It would appear that 2013's most vexing question -- "What can we, as a nation, do to prevent A Haunted House 2 from happening?" -- has been definitively answered. Maybe it's just as well, since 2014 is seeing the release of two movies in the Paranormal Activity franchise, so why shouldn't its direct spoof series try to keep up? It may be a low bar, but Michael Tiddes's A Haunted House 2 is actually an improvement over its predecessor.
Though it's still a hodgepodge, it's a more finely-tuned hodgepodge, like Marlon Wayans and the producers were more selective when editing the down the hours of improvisation. Essence Atkins (the first film's bright spot) is sadly relegated to a cameo, and while Jaime Pressly tries her best as the new wife, she mostly makes you wish that Wayans had reunited with his old Scary Movie costar Anna Faris.
That said, A Haunted House 2's supporting cast is much stronger; Gabriel Iglesias mines laughs from predictable ethnic humor, and Rick Overton's Skyped-in role as a paranormal expert gets an actual character arc. And though he's not for all tastes, there's something admirable about Wayans's willingness to do anything for a laugh, often reminiscent of Jerry Lewis at his most frantic. That's a compliment, by the way.