See No Evil 2
October 21, 2014
Nathan Brookes, Bobby Lee Darby
Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Glenn Jacobs as Jacob Goodnight
Danielle Harris as Amy
Katherine Isabelle as Tamara
Kaj-Erik Eriksen as Seth
Celan Simmons as kayla
Greyston Holt as Will
By Sean Decker
Inspired casting exists in See No Evil 2; The inclusion of horror veteran Danielle Harris and her considerable acting prowess lends some weight to the film, as does actress Katherine Isabelle, known as the title character in American Mary.
Auteur directors Jen and Sylvia Soska’s creative voices manage to elevate the script ofSee No Evil 2, a direct sequel to the 2006 WWE Studios film See No Evil, though fans of the twin filmmakers’ highly intelligent, subversive and daring work on hand in their previous (and celebrated) 2012 horror featureAmerican Mary will undoubtedly be disappointed. The fault isn’t their own; it lies in the script by first time feature screenwritersNathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby, who while effectively and refreshingly turn on its head one major trope of the slasher sub-genre, for the most toil in narrative cliché.
Taking a lead from Rick Rosenthal’s 1981 sequel to Halloween, See No Evil 2 kicks off the same night as the happenings in its predecessor, with a group of friends who pay a late-night visit to the city morgue to surprise their friend morgue attendant Amy (actress Danielle Harris) on her birthday. But the surprise is on them when the one-eyed corpse of brutal psychopath Jacob Goodnight (portrayed by the returning WWE wrestler Glenn “Kane” Jacobs) unexpectedly rises. From there on out, it’s basically a stalk and slash, with Goodnight methodically dispatching the assembled cast in an all too familiar game of cat and mouse.
Some inspired casting does assist. The inclusion of horror veteran Danielle Harris and her considerable acting prowess lends some weight to See No Evil 2, as does actress Katherine Isabelle. Far from portraying a character even remotely similar to her role of Mary Mason in the Soska sister’s multi-layered and thoughtful American Mary, Isabelle goes for the comedy here. Her intentionally overly animated and panicked delivery is played for laughs, and it works quite well. Actor Kaj-Erik Eriksen delivers too, turning in a grounded performance of a good man caught in an impossible situation. Also working is Kane’s reprisal of killer Jacob Goodnight. His presence fills the screen, both physically and otherwise, and this omnipresent threat creates the running tension required.
For fans of this sub-genre, and the grisly effects inherent, audiences won’t be disappointed. The combination of the special makeup effects supplied by Todd Masters, who previously worked with the Soskas on American Mary, and visual effects combine to deliver one particularly and shockingly gruesome moment, and while I’ll keep this spoiler free, it is altogether gasp inducing. Crisp editing and sound design further serve the onscreen mayhem.
The directorial duo, working along with director of photography Mahlon Todd Williams visually deliver. Lighting choices are inspired, and the subsequent fluorescent world in which See No Evil 2 plays out is a tangibly claustrophobic one. The Soska sisters use this to their advantage, directorially teasing us with a ‘what’s behind the corner’ approach, and in this their knowledge of the slasher sub-genre is readily apparent. Thusly, scripted scenes all too familiar are at times infused with the pair’s creative subversion, and others are quite simply artistically enlivened, from the dream-like crash of a shelf of formaldehyde jars to a final act tableau that smartly forces the audience to re-think the violence which they’ve just witnessed.
It’s in these moments that the Soska’s sure-fire hands can be felt.