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  See No Evil 2 Murders In The Rude MorgueBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Stars: Glenn Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Chelan Simmons, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Greyston Holt, Lee Madjoub, Michael Eklund, Reese Alexander, Kelly-Ruth Mercier, Lynn Collar, Nancy Bell
Genre: Horror
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Amy (Danielle Harris) is a worker at a morgue where she is hoping to finish her shift tonight so she can meet her friends for a drink to celebrate her birthday. She has about ten minutes to go when a large corpse is brought in, and what she doesn't know initially is this body belongs to a serial killer called Jacob Goodnight (Glenn Jacobs) who has spent the evening murdering a bunch of innocent people. She soon finds out what has happened when the television news broadcasts a report, which means the morgue should be in for a busy night and she offers to stay on with the other two staff, one of them Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) who is secretly in love with her and would very much like her to stick around...

See No Evil was a slasher movie pretty obscure even by the standards of the twenty-first century, so it was a surprise when it was revived some years later for a belated sequel by the WWE filmmaking division who were making inroads into the movie world, placing their wrestlers in various low budget efforts. The worst of these by this point had been their tedious Leprechaun reboot, so it was a surprise to horror fans that they should hire those Twisted Twins the Soska sisters to helm what looked like a fairly unpromising proposition: after the cult success of American Mary, a veritable wallow in idiosyncratic and novel chills and spills, what were these two up and coming talents doing here?

Getting a paycheque, one presumed, but they did not set about See No Evil 2 as another job for hire before they could get back to what they really wanted to do, indeed their next project after this was also a WWE production, also shot in a brief fifteen days. On being given the script for what could have been the most dispiriting shocker imaginable, they ordered a rewrite so that both the female roles were made more valid, and that the audience would care more when the victims were inevitably offed, with the results that were not wholly welcomed by some horror diehards. Yes, they were messing with the formula, most blatantly in the final stages which turned at least two genre conventions on their respective heads, which did not go down entirely well.

That said, if you were confident enough to experiment with a tried and tested design, then where better to do it than a low budget horror flick? Most of this took place in a bunch of corridors, as cheap as you liked, as Amy finds a surprise party staged by her best friends in the morgue itself, which might not strike everyone as the most accomodating location. But it was the macabre the twins were dealing with - in an in-joke, the last image in the opening credits was of them both as post-autopsy cadavers, which should give some idea of their sense of humour - and Katharine Isabelle, star of American Mary, was let loose on the wacky character of Tamara where she could overact to her heart's content as a young lady much taken with the idea of having sex among the stiffs, so to speak.

That meant two scream queens in the same movie, and it had to be said Danielle Harris blossomed under the direction of the Soskas, honing her final girl persona to a fine point, now a past master (past mistress?) of the form. She even got to be the dream girl to the nerd character of Seth, and reciprocate when she realises what a nice guy he is, having stood up for her in the face of unrelenting and brutal evil: Jacobs wasn't required to do much more than fling his fellow cast members around, but you weren't seeking subtlety in your bad guys, and you assuredly didn't get it here. The setpieces may not have been the most ingenious, but they got the job done, and it was more the personality of the piece which counted, taking what was more or less a straight to video release and bringing welcome quirks to what never lapsed into lazy cliché regurgitation, even if it was lazy clichés this was dealing in. That the Soskas found something different to do, even if it was mostly trading in opposites, was testament to their value in a weirdly compassionate, "seize the day" film. Music by The Newton Brothers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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