|Starring||Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, Emma Bellomy, Lewis Pullman, Damian Maffei|
|Release||4 MAY (UK) Certificate 15|
Fast-forward ten years, and we now have a belated sequel that retains all of its predecessor’s more banal elements, and has forgotten what made it remotely interesting. With the location for the stalk-and-kill switched up from holiday home to trailer park, this film immediately feels less personal and more unremarkable in showing us a family of four being tormented by three masked psychopaths. Then, as the family find opportunities to fight back against their attackers – surely helped by the fact that the teenage son is clearly in his mid-twenties – their masks start to slip a little. The untouchable assailants are shown to be entirely touchable; they now seem less like a mysterious nightmare, and more like just a crazy – but fallible – gang.
Elsewhere, this film suffers from all the worst of the genre’s most commonplace flaws. Every jump scare is telegraphed well in advance and stupid horror logic persists throughout: a woman shot in the stomach at point blank range with a shotgun is blown backwards, but still lives long enough to have a final exchange of words; while another character takes several moments to realise that he has a giant wooden beam sticking out of his abdomen.
Most frustratingly, none of the characters do what you want them to do in any given moment. They don’t run away when it would be easy to do so, they don’t stand and fight when they might as well, and everything they do, rather than being in their own best interests, is clearly for the benefit of a bloodlusting audience that just want to see axe fodder get from Safe Place A to Kill Zone B.
But such is the tradition of generic horror flicks. This one at least deserves an extra star for a visually interesting set-piece in an outdoor swimming pool, backlit by neon signage and set to the tune of Total Eclipse Of The Heart. Although, an homage to Urban Legend with some tongue-in-cheek fun during the "Turn around…" part of the song could have injected some much-needed self-aware humour into proceedings.
Overall though, it’s typical slasher-by-numbers stuff. No doubt loved by the audience it was made for, but it’s clear the film has abandoned the best qualities of the original film, which it has so obviously preyed/prayed upon.
See? That doesn’t work at all.