See No Evil 2 (2014)
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Writer: Nathan Brookes, Bobby Lee Darby
Starring: Glenn “Kane” Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle
Eight years ago, WWE broke into the horror genre with the film See No Evil, a slasher film starring wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs. The film was about a group of prisoners put to work to clean up an abandoned hotel in exchange for reduced sentences. They are then stalked through the hotel by the undead Jacob Goodnight (Kane) and killed one by one until a few survivors manage to impale him through the eye and throw him out of a, rough estimate, 15 story window. Fun times. The movie itself was the textbook definition of “OK”. Certainly watchable, but not something that’s going to be on anyone’s top 5 (or 100).
Now we’re treated to a sequel. And by Cthulhu it stars my two favorite scream queens! Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 and 5, Hatchet 2 and 3) and Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary). And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s directed by the amazing Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia (American Mary). Honestly, with this much star talent, it could be a sequel to House of the Dead and I’d watch it. Luckily, it turned out better than that. I’d go so far as to say it even turned out better than the original!
The film starts in the aftermath of the first. Goodnight is carted to a morgue after being pronounced dead. There, Harris’ character works as a coroner with her romantic interest and boss. Turns out it’s her birthday and a bunch of her friends show up to throw her a surprise party. Hi, body count! Well, true to slasher form, Jacob is not as dead as he appears. Duh.
For one, I like the move into mainstream slasher territory with Jacob acquiring a mask. Love the look. Some of the kills are really well done too. And, of course, one of the big things I look for: prac fx. No CGI here, dear reader. Just silicone, latex, and stage blood in the right proportion utilized by people who know what they are doing and care about their craft.
Of note, with most slasher movies (hell, horror movies in general), I can often predict who’s going to live, who’s going to die, etc. But I have to hand it to the writers, this one actually threw me for a loop. Twice! Not going to say who, not going to say when or how, but the people I thought would live? Yeah, didn’t work out for them.
I also have got to hand it to Danielle and Katharine. This may very well be the best performances from the two gals I have yet seen! Which is really encouraging, because last time I saw Danielle was with her very lackluster performance in Hatchet III. Just didn’t look like she had her head in the game for that one. Katharine, on the other hand, continues her upslope after her role as Mary in the Soska’s last film, American Mary.
So, with all the praise, why 4 knives, not 5? Well, despite all of these positive accolades, the movie just… missed something. One of my friends put it this way “Jason Voorhees Jacob Goodnight ain’t”. And I agree. The film, especially in the mid section, just seems slightly uninspired.
Overall? I really liked the movie. I think it beats out the first one by a considerable margin. And I have the suspicion this isn’t the last we’ll see of Jacob Goodnight.
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