“The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2”

It’s easy to tell when a sequel is unwanted and ill-advised because the studio will quietly drop it in theaters at unusual times. This is why we have “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,” a Halloween-themed movie that’s been released in the middle of June. It would have made much more sense to put this out in October, because the seasonal theme is one of the few positives about this silly, mostly unfunny film.

After surviving a terror-filled night on the West Coast, struggling author Carl Black (Mike Epps) packs up his family and heads back to his childhood home in the Chicago suburbs in search of peace and quiet. Everything is going well until a mysterious eccentric named Doctor Mamuwalde (Katt Williams) moves in next door, and strange things begin to happen in the neighborhood. Carl convinces himself that the man is a vampire who wants to harm his family, and he teams up with his crackpot neighbors to fight the evil demon.

It’s a silly premise that has so much potential, but it’s mostly squandered here. Your enjoyment of this film will mostly come down to one thing, and one thing only: your tolerance for Epps’ shtick. If you think he’s funny and enjoy his delivery, you’ll be predisposed to like this film more than most. There’s some funny banter between Carl and his gang of idiots (including Lil Duval and Danny Trejo), and I have to give a major shout-out to the screenwriter for including a one-liner that references “Pootie Tang,” because that’s one of the most memorable parts of the movie.

I guess this is an okay movie to have playing in the background at your next Halloween party, since it doesn’t demand your full attention. It’s amusing enough, but mostly due to Epps being Epps. Pound for pound, it’s Michael Blackson who delivers the most laughs as the crackpot, bargain basement television exorcist Mr. Wooky.

Of course, the question that’s still running through my mind when I think of “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” is why did the world need this sequel? Somebody felt like we did, and now it’s out there in the universe, fading away into obscurity.

By: Louisa Moore

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