First off, let me start this by explaining why I feel that See No Evil 2 meets the qualifications for a Hidden Gems addition. Judging by the excitement and anticipation I saw on social media leading up to the release of this movie, it might seem a little strange to consider this gem “hidden.”
But I remember watching the first See No Evil and not being able to find a single person who’d seen it; let alone liked it and wanted to discuss it. I wondered if my brother would always be the only person I knew besides myself who’d seen the movie.
So, between that, and the straight-to-DVD release, I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch to categorize this one as a Hidden Gem.
I’ll be honest. When the news first surfaced about this sequel, I was ecstatic. It was one of the rare situations where a sequel is announced and I didn’t have any “will it be as good as the first” reservations. To me, the first See No Evil was a standout, unique slasher movie and I had no doubt that I’d find the sequel to be just as good, just as unique, and just as “standout”.
I was wrong.
Don’t misunderstand; I really enjoyed the movie for what it was, and Kane’s performance as Jacob Goodnight was brilliant, but this movie had one big problem going for it: everything that made the first film so unique and enjoyable was removed or watered down to the point that it turned this movie into the basest, most generic of slasher movies.
Let’s start with the fact that, in the first film, once you find out all the information, it makes perfect sense that the movie took place in the hotel. That wasn’t the case for this film. Who throws a birthday party for someone at a morgue? Could they not have just had the party at someone’s house or met Danielle Harris’s character at a bar or something when she got off work? I would have bought that maybe Jacob followed them from the morgue to someone’s house and killed them off one by one there.
In the first movie, it made sense that everyone ended up at that hotel because the backstory was believable. A bunch of delinquents sent there on community service. I buy that. But using a birthday party as a convenient excuse to have a bunch of 20somethings at a city morgue is just….ridiculous. I don’t care if I work there myself; if my friends couldn’t come up with something better for a birthday party for me, then it’d be time to find some new friends.
There was pretty much zero plot in this movie, especially if you take away the paper thin “love story” (if one could even call it that) of Amy and Seth. It’s literally just scene after scene of run, chase kill, run, chase, kill.
Which would be fine for a casual horror fan who really does just come for the gore and blood. But the original See No Evil had a cool Moby Dick-esque backstory between the cop and Jacob Goodnight, and it had an underlying theme to it, with more and more coming out about the villain as the movie went on, along with a decent twist.
All of that is what was missing from this film. They tried to connect this one to the first one with Jacob having flashbacks from those previous events, but other than that the films don’t seem connected at all. It would have been clever to use the song from the original film (Jesus Loves The Little Children) during the flashbacks and other parts of the movie to keep the religion theme going. I think maybe they thought they were doing this with the few lines of dialogue that had Jacob talking about seeing the sin, but it simply fell flat.
I kept waiting for Jacob to pick one of the group (most likely a girl) to save,–especially since in a scene where he cried over his mother’s dead body, he didn’t seem all that interested in his mother’s point of view and in seeing the sin—like he did in the first one, but that never happened. One minute, he’s just as he was in See No Evil; a reluctant, struggling victim of his mother’s teachings; and the next he’s just as crazy as she is: seeing the sin in everyone but himself.
Go ahead. Watch the first movie, go back and watch See No Evil 2. And then see if you don’t find yourself scratching your head at how it feels like two completely unconnected, unrelated movies.
Final verdict? At the end of the day, this movie is still very much an enjoyable slasher. So if you go into it as a casual horror fan, or as someone who hasn’t seen the original, it’s really mindless, fun and entertainment. Even if you are a fan of the original like me, you can still enjoy it…as long as you clear your mind of any expectations you may go into it with.