It takes a special kind of talent to create a laughless persona, an obnoxious character so devoid of humour & humanity that every time you see him you feel nothing but complete revulsion. Malcolm, the protagonist of A Haunted House 2, is the absolute essence of this.
Played by an increasingly desperate Marlon Wayans, Malcolm is the very definition of audience repellent. After surviving the terribly unfunny events of A Haunted House, here he is again trying to survive not just another series of unexplained events but also another completely moronic screenplay.
Leaving behind his still possessed girlfriend, Kisha (Essence Atkins), after surviving a car crash with his annoying gangbanger cousin, Ray Ray (Affion Crockett), in the awful opening scene, Malcolm moves on a year later with Megan (Jamie Pressley) and her 2 kids from a previous relationship. One wonders what she sees in him.
When he’s not mocking her son Wyatt (Steele Stebbins) for being less than masculine (he has tea parties with an imaginary friend, for instance) and slut shaming her teen daughter Becky (Awkward’s sadly wasted Ashley Rickards), he’s having a strange affair with Abigail, an ugly looking children’s toy left behind by the previous owners of the home all of them have just moved into.
Abigail is obviously a goof on Annabelle, the doll from The Conjuring that also got its own spin-off movie. In one of the most disturbing scenes ever captured on film Malcolm fools around with it so intensely you question why he’s even bothering with Megan. He clearly needs professional help.
Following his remarkable stupidity and complete lack of impulse control, Abigail bizarrely starts sexting him. She also keeps sending him the exact same message over and over again: “Miss me?” In a panic, he continually tries to get rid of the damn thing but no matter what method he uses, she always comes back. Delightful couple.
Also left behind by the previous owners is a mysterious box discovered by Becky in the basement, a take-off of The Possession. This leads to at least two terrible scenes involving vagina jokes. It also leads to the inevitable moment where a swarm of insects invade her bedroom & Malcolm takes a while to figure out how to kill them all.
Meanwhile, he discovers some old home movies in the attic. After finally figuring out how to load one in his projector (yes, he’s that stupid), he watches an inept demon fail to kill off a family on more than one occasion. A transparently lame parody of Sinister, for some odd reason Malcolm seeks answers about this obviously harmless demon. He repeatedly Skypes with an expert (Rick Overton), a college professor who would much rather be Walter White. He’s just as disgusting a human being as Malcolm.
Speaking of disgusting, what is with all the misogyny in this movie? Becky, the teen daughter, is constantly mocked for liking a lot of sex with multiple partners. Her mother Megan, also highly sexual, is a controlling shrew. Malcolm’s ex, Kisha, is, of course, a psycho. And even, Abigail, the toy, is portrayed as an obsessed, vengeful sex maniac unable to let go of her fixation with Malcolm.
Add to that the constant use of the word “bitch”, horrible rape jokes (not including one set in a male prison & others referring to pedophilic priests), inappropriate touching (thankfully not seen) & an actual defense of Chris Brown, and you have one of the most hateful films about women ever made.
Then there’s the racial material. Babyfaced comedian Gabriel Iglesias plays a next door neighbour who pretends to be upset every time Malcolm makes a stereotypical presumption about him, even though every last one of them turns out to be correct. In turn, Iglesias makes one racist crack after another about his black heritage and yet, Malcolm still wants to hang out with him. Both must be really hard up for friends.
A Haunted House 2 is put together very much like the first one, as a Paranormal Activity-style “found footage” horror parody. And like its predecessor, it’s a terrible movie. I laughed exactly twice. Cedric The Entertainer, who plays the returning priest Father Williams (he was funnier in the original which had slightly more laughs), got me with his dig at Bruce Jenner’s scary face. Plus, there’s another funny line near the end that involves a famous room freshener.
Beyond that, there’s nothing else here but a whole lot of gross offensiveness. Don’t waste 86 minutes of your life on this garbage. You have better things to do.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, November 16, 2014