Movie Review – See No Evil 2

film, Reviews

April 27, 2015

One day you will die.

There’s a saying that runs that only two things are unavoidable – death and taxes. Taxes are something that we’ve made up as a society, and they’ll fade with us. Death, on the other hand? Wherever there’s life, there’s death. No matter what we do, no matter what we accomplish, one day all of us will simply stop.

No living thing can escape from this. No living thing can get away from this. One day, it all ends and we face whatever comes next – if anything. It’s one of the biggest fears that we all share as living people. Entire philosophies, religions, and cultures have been forced to address this simple thing, this weird process by which we will all some day stop.

It scares most of us, this ending. We use it to threaten one another, both in jest and in earnest. We use the threat of death to teach our young, and have from our earliest days. Stories of the boogeyman, of things that go bump in the night, of the nameless specter that we dress up in a thousand different ways to mask the true terror that waits for us all, that sudden stop.

Pictured: Avoiding the rush.

Pictured: Avoiding the rush.

Slasher movies were based around this concept. Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees were literal manifestations of death – forces that could not be stopped or reasoned with, violence that could not be withstood but did follow certain rules. They attacked the young for being young, punishing youth for rejecting the morality of an older generation, which is why the few survivors left in their wake were always “pure.”

But the promise of purity as safety? That’s a lie. Any old fashioned definition of purity is not going to protect you from death; that promise is the last dying infliction of an older generation who can see death and wants their children to do what they think is best.

We all die, but that doesn’t mean that all of us have lived.

Over the past month we’ve looked at two feature films directed by the Soska Sisters, Dead Hooker in a Trunk and American Mary. We’ve done this because they’re some pretty amazing films with some pretty intense themes, an unblinking glare that meets the gaze of terror without flinching. The Soska Sisters have eschewed tradition, have carved a world for themselves and defined their own sort of purity, and the world is a better place for it.

And that brings us to the third of the Soska Sisters’ feature films, See No Evil 2. Produced by WWE Films, the first See No Evil was a rather tepid affair that was notable only for the casting of Kane, who turned in a good performance in a paint-by-numbers gore-fest. It was fun, certainly, but it was still sound and fury that meant, well, nothing.

Not so much with See No Evil 2.

This movie picks up where the last one ended, with the body of the monstrous Jacob Goodnight being carried to a morgue for autopsy. One of the morticians on staff is celebrating her birthday but is asked to stay and help deal with the flux of bodies being carted in following what should be Jacob’s final massacre.

Jacob, of course, is not really dead. He is an avatar of death, a force that cannot be stopped or reasoned with. He is violence that cannot be withstood, but unlike other similar monsters, he follows no rules. He is unrelenting, respecting nothing as he stalks his prey and murders everyone. He is unblinking, unmerciful, and honest – no one is going to escape him, and any thought to the contrary is a lie.

Favorite Mortal Kombat Character: Scorpion.

Favorite Mortal Kombat Character: Scorpion.

Every performance is marked by that same stark honesty. Death is coming, and when the people involved in this story realize it they rage and fight and scream. They do everything they can to survive, and you never question their will to survive or their intelligence in what they attempt. No one here gives into idiocy for the sake of expediency. There’s not a moment where you think that one character wouldn’t do a thing because that goes against their character.

And that’s a gift we can thank the cast, directors, and writers for equally. The writers clearly cared about this story, and approached it from a position of integrity. These characters feel like people, flawed but certain, young but sure of themselves. The actors give each of these characters life, committing to blind faith and hope in one another, even in the face of the inevitable.

It makes their deaths all the more tragic.

The Soskas, of course, add their usual flair to a very tight script. They paint scenes with vibrant shadows and a creeping sense of dread that pays off when the blood starts splattering and no one escapes. There’s never any pretension of anyone getting out, or anyone being protected by some veneer or mortality; death comes for everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what they may or may not have done.

It’s right there in the title. No one can see evil when there’s no one left to see it. Jacob Goodnight leaves nothing in his wake save for the horror of aftermath, for the people that come in after he’s left. No one he comes in contact with can possibly survive him.

And that’s the power of the slasher movie. That’s why we watch them year after year, decade after decade. That’s why we love them; when they’re done right there’s a sense of honesty to them, an absolute truth that whispers underneath the gore and monstrousness. Yes, the victims rage and fight, but in the end everyone finds the same release, the same escape, the same moment that makes us all equal: that sudden stop that marks the end.

In short...

The Good: The tight script, great performances, killer direction, and brilliant lighting. The complete lack of pretension when it comes to who gets out and who doesn’t. The brutality of it all, if you’re in to that sort of thing. This movie is more nightmarish than beautiful, but it is unrelentingly nightmarish and thoroughly enjoys being so.

The Bad: We mentioned in our American Mary review that the Soskas have no time for bullshit morality. The same holds true here; there’s some people that aren’t going to like that, but screw those people.

The Verdict: One of the best slasher movies of the past decade. If you like the genre, you owe it to yourself to see this.

