A group of friends pays a late-night visit to the city morgue to surprise Amy (Harris) on her birthday. But the surprise is on them when the one-eyed corpse of brutal psychopath Jacob Goodnight (Jacobs) unexpectedly rises from a cold sub-basement slab. Their wild party quickly turns into a terrifying slay-fest as the sadistic mass-murderer resumes his savage rampage complete with hooks, surgical knives and power saws.
See No Evil, released by the dreaded WWE Studios was shown to the world back in 2006 that boasted an intimidating villain and some interesting kills, but all-in-all it was a major shambles that not even Lionsgate could save. When word got out about an upcoming sequel years after the first, despite it not even making a dent in the box office we were all a little surprised, but excitement well and truly started to kick in once the Soska Sisters became attached. It was a film that was disliked by virtually everyone, and considering it was only horror fans that chose to indulge in it that's a big problem.
The Soska Sisters See No Evil 2 is a completely different gravy, for both better and for worse - Luckily however a talented team are behind this one, which is more than I can say for the 2006 tragedy. Sequels to an already drab movie is never a good idea as it only encourages an already crap premise to fester into something even worse. Thanks to a fresh pair of eyes it doesn't explore that root, and instead, what was a lifeless narrative has now been transformed into something surprisingly half decent given the circumstances and it being a sequel to a shit slasher that stars a WWE wrestler.
See No Evil 2 is far from the perfect slasher, in fact it is everything but that; but then again, everything has its faults, it just happens that See No Evil 2 have some more than others. In saying this, there is no denying the Soska twins made a vast improvement over its proceeder, all thanks to some craft and a strong understanding of the genre. It is clear that both Jen and Sylvia haven't handled this slasher sub-genre and a sequel at that, and it's the silly conventions that give it away, but the pair did a decent job at trying to one-up the original whilst never forgetting to honour it which is something you should always do even if the first made for little competition. In other words, even though the Soska twins haven't exactly grasped just what it is the makes a slasher "different", they still have a good eye for what makes one enjoyable and thankfully, one that's fun, and for me that's enough to make me like it.
Given the situation, See No Evil 2 doesn't express its need for gore like it should, like the sub-genre has been doing for years. Clearly this is a directorial decision in order to highlight the suspense (or maybe this is gory but i'm too used to excessive gore?), but this brave decision only works when the tension is taut and intimidating, and unfortunately See No Evil 2 is neither, and instead is palpable and lackluster. Partly due to the unusual dubstep-esque score and the cliche set-up, both crippling this sequel from becoming something more and preventing it from becoming forgettable regardless of its perks. We never actually see much violence, and aside from one neck-splitting moment that was both gross and shocking, it never really out-do's itself from then on in. After a fascinating and strong first hour, it delves into repetitive territory that feels both derived and unnecessary - this is broken up however by one shocking moment that proves to be one of the films strongest moments. My question is, how does Jacob Goodnight know his way around a three-floor building he has never been in before? Not one of the films silliest moments...
The cast are average, but it is Harris and Isabelle who undeniably shine the brightest, especially due to Isabelle's hugely fun character that breaks the film up from being too self-serious to being the right amount of fun and furious. Both her and Harris' characters are fascinating and drive the narrative enough to stop the film from boasting a cast full of cardboard cut-outs which wouldn't have been a surprise. Eriksen comes into his own during the final half, sporting a fresh approach that the slasher sub-genre hasn't seen in quiet some while. In saying this, the characters aren't memorable in any sense, but at least the character cliches are tossed around a bit, stopping them from being utterly predictable and useless (which some of them are). Kane (Glenn Jacobs) proves to be quiet an interesting villain which is surprising considering how close his character treads to the Jason Vorhees character. He is still stuck down to all the horrible cliches villains go through such as the sense of being unkillable which is only enhanced by the hideously annoying cliff hanger ending that comes with 99.9% of horror movies. In Goodnight's defense, he is genuinely intimating and his new image is cool despite being a little familiar. What can I say, there are only a rare amount of ways to keep original and the best of films suffer from it, but See No Evil 2 isn't the best of films, but did we really expect it to be?
This Soska Sisters sequel is everything but great, but we haven't seen a good old fashioned by-the-numbers slasher like this in a while; you get what you are given, and what we were given was an entertaingly gory improvement over its original, boasted by an impressive Isabelle and Harris and some clever directions. Look at this way; it's a hell of a lot better than the first, and a slasher sequel better than the first is almost unheard of...
SEE NO EVIL 2
2014 / 82 mins / Slasher / R
Director: Jen and Sylvia Soska
Writers: Nathan Brookes, Bobby Lee Darby
Stars: Danielle Harris, Katherine Isabelle, Glenn "Kane" Jacobs, Kaj-Erick Eriksen