Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, February 23, 2015

See No Evil 2 (2014)

Directed by:
Jen Soska
Sylvia Soska

Set the night after the events of the original, this finds morgue attendants Amy (Danielle Harris) and Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen), along with crippled security guard Holden (Michael Eklund), working the graveyard shift when the victims from the original bloodbath are brought in. Strangely, no cops ever show up and, considering the magnitude of what's happened and how many bodies are being hauled in, that's not only a highly-unlikely but downright preposterous way to ensure the protagonists are all alone. Among the corpses is Jacob Goodnight (pro wrestler Glenn 'Kane' Jacobs), the hulking "7 foot" psycho who killed nine people due to his religious-fanatic mother's abuse before he was temporarily put out of commission. Jacob doesn't waste any time miraculously springing to life on the slab; no explanation necessary. He has flashbacks to killing his mama, finds a mask and smock and then hacks his way through half a dozen useless characters. After all, if you were a psycho, wouldn't you also want to lash out at innocent people after getting a metal pipe stuck through your eyeball / brain, falling multiple stories through a glass roof, crushing your rib cage, puncturing your heart and then having a dog urinate in the empty eye socket of your dead corpse? I know I sure would.

Since the three morgue employees aren't nearly enough fodder for just one slasher flick, a few of Amy's friends decide to bring the party to her. First off, there's Tamara (Katharine Isabelle), an annoying kooky pervert who gets turned on by dead bodies and coerces her boyfriend (Lee Majdoub) into getting busy next to Jacob's corpse. And then there's Amy's sullen brother Will (Greyston Holt), who disapproves of his sister's line of work, disapproves of his sister's taste in men and basically has some kind of odd obsessive / controlling incestuous fixation on his sis that makes him act more like a creepy ex-boyfriend than a brother. Rounding out the group is Kayla (Chelan Simmons), a flighty blonde who has an unrequited crush on Will. Seeing how Will is infatuated with his own sister, she knows just the right moment to make her move... when he admits she's "like a sister" to him. Ick. None of that really matters since characterization is pretty much nil beyond what I've just written. Though most of the actors do OK with what they have to work with, you still don't care one way or another about any of these people.

The biggest problem with this film is not that it's poorly made per se but that it's completely routine and thus utterly forgettable. Just a few days after watching it, I could barely remember enough to even write a couple of paragraphs about it. A by-the-numbers slasher like this needs to have at least a memorable kill or two, or bring a fresh perspective to the long-played-out formula, and this has neither. It looks pretty much like every other medium-budget film coming down the pike these days, the direction is unimaginative and anonymous, the script is basic and generic, there's not that much blood or gore, there's barely any humor and there's no real suspense, let alone scares. It's just a bunch of unlikable characters running around in dimly-lit stairwells and through hallways for 73 minutes, including several who seem to have no clue how to even leave the building they work in. And I certainly don't buy that the killer managed to chain up every single door and window in this huge building! I'm also not quite sure where he managed to snag miles of heavy-duty steel chain in a mortuary either, nor how he had time to string them everywhere whilst simultaneously stalking and killing the cast, and even quietly hiding out in a room until someone just happens to come in.

After their entertaining previous effort, American Mary (2012), this is sadly a major step back for the Soska sisters. Female horror directors are certainly uncommon, let alone female horror directors who also happen to be twin sisters, but just because these particular filmmakers are women, have a memorable gimmick and take lots of cutesy photos together spattered in blood doesn't mean their films should be graded on a curve. This movie simply isn't very good. And as much as I loved Isabelle in Ginger Snaps and the aforementioned Mary, it pains me to say she comes off really bad in this one. I'm sure she probably sensed how bland the movie was and decided to try to spice things up by going over-the-top but she just comes off as desperate and amateurish in the process. The killer (a mortal man in the first film but suddenly an immortal killing machine in this one) is done entirely in the Jason mold. He's not just immortal, but he also appears to be psychic since he knows just what bathroom one of the ladies is going to try to hide in, just what car the sole survivor owns and will try to use to escape and so forth.

Like the first film, this was a WWE Studios production. They also recently gave us the decent Oculus (2013) and the I-doubt-I'm-ever-gonna-watch-this Leprechaun: Origins (2014), plus threw some more money at the Soska's to make the upcoming action movie Vendetta.



CavedogRob said...

I can't believe there was a sequel! Well, maybe it's not too hard to believe!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Kind of a random sequel to a movie that wasn't some huge hit or anything. The sad thing is that as corny and routine as the first one was, it was STILL better than this one because it was at least entertainingly stupid. This one's just bland.

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