More often than not, horror-comedies lack balance. They tend to focus too much on one side over the other, and the subtle entries of the opposing genre feel distractingly out of place. If The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 had fallen victim to this, perhaps parts of it could have been salvageable. Unfortunately for director Deon Taylor, the film is just a skeleton of the horror-comedy it strives to be, with no scares and no laughs to make it worthwhile.
Following the events of its 2016 predecessor, The Purge spoof Meet the Blacks, the sequel once again follows Carl Black (Epps) and his family. With his first book release having failed, Carl's career has become as fragile as his home life. To top it all off, suspicious new neighbors move in next door, and it doesn’t take long for Carl, with the help of his overly-involved cousin (Duval), to realize they are vampires on a quest to take away his wife. Oh, how far we have strayed from the Purge ...
Where the first film found roots in being a horror spoof, this new narrative brings nothing but disorganization. The plot lacks fluidity in each turn and the outstandingly poor visual effects make it feel like a YouTube parody unworthy of bringing even fans of the genre out to theatres again. The pacing is nonexistent, and the vulgar and offensive jokes are far too present. Quick wit from the characters offers entertaining dialogue every now and then, but any laughs are likely to be cut short with the shocking and distracting number of continuity errors (several scenes are pieced together with multiple cuts of the same exact shot).
Any potential is lost within the time the film spends bleeding out cheap cliches. There are no underlying takeaways or inspiring messages to ponder upon its conclusion. Every so often, miniscule strands of real-world depth break through the mess – Carl’s financial decline and struggle finding success, the familial dynamic of an estranged couple and their unreachable children – but these subplots remain shallow enough to bring more eye rolls than empathy.
Endless errors aside, The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 might bring forth a laugh or two and that’s about it. The moment the material sits long enough to settle, it becomes a horror-comedy casualty with little-to-nothing making it worth the 90 minute mayhem.
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