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See No Evil 2 (Blu-ray Review)

See-No-Evil-2Looking back, See No Evil appears to be one of (if not THE) the last original slasher films to get a wide release.  Everything else in the subgenre following it looks to be big studio remakes.  This was the earlier days when Lionsgate was all about the horror.  The first film managed to almost double its budget, bringing some mild success.  However, no sequel came about.  Now, eight years later, here we are with the limited engagement but mainly VOD, straight-to-video release of its sequel.  Its interesting that Lionsgate was interested in going back after such a long gap from a film that did solid business but isn’t really looked back upon.  Maybe this was more WWE’s bidding since they just had another iconic horror villain come back with Leprechaun.  The best thing about this movie is that its being helmed by the up and coming Soska Sisters who have been making waves, working to become a powerful horror directing team.  This caught my eye actually more than this being the sequel to a pretty solid slasher.

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Film 

Happy Birthday, Amy!  You get to spend it working a late night at your job in…the morgue.  Directly following the events of the first See No Evil, the body of Jacob Goodnight and his slew of victims are being transported to the local morgue.  Amy’s friends don’t just let her spend a night with her coworkers and friends though.  They show up to get Amy’s party started (and keep theirs going)  in the morgue.  Of course Jacob Goodnight isn’t really dead though, just taking a nap, as he arises and continues improving the score on his death counter.  Amy and her friends are trapped, and not all will escape the shear force of Jacob Goodnight.

Off the bat, I had no idea that I was going to like this movie as much as I did.  Not only is the movie a bunch of fun, but its a really well made slasher film all around.  While I didn’t find the first one to be a bad movie (I think its ok), this is a pretty big improvement over it.  Just production merits aside, the Soska Sister really have a handle on the genre.  The movie has some beautiful photography it has no business having, and is paced absolutely perfectly.  They also throw in some insanely fun curve balls and surprises that play with your expectations and make this movie interesting instead of just some “round 2 with Jacob Goodnight and his murdering ways”.

I’m sure there will be some who are let down by the deaths in the film.  While there are some solid kills, none of them really go for any sort of over the top, wicked, brutal offing.  However, this movie has such good buildup and character work, that instead of some graphic over the top kill, you’re more or less bummed about a character getting bumped.  There is also a lot of fun this movie has with the art of the chase.  A good one comes when Amy’s wheelchair-bound boss tries to escape Jacob Goodnight and his chained spear we saw him take kindly to in the previous film.  And the deaths don’t start piling up right away.  The movie actually has a full on first act before any of this starts happening.  We get to meet our characters, spend time with them, learn about them and enjoy hanging with them.  The film is about them in our first act and it never feels like “tick tock tick tock…c’mon lets kills these a-holes already”.  See No Evil 2 takes its time to get to what you’re wanting from it, but you’re never bored leading up to the first death.

Giving me double the pleasure, Danielle Harris and Katharine Isabelle team up to co-star in this effort.  Its incredible how little Danielle is always so believable and fully capable in being a badass.  I’ve never seen her in a film where I questioned it or ever thought once about it.  Its an incredible strength she’s been able to make more than a career out of.  Katharine Isabelle is terrific here and definitely was throwing it back to Margot Kidder in Black Christmas.  I adored this performance from her.  She’s pretty much drunk for most of the film, and she is never over the top, totally believable, and incredibly hilarious.  WWE’s Kane returns to his Goodnight role (who now dons the obligatory slasher mask), and he really does a pretty outstanding job.  He’s imposing and just a natural at this big, burly serial killer stuff.  Plus unlike a lot of his colleagues, he has lines to spout too.  And the guy is very capable of delivering them with this odd, sort of wild card menace.

