First I must say I didn’t see See No Evil. See I was slightly put off by the fact that it not only starred wrestler Glenn Jacobs aka Kane as the main villain but was produced by WWE Films. Although acting is a major part of modern wrestling as we know it I wasn’t too sure that either element made for a great new horror franchise.
It seems however audiences didn’t agree with me and its reasonable performance in cinemas and on DVD around the world has led us here to the sequel starkly and simply entitled See No Evil 2. What is interesting is the involvement of the Soska sisters who co-direct the film, their first feature after American Mary made them a horror household name.
The premise is a good one set directly after the slaughter of the first film we are introduced to Amy (the amazing Danielle Harris), Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) and their boss Holden (Bates Motel and The Call’s Michael Eklund) who all work at the city morgue and whose slow night is about to turn into a graveyard shift in every sense of the word.
As the bodies arrive, including that of the psychopathic serial killer who caused all the carnage Jacob Goodnight (Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs) Seth tells Amy whose birthday it happens to be that he is happy to take care of them all leaving her and her friends, who have just arrived at the morgue, to party it up.
As you can probably guess Goodnight is actually wide awake and quickly starts dispatching Amy’s buddies and work mates one by one in the dark, quiet confines of the creepy mortuary leaving the survivors trapped and desperate to defeat the seemingly unstoppable menace before he sends them to sleep permanently
See No Evil 2 starts strong and the collected cast are all good especially Danielle Harris and the brilliant Katharine Isabelle who not only appeared in American Mary but also Hannibal among other things. These two solid female characters who are both funny, cleaver, bolshie and resilient take up all the audience’s attention and rightly so making for a more interesting dynamic that the usual slasher at first and the Soska sisters influence in both these roles is obvious.
As far as the look and style See No Evil 2 is well made and well done and the jumps and scares build up reasonably well with the focus more on the emotional impact of each kill rather than tons of cool blood and guts slayings with no real effect. That’s not to say there are not gory moments or nasty deaths it’s just they are less frequent and slower to be revealed making for more tension at times all be it at the sacrifice of fun and excessive horror entertainment.
The interest in the psychological side extends to Goodnight himself who we see constantly battling with his inner demons, flooded with flashbacks of the mental turmoil suffered at the hands of his mother and haunted by the terrible crimes he has committed all from the first film.
Jacobs handles these scenes well transforming Goodnight into more than a monster in a mask although as always this sympathy shtick is a dangerous game to play as any connection we feel with the psycho killer lessens the climax and empathy we have for the remaining few he hasn’t killed yet causing confusion as to where the film wants are loyalties to lie.
The Soska sisters enthusiasm and love of horror is evident throughout See No Evil 2 and the film combines all the elements you would expect from a slasher sequel with a few more interesting ideas thrown in as well. Including their refusal to elaborate on why Goodnight has returned save a few references by his mother to him being the hand of god. Perhaps the twisted sisters are saving any more information for a threequel who knows.
At times tongue in cheek the directing duo are cleaver not to take the film too far into parody and keep the tension high making the movie all the more satisfying and throwing in a few curve balls along the way that audiences definitely wont see coming.
WWE films have proven with Leprechaun: Origins that they are more interested in making good horror films than using their wrestler’s fame to make cheap and badly made cash in’s and bringing the Soska sisters onto See No Evil 2 cements that commitment to quality making this a movie for much more than just wrestling fans.