A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Haunted House 2 is the sequel to the Marlon Wayans' horror-spoof A Haunted House. It has nonstop sexual content, including tons of crude innuendo and some nudity (female breasts and a male bottom). There are also jokes about racism and bodily functions and even a brief joke about priests and little boys. Language is very strong, with constant use of the "N" word, "f--k," and "s--t." Some horror movie imagery is shown, with blood, fighting, dead bodies, and (fake) dead animals. Drinking and drugs are also an issue, with overt, jokey scenes of smoking pot, drinking, snorting cocaine, shooting heroin, taking pills, and making meth. A young boy is present during some of these scenes. The first movie made an attempt to focus on characters and relationships, but this sequel drops all that in favor of bad jokes and bad attempts at parody. And even though it's all played for humor, there's no escaping the fact that this movie is bursting with inappropriate content.
What's the story?
Following the events of A Haunted House, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) leaves his possessed girlfriend, Kisha, presuming her dead after a car crash. A year later, he moves in with his new girlfriend, Megan (Jaime Pressly), and her two kids. Her teen daughter becomes obsessed with an old box found in the basement, while the younger boy begins talking to an imaginary friend. A creepy doll starts occupying Malcolm's thoughts, as does a box of old films upstairs, which reveal a demon trying to kill the house's previous occupants. Now it seems a demon is on the loose again, and so ghost hunters Noreen (Missi Pyle) and Ned (Hayes MacArthur), as well as Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer), are called in. Will Malcolm make it to another sequel?
Is it any good?
While A Haunted House made a cursory attempt to get away from the pure spoofing of the Scary Movie series and concentrate more on characters, A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 simply abandons this idea. Instead, we're back to constant sex jokes, jokes about bodily functions and excrement, jokes about race, and a few other tasteless gags. The movie attempts to spoof recent hits The Conjuring, Insidious, Paranormal Activity 4, The Possession, and Sinister but mainly just copies certain scenes and adds in big, dumb doses of slapstick.
The last movie acknowledged the relationship between the couple as they learned to live together, and then Cedric the Entertainer came in and juiced up the third act with some improvised lines. Now Malcolm has quickly jumped into a new relationship, which isn't explored (except to make several "interracial" references), and Cedric's new scenes are far less fresh and not very funny. Mostly, the movie is seriously dumb and just a little depressing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of horror spoofs. Are they better than a straight horror film? How does the movie use images similar to those in horror movies but make them less scary?
How does A Haunted House 2 use stereotypes? Does it address them thoughtfully, or does it use stereotypes for laughs? Is that OK?
How is sex used in the movie? What's the intended effect? Does the movie ever discuss sex in a mature way?
How are drinking and drugs used in the movie? Are there any realistic consequences for substance use? What message does that send?
- In theaters: April 18, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: August 12, 2014
- Cast: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Cedric the Entertainer
- Director: Michael Tiddes
- Studio: Open Road Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violent images
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