Read article


Movie Review: American Mary

film, Reviews

April 13, 2015

There’s a guy I know that gets very upset when he looks at the modern world.

It’s hard to blame him. There’s people that think that Gamergate is seriously about ethics, as opposed to being about some jilted idiot getting revenge on a girl who dumped him, and a bunch of idiots jumping on his band wagon. Except…

“It’s totally about ethics,” he says. “It’s about ethics in gaming journalism.”


Read article


Movie Review – Dead Hooker in a Trunk

film, Reviews

April 1, 2015

Dead Hooker in a Trunk.

That’s a hell of an evocative title, especially considering the actual state of the hooker in question, but the events that whirl up around her make this trip worth it. Let us be straight, right from the start: this is very much a b-movie, a passion product shot on no budget but made workable from an inversion of tropes, a completely insane narrative, strong performances, and a short sojourn into madness that viewers may not recover from.


Read article


Bi-Monthly B-Movie: Orc Wars and Ninja Shadow of a Tear

film, Reviews, Showcase

March 25, 2015

Welcome to Bi-Monthly B-Movie, an article where we look at the very best of the very worst movies we can get our grubby paws on. We’re aiming for the sorts of things made by studios you’ve never heard of, and starring people you don’t want to. Why are we looking at these films? They’re fun to heckle. Just ask the Gentleman Hecklers, who are professionals. For those looking for a more amateur experience, or some light (very light) entertainment, these are the very best in quality.

Ranking comes in five categories, but they’re a little skewed because these movies are never good. Never, ever, good. Well, rarely. Still, acting, direction, sound design, script, and entertainment are things that these movies presumably have, so we figure they’ll be noted using a single symbol that can be broken into four pieces, like so: LMM Tree of Life One Quarter,  LMM Tree of Life HalfLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters, and LMM Tree of Life.

We’ll provide links to Amazon for these movies. We’ll also misquote some things we heard in these movies. Feel free to reply with your own quotes should you suffer through these films. We’ll pick a winner every couple weeks, and send you an e-prize.

Everyone on board? Cool.


Read article


Kingsman: The Secret Service [Review]

film, Reviews

February 13, 2015

In the last two weeks I’ve seen Kingsman: The Secret Service twice. I’ve also written roughly five drafts of reviews for it, too. Why so many, and why has only one ever made it on to the site? Well, because Kingsman is a GD overload.


Read article


Hector and the Search for Happiness [Movie Review]

film, Reviews, Uncategorized

January 30, 2015

hector-happyI readily admit that I’m a fan of clichés. I wouldn’t be able to tell you why, but when a review earns the right to fall under a cliché, for example: “life affirming,” I find joy in using the phrase. To be fair, it’s not often that I get to use clichés. I use the word “earn” to the fullest extent. For a film, such a tired phrase like “life affirming” from me, it needs to be something truly special.


Read article


John Wick [Movie Review]

film, Reviews

January 28, 2015

It’s been sort of an off-again, on-again year for action movies. We got Lucy (which got more hate than it deserved) and Taken 3 (which deserves all the hate it gets), but there wasn’t really an action movie that stood out last year. Nothing that felt visceral, that had that mad punch adrenaline that comes with a great action feature.


Read article


Movie Review – Assault on Arkham

film, Reviews

January 27, 2015

Last week, we talked about how Justice League – Throne of Atlantis was a very pretty but ultimately forgettable movie. The animation, character designs, and voice acting were all about perfect, but the story made little to no sense and the character arcs were largely illogical or downright insulting. Worse, the movie didn’t seem to know who it was targeting with the brutal murder happening everywhere and the simplistic slapdash excuse for writering.


Read article


Taken 3 [Review]

film, Opinion, Reviews

January 21, 2015

tak3n-posterWhen the original Taken released back in 2008 it was, for the most part, a sleeper hit that became an instant cult-classic. Fans of Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Lock Out) probably knew it was going to be something special though, considering the Writer/Director’s previous works. It was a film that offered Liam Neeson renewed stardom and spawned a resurgence of the classic action revenge-fuelled film genre (The Equalizer and John Wick most recently).

Personally I feel like cult-hit action films should probably be stand-alone features… but the “brilliant” money-centric minds in Hollywood would beg to differ, and so regardless of good taste one of the best pieces of action film in the last decade received two more (completely unnecessary) follow-ups. Based on the success of the third instalment, it’s likely to be the last of the franchise as well. (more…)

Read article


Whiplash [Review]

film, Reviews

January 20, 2015

WHIPLASH+onesheetWhiplash might be the hardest movie that I’ve ever had to sell anyone on the premise of. However, one of the benefits of having – in my own humble opinion – a pretty good track record with recommending film for friends, I don’t have to do much. If you’re familiar with my prior reviews and feel like you’re inclined to give me the benefit, then let me say, straight up: Watch Whiplash.

For those of you whose trust I haven’t yet earned, let’s continue. (more…)

Read article