressive amount of depth and the level of detail is good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. While this is a comedy, the approach is meant to mirror those of the movies being lampooned, so we get a nice array of stereo, surround, and bass effects here which depict the hauntings and demonic happenings. The effects are nicely detailed and there are several moments where the effects move seamlessly from the front the rear.
The A Haunted House 2 Blu-ray Disc contains only two extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Actor/Co-Writer/Producer Marlon Wayans, Director Michael Tiddes, and Co-Writer/Producer Rick Alvarez. The Disc offers twelve DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES which run about 18 minutes. We basically get more of the same here, but there are a couple of moments which lean towards clever. This does include references to Poltergeist which were cut. (Too "obscure" for the young audience?)
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long