Movie Review: See No Evil 2

See No Evil 2There are some people who were just born to play villains in horror movies. Professional brother Clint Howard is one of them. And professional wrestler Glenn Jacobs is another.

After portraying spooky characters in the wrestling business throughout his lengthy career, including an evil dentist, a Christmas monster and burn victim Kane, Jacobs finally became that horror villain in 2006’s See No Evil, a WWE-produced slasher film that introduced the world to Jacob Goodnight.

Eight years later comes the just released sequel, which picks up directly where the first film left off. Directed by twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska, See No Evil 2 takes place in the city morgue, where Goodnight’s body is brought after the hotel massacre.

Naturally, he soon rises from his slumber, and goes on another killing spree.

The cast of characters in this one includes morgue employees Amy (Danielle Harris) and Seth, along with a handful of Amy’s friends. It’s her birthday, you see, and since the pile of bodies from the first film has ensured that she’s working overtime, her friends have brought the party to her. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

If there’s a strong suit to See No Evil 2, it’s that it’s much more competently shot than the first film, thanks to the skills of the new directing duo that WWE brought in. With a few movies already under their belt, the ‘Twisted Twins’ (American Mary) know a thing or two about making horror movies, whereas See No Evil‘s director was coming off a string of pornos.

One of the most glaring problems with See No Evil was the hyper editing, the film clearly a product of the post-Saw way of making horror movies. The quick cuts made it a nauseating watch, and though See No Evil 2 replaces all that nonsense with an endless array of hallway shots, it’s all around a much better film, from a directorial standpoint.

While See No Evil 2 fixes a problem from the first film, it also unfortunately takes away the best part about Goodnight’s arrival on the horror scene: the gore. See No Evil was a particularly brutal slasher flick with a handful of cool kills, and all of that stuff has mostly – with the exception of one memorable moment – been replaced in the sequel with off-screen deaths and generally unsatisfying kill scenes.

When See No Evil was made, WWE was a different company than it is nowadays, as recent years have seen the ushering in of the family-friendly ‘PG Era.’ I can’t help but wonder if that played a part in the sequel’s violence being lessened, as it’s notably less gruesome than the first one. It’s a shame, because a slasher film without cool kills just isn’t very entertaining, and See No Evil 2 is an unfortunate example of that.

On the plus side, American Mary‘s Katharine Isabelle does a commendable job bringing some entertainment to the proceedings, hamming it up to the tenth degree for her portrayal of death-obsessed Tamara. The influence of the Soskas is most felt whenever Isabelle is on screen, and the movie at its best when she is. It’s almost like she’s in a different movie than all the other actors – a much more entertaining one – and her performance is the only real joy of the film.

As for Jacob Goodnight, very little is done to progress the character, and in fact he comes off as less menacing than he was in the first film. Only in one brief scene does the script shed any semblance of additional light on what’s going on in Goodnight’s head, and the only real addition to the character is a mask. I guess he needed one of those, so it was nice to see him acquire one. Also good to see Jacobs in a mask again, as he’s been without one on WWE programming for far too long.

All in all, See No Evil 2 is an inferior sequel to a moderately entertaining slasher film, and there’s really just not much to see here. There’s nothing notably bad about the movie, but it’s just plain dull, which I have to mostly blame on the generic script. It seems clear to me that the Soskas’ hands were tied on this one, and as a result their latest effort isn’t nearly as entertaining as things they’ve done in the past.

Danielle Harris is still totally adorable though, for what that’s worth.

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