Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In short: See No Evil 2 (2014)

I know it’s a bit unfair to try and compare Jen and Sylvia Soska’s film after the brilliant American Mary with the one that came before, seeing as it is the belated sequel nobody ever asked for in would-be slasher franchise the WWE tailor-made for Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (whoever he may be), but then, one might ask why waste talent and time on something like this?

The optimistic view would of course be: because you can probably do much more interesting things in a franchise nobody cares about than you could do with, say, Halloween. The optimists, it turns out, aren’t completely wrong, yet they aren’t completely right either. See No Evil 2 certainly is a better film than the first one, but then, so is Jason goes to New York. Seriously, though, as far as minor slashers go, the film is perfectly fine, with the Soskas showing a – after the film I’m not going to mention anymore not too surprising – great eye for making things look interesting. Even if their film takes place in the boring corridors that make up a morgue, at least it’s a morgue dominated by various beautiful lighting effects in actual colours, and while neither the sets nor what happens in them is particularly exciting (I mean, how often have we seen this exact same thing happening?), at least it is photographed well.

I also appreciated that at least Danielle Harris’s Amy and Kaj-Erik Eriksen’s Seth are better drawn than the usual final girl and boyfriend (or in this case, guy who doesn’t dare ask her out-friend), and their little love plot is actually much better observed than you usually get in a slasher. Alas, the rest of the film consists only of the most minor variations on slasher standards, and while I’m happy there are any variations on screen at all, it really makes little difference if character type A dies ten minutes earlier than usual in a slasher, at best drawing the script from boring to perhaps mildly interesting, with none of the changes to the usual clichés eventually leading anywhere worth going.

So there’s not enough to recommend See No Evil 2 as a revisionist slasher, and at the same time, while it is always nice to look at, it is by far not viscerally exciting enough to work as a traditional slasher. The killings are perfunctory, the suspense scenes too obvious, and worst of all, Jacob Goodnight is just not a very threatening killer, lacking the archetypal power that makes the Shape or even Jason so long-lived. Instead, it’s a big guy who randomly slaughters people and from time to time flashes back to his mummy and rambles a little about sin.

It’s just not enough, which is my problem with the whole of See No Evil 2 – there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it to exist at all.

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