My hat goes off to the Soska Sisters and See No Evil 2, a movie I wasn’t dreading or not wanting to see but one that I didn’t expect to have this much of a good time with.  The kills aren’t over-inventive or ultra gory (Yes, there’s still plenty of blood, but if you see it you’ll know what I mean), but due to good characterization they hurt and count more because of a developed personality leaving the movie.  Overall this is just a really well made slasher movie with directors and other that have not only an appreciation for the genre, but also a knowledge of how to make it work and be able to do their own thing with it.  Eight years later felt kind of like “why are they bothering with this”, but once I saw the film I see it was totally worth it.  Can we get the Soska Sisters to return for a third Jacob Goodnight rampage, please?

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  This digital picture is really impressive.  The image is sharp and crystal clear.  Its friendly image and one that’s appearance ranges from lifelike to very “movie” looking if that makes any sense.  Yes, some of that is in the way it was shot, but it looks like its translated rather well here in this picture.  Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Chelan Simmons and the lovely Kane all look lovely.

Depth: Look no further than the wheelchair chair scene to find an example of how three dimensional this movie looks.  It really could have be converted to that format pretty seamlessly and I wonder if that wasn’t maybe a thought while they were shooting this movie.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and work well to add to the spookiness.  There is not a lot of crushing going on either.  There’s a terrific scare moment with Katharine Isabelle and her boyfriend character in a dark room continuously striking matches to see that is beautifully rendered on this release.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are rich and bold.  The blood pops as it should, reds do in general.  Fabric, objects and surfaces with a vibrant colors bounce right off the screen as well.  At times this film looks inspired by Italian horror and those filters translate rather neatly.

Flesh Tones:  Flesh tones are lifelike and full of detail.  Kane’s face looks rather spectacularly spooky and the smooth faces of the attractive cast is confirmed in high definition.  Danielle Harris I swear ages at a much slower rate than the rest of the world as there’s not a wrinkle or aging blemish on her face.

Noise/Artifacts:  Whistles are clean and so is this image.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  Oh yeah!  This track is rocking.  Jacob Goodnight ravages this morgue, bashing crashing loudly through this track.  There’s a fine separation of score, voice and effects wonderfully orchestrated in the mix.  Volume levels are set to have you jabbed at and jump scared perfectly.  Crank this one up, its a fun time.

Low Frequency Extension: Goodnight’s attacks and many intentional score hits are wonderfully enhanced by your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Not a whole lot going on from the rear aside from the typical ambiance and score.  The front speakers see a lot of right and left action as well as wonderfully place sounds in accordance to where they are on screen with volumes matching effectiveness.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp, loud and clear.

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Extras 

See No Evil 2 comes with a nice little array of extras and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Twisted Twins: S0ska Sisters (HD, 10:44) – A nice little featurette on the background of the films’ directors.  The actors on the film discuss how great it is to work with them and how there just aren’t enough female horror directors out there.

Autopsy: Dissecting The Kills (HD, 8:46) – The curtain is pulled back as we get to see the plotting and production on how 4 of the film’s murders came to “life” onscreen.

Kane’s Goodnight: An Icon Reborn (HD, 7:40) – A little discussion of cast and the directors on the career of Kane through wrestling and what he brings the killer Jacob Goodnight.

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Summary 

Yeah, I did not expect to like this movie as much as I did.  I don’t think I’m going to be alone on this once more people start checking it out.  Bummer this couldn’t have been a theatrical adventure, but I get it as to why it went this route.  Lionsgate’s Blu-ray boasts an awesome transfer and stellar audio track.  There are some solid extras that aren’t going to take up hours of your time but provide plenty of good info and interviews.  If you’ve got the first film in your collection, you HAVE to slide this one up next to it.  I think those who haven’t seen the first film could still enjoy this one on its own (there are flashbacks and an explanation about the goings on of the first movie).  Definitely see this movie, and at the right price point you should easily fork down the dollars to own this Blu-ray.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “See No Evil 2 (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Awesome!
    I’m so happy to see this one is decent and worth checking out!
    Big fan of the trio here: Katherine, Danielle and the Soska Sisters (the first and the latter pair from American Mary!)

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Those are the Soska Sisters in that last pic.

  3. Brandon Peters

    Why else do you think I chose that picture and used it to close out my review 😉