See No Evil 2 (2014)

Back in 2009, I took the time to watch and review See No Evil, for better or for worse, so when I heard there’d be a sequel, I was far from excited. When I discovered that it would be directed by the Soska sisters, who appear to be almost universally loved within the genre fandom, it assuaged some of my fears and I became quite eager to see what they’d do with the franchise.

Having hated Dead Hooker In A Trunk but having loved American Mary, it’s safe to say that I was mildly skeptical but having witnessed the progression between those two films, also vaguely confident that the Soska’s were up to the task of improving on the mythos of Jacob Goodnight. What I wasn’t expecting was a slasher that was so poorly characterised, badly acted and by-the-numbers, that it makes Texas Chainsaw 3D look revolutionary.

Beginning where See No Evil ended, but picking up with a group of morticians, awaiting the body of gargantuan serial murderer/Mummy’s boy Jacob Goodnight (played by WWE star Kane), See No Evil 2 does a decent job of initially making us engage with Danielle Harris‘s likable birthday girl Amy before quickly introducing us to her friends. They’re, at best, a lazy run-down of two dimensional charisma vacuums and at worst, a parade of insulting stereotypes.

Having to work late in the wake of Jacob Goodnight’s killing spree, it soon becomes apparent that Amy’s friends have conspired with her boss to bring her birthday party to her at work. Because who doesn’t want to get drunk and party among dead bodies? Glossing over the group’s absurdly lax attitude to being around the very recent victims of a notorious, possibly supernaturally aided, serial killer is one of the films main crimes. I doubt anyone watches a WWE film expecting innovation but the preposterously nonsensical plot borders on disrespectful to the audience at times and in the wake of the wonderfully OTT No-One Lives I expected more than this.

Katharine Isabelle, previously so wonderful in American Mary, is so inherently loathsome and bafflingly hysterical here that her role comes a little too close to parody for my liking. Aesthetically, she’s got all the makings of a tremendously successful scream queen, and lord knows, the girl can act when she wants to, but roles like this will do absolutely nothing for her credibility.

The only real standout here is Harris but at this point in her career, she’s become so used to this kind of role that she may well be phoning it in so well that the audience will fail to notice when compared to the other actors. Even Kane, hired predominantly for his bulk, shows more enthusiasm than most of the cast, and he simply spends most of the film lurching through hallways and scooping out eyeballs.

See No Evil 2‘s biggest sin is that it’s never obvious what the Soska’s were aiming for. It’s not scary enough to be an effective slasher, it’s not quite bloody enough to be a satisfying (but empty) gorefest and it’s completely devoid of humour to take the edge off. What promised to be a fun flick is actually a damp squib of a sequel, six years too late. Saving it’s only subversive moment for the anti-climactic ending does nothing to heighten what’s come before it either. The only real saving grace is that the Soska’s reduced their now infamous cameo’s to non-speaking roles as cadavers at the beginning.

Maybe I was spoiled by the near perfection of American Mary but I certainly expected more from the twins, and See No Evil 2 doesn’t deliver in any category. Avoid.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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