Happy Thanksgiving, Here’s Your Turkey — “See No Evil 2” (2014)

Directed by Jen & Sylvia Soska

Synopsis
It’s morgue attendant Amy’s (Danielle Harris, Hatchet 2 & 3) birthday, but her and her co-worker Seth, who carry flames for each other, are stuck preparing a rush of bodies, specifically the victims from the first movie. Reports of a massacre, carried out by the “God’s Hand Killer”, so called by the press because of religious imagery and quotes and what-not found at the scene of his killing spree, play from their boss’ laptop, but nobody pays much attention.

Cut to the back of an ambulance. Paramedics are fighting to revive that killer, Jacob Goodnight (chokeslamming wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs). One of them asks out loud what they’re all thinking, “Do we really want to save this guy?” And then, the sight of an EKG machine flatlining.

Meanwhile, Amy’s friends and protective cock of a brother have dropped in to surprise her back at the morgue. Cock Brother makes it a point to get Seth alone for a minute to tell him something like, “Dude-bro, my sister likes you. Fuck off. She deserves better than a guy who plays with dead bodies.” What a prick, am I right?

By this point, Goodnight’s corpse has been checked in to the morgue. Two of the partygoers, a couple, sneak off to the room that it’s taken to. “You know his mother… was this weird, fundamentalist, religious nut. Was all obsessed with, like, sin, and punishment.” the girl (Katharine Isabelle) explains to her beau, seductively straddling Goodnight’s soon to be not-so-lifeless body. “[His mother] used to keep him in a cage, and, like, ceremoniously torture him.” she elaborates.

See No Evil Two 2

Turned on by the danger and morbid details, they bang. If gettin’ your hump on in public is thrilling, humping five feet from a serial killer’s still-warm cadaver must be the ultimate rush. As our distracted thrill seekers supply this slasher’s quotient of (lamely, clothed) screwing atop a gurney, Goodnight springs back to life a la Jason in Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, cuts the power to the building, throws a clear plastic mask and a medical apron on (for no real reason other than looking like a badass, I guess) and goes to town on these kids with everything from his bare hands to a bone saw to a big hook on a chain, like he used in the first movie (this hook would also feature in Kane’s wrestling feud with The Great Khali from 2007, but good God, we don’t talk about that). Who will survive the night?

Review (SPOILERS)
My memory of the first See No Evil is hazy. I remember it being ok, a bit clichéd, nothing extraordinary, but also liking it well enough for what it was, a throwback to the slasher genre.

That said, this sequel is even more clichéd. Now, there must be laws to protect the privacy of the dead, cos all these characters lock their cell phones up in a safe at the start of the movie. Of course, this comes back to bite them in a big way. Without cell phones, and without power to the landlines, they’re unable to call for help when the killing starts. I get that. What I don’t get is why they don’t get the Hell out of the morgue!

While running from Goodnight, these characters pass several exits, but nobody thinks to use them. I don’t remember any mentions of the morgue entering “lock down” mode, or Goodnight chaining its doors up from the outside, so, what’s the deal? Why aren’t we barreling screaming through these exits?

To make matters worse, Goodnight is unreasonably familiar with the morgue’s layout, heading these kids off at every turn, without ever breaking from his slow, methodical pace, like a Jason or Michael Myers. Somehow, he’s everywhere at once.

Now, these characters aren’t very likable, so it’s fun to see them get knocked off, to an extent. Reviewers have praised Katharine Isabelle’s performance as the girl with the death kink, but I found her annoying. I’ve enjoyed her in other movies, like Ginger Snaps. Not here. Danielle Harris handles her chores ok as the little pixie girl turned militant, take-charge survivalist we’ve seen her and countless others portray in the past. Hey, it gets the job done.

Here, Kane uses what brought him to the dance — his power, size, imposing look, and body language — effectively. But his credibility suffers every time he barks out a rubbish line of dialogue. Thankfully, his character never says too terribly much, cos when he does, it’s not Tarantino or Mamet. “Why would God help you?” he asks of a girl he’s just victimized. “Then, trembling with anger, he points an accusing finger, “You’re a dirty whore!” Ok, so his mom abused him. Now he thinks all women are whores. Got it. The rest of the movie is so clichéd already, we’re probably better off just tossing the played-out backstory and weak dialogue altogether and having him silently hack away at these characters than trying to humanize him.

See No Evil Two 1

See No Evil 2 sports its fair share of the red, but isn’t as violent as I thought it would be. Most of its kills involve choking and neck breaking. In fact, the best gore shots you’ll see are flashbacks from the first movie. There’s an eye roller of a moment when two characters duck into a room to cauterize a shoulder wound one suffered from an electric carving saw. “If I don’t do this, you’ll bleed out.” the other gravely warns. The stain on the guy’s shirt is maybe 6″ by 6″. Calm down, I think he’ll be fine.

Without giving too much away, the survivor’s final one-liner is lazy, Goodnight’s grand send-off echoes the Tall Man’s in Phantasm II, down to its ocular gushings, and the stinger tacked on to the end overstays its welcome, a total overreach. The only thing this finale does well is set up for another sequel. That said, See No Evil 2 has its moments and didn’t leave me with as bad a taste in my mouth as the last WWE Studios film I reviewed, Leprechaun: Origins, did.

A Few Questions
•Really, why didn’t they leave?
•Who else was waiting for a chokeslam, or a tombstone piledriver?

The Verdict
Give it a watch if you liked the first movie. I’ll give it 2, maybe 2½, Gorilla Press Slams into bookcases out of 5, and that’s probably being generous.

Gobbledy Gooker Approved

Recommendations
The See No Evil series has been WWE’s attempt to create an iconic, marketable slasher villain. Here are some other recent attempts to do the same:

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Hatchet (2006)
Midnight Movie (2008)
Laid to Rest (2009)

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4 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving, Here’s Your Turkey — “See No Evil 2” (2014)”

  1. Nice Review, i thought this one tried to respect too many original slashers with its lack of gore and was far better than the first one which was too all over the place,
    the other ones you mention Hatchet has embraced the idea of blood, gore which the modern slahser is all about. showing this was a change of pace for horror today

    Like

    • Fair enough. From what I remember of the first movie, I liked that one better. It’s been years, though. I’d have to revisit it. You’re right, mainstream horror films have gotten a lot more gratuitous with their violence over the years. I don’t necessarily care either way, as long as I’m entertained. Thanks for the comment! Feel free to come back and add to the conversation any time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched the first one recently and actually really enjoyed it. To me it played like a lost Elm Street sequel from the 80s. So I am pretty keen for this and people seem to think the Soskas are pretty good directors. I have American Mary sitting by my TV but haven’t actually seen any of their stuff yet. Bummer you didn’t like this one much though.

    Like

    • Yeah, I remember the first movie in a positive light. That’s an interesting comparison. I think the generally well-received original and the buzz surrounding the Soskas from American Mary made people expect more from this. It’s not terrible. I was pretty disappointed by it, though. Don’t write it off, you may enjoy it or have some fun with it.

      Like

two cents here

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