WWE Studios output has been a mixed bag when you look at it because for every decent Thriller (The Call), surprisingly great Horror (Oculus) or surprisingly fun offering, there is a drab actioner like The Marine franchise or a terrible family film like The Chaperone. However with this sequel, WWE is returning to its (at one point) most financially successful (if critically panned) film, in 2006 slasher See No Evil. See No Evil was the first film outing for wrestler Glenn Jacobs (known to fans as Kane) as sharp nailed psycho Jacob Goodnight and while the film was hardly great, it was a pacey enough offering, if undistinguishable from the copious films of the slasher genre. And therein is an issue that carries over with the talented Soska Sisters’ sequel.
The problem with See No Evil 2 is really pretty basic- the excitement. The film is nowhere near as terrible as many would predict; it has a grimy aesthetic befitting of Halloween 2 (1981), some decent action scenes and a genuinely refreshing finish. Sadly before those final 15 minutes kick in, the pace is deadly slow and the kills, scares and performances distinctly fluctuant between average and below par. After making an impact with Dead Hooker in a Trunk and their disturbing dysmorphia Horror American Mary, it seems a shame that the Soska’s newest film seems to pull back from achieving its potential. The setting is there, the cast are there and the talent is indeed there but all of it seems to be holding back and as a result the sequel feels more like bog standard stalk n’ slash than violent fun.
Jacobs handles the action well (so he should considering his in-ring abilities), while the actual verbal acting is left to American Mary’s Katharine Isabelle and the Halloween franchises Danielle Harris mostly. Sadly the rest of the cast are mostly forgettable next to them- with Michael Eklund being massively underused in particular. There obviously needs to be some leeway with slasher films when reviewing their efficiency but even with that in mind, See No Evil 2 doesn’t deliver the menace of the biggest movie maniacs like Myers, Kruger or Voorhees…nor is it anywhere near as fun.
The story has logical flaws (why the mask Jacob?) and a lot of plodding moments before arriving and delivering on the climax. There is some fun to be had in said ending and certain beats throughout but this is a massively over familiar story. The efficient moments are sadly not enough to quite save this disappointing sequel, which never really goes all out to stand out from the crowd. The most frustrating thing is that the ability was there but the guts of the Soska’s best work seems diminished in this watchable but ultimately forgettable procedural in run, stab, kill. Horror tactics