Thursday, October 29, 2015

Film Review: See No Evil 2 (2014)

See No Evil 2 (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...a very generic and contrived slasher."

After the massacre at the Blackwell Hotel, the dead bodies of the victims and the main suspect, Jacob Goodnight (Kane), are delivered to a morgue...

See No Evil 2 follows Amy (Danielle Harris), Seth, and their boss Holden as they work the night shift at the morgue. As Amy prepares to depart for her birthday celebration, Holden receives a call about the bodies being delivered. So, Amy decides to cancel her plans and help out. To her convenient surprise, her friends decide to surprise her at the morgue and celebrate with her – her friends include her brother Will, Will's secret admirer Kayla, and couple Tamara (Katharine Isabelle) and Carter. While celebrating, though, Jacob Goodnight awakens and begins to slaughter everyone. That's the plot. It leads to a very predictable and even dragged out ending.

See No Evil 2 offers some decent suspense here and there, a few grizzly death scenes, and a forgiving pace and runtime – it doesn't really feel bloated until the end. This combination makes for some easy-viewing – I suppose you can call it a time-slasher, right? (You know, like a time-killer? I suppose both work, but...) The environment felt a little underutilized, especially since it sticks to mostly halls and rooms with little detail, but it's refreshing to see something a little different. Anyway, I think that's everything I liked about this film in a nutshell. Now that I've got that out of the way, let me tell you what's wrong.

See No Evil 2 is a very generic and contrived slasher. For many, this might not be an issue just because we've grown accustomed to it – it's what most slasher have become today. Although I can tolerate it, it doesn't mean it's not a noteworthy flaw. For example, the plot contrivances (and/or plot holes) stick out like a sore thumb – the writers didn't even try to mask them. It's so convenient that no detectives or reporters arrive for what should be a massive case – it's a mass murder! It's so convenient that none of the characters actually try to escape – they don't think about the windows until the end! It's so convenient that Jacob Goodnight can smash through reinforced doors, but can't break through some measly iron bars. Really? There are so many of these eye-rolling moments in this movie, someone thought I was having a seizure while watching it!

Also, Jacob Goodnight seems to walk whenever his victims are in his line of sight, then instant-transmission whenever it's convenient. I wanted to say this was a cool throwback, but, with the plethora of plot contrivances, I don't think it was meant to be a homage. Although the hollow plot is forgiving and tolerable, the characters are weak – most of them are very generic and one-dimensional. I didn't mind considering the genre, but I did feel like Tamara was a huge disappointment. I guess she was supposed to be the comic-relief, but she came off as annoying. Her character tries to say something funny for every single line in the film.

The acting is a little better. I like Danielle Harris in the lead role and Kane does well as the powerful serial killer. Most of the supporting cast isn't half-bad, either. Well, like her character, I thought Katharine Isabelle was flawed. I suppose most of her performance issues come from her character, but she really seemed way overdone in this role. She wasn't funny and her attempts at humor really broke what could have been an ominous atmosphere. The special effects are great – I always admire when filmmakers opt for more practical effects. The film is directed by the Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia Soska, and written by Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby. In this case, I like the Soska Sisters' style and they can conjure some decent frights, but the writing holds this film back. All of the plot contrivances and holes, the hollow characters and generic plot points... all of this makes the film's horror less effective.

Overall, See No Evil 2 is a mediocre slasher. The film offers some moderate suspense, some jolting death scenes, and a refreshing environment, but suffers from its flimsy writing and an atmosphere-breaking performance. It doesn't really leave an impression of dread or terror. In fact, thinking back, none of the deaths were as shocking as one might expect – it's rather tame for the genre, really. Still, if you love slashers and need to kill 80 or so minutes, this isn't the worst you can do – that still belongs to Seed 2.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sex.

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