See No Evil 2 directly follows the events of the first See No Evil picture. Jacob Goodnight is taken to the city morgue where he subsequently rises from the dead and begins another killing spree. This time, his victims include a medical student working in the morgue (Danielle Harris) and a group of her friends that show up to surprise her for her birthday.
Jen and Sylvia Soska take the directorial reins on this second outing in the See No Evil franchise. And they do so with a level of confidence and enthusiasm that has me impressed and eager to see more from the directorial duo. I’ve been following their careers since their debut film, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, which is far from perfect but it impressed me in the sense that it was made for less than $3,000 and still managed to have the look and feel of a feature that cost much more than that to make. The duo is able to seemingly effortlessly do a lot with a little.
What sets See No Evil 2 apart from a lot of the other slasher pictures that have been flooding the market in recent years is that it features a likable cast and a plot line that doesn’t always abide by the rules to which we have become so accustomed over the years. Even though the characters are not particularly well developed, they are likable in spite of that and they serve a greater purpose than simply being there to add to the body count. Who will die and when is not always a given in this flick. It’s also plenty self referential. Katharine Isabelle has some great dialogue that is reminiscent of the voice of the audience. IE: “This is a terrible place to hide.”
I was pleased to see this film recognize that audiences are growing tired of torture cinema. We don’t see Kane going around and ripping character’s eyes out like we did in the first film. That was excessive, even when stopping to consider that the first film came out when that type of excessive violence was en vogue. The sequel takes a much more restrained approach to the carnage that occurs within. It is reminiscent of the slasher films of the ’80s with a healthy dose of 21st century self awareness thrown in for good measure.
The effects are primarily practical and they are nicely stylized. Most of the film unfolds in the dark and the stark contrast of crimson blood set to a dark background proved to be very effective.
While See No Evil 2 is nowhere near as profound a feminist statement as the Soska’s previous effort, American Mary, it still injects a level of female empowerment into its runtime. The female characters are strong and independent and don’t need a man to save them and there is no female nudity in the picture. Even though this flick is lighthearted popcorn entertainment, the sisters have still managed to put a measure of themselves into their latest effort.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out See No Evil 2, it hits VOD today and will be on DVD and Blu-ray beginning October 21st. I would definitely suggest checking this one out. It’s well worth the price of a rental and an improvement over the first.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Writer(s): Nathan Brookes, Bobby Lee Darby
Stars: Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Kaj Erik-Eriksen
Release: October 17, 2014 (VOD) October 21, 2014 (DVD and Blu-ray)
Studio/ Production Co: WWE, LionsGate
Length: 90 Minutes