A gory and well executed follow up just premiered on Netflix. It has strong characters a deep lore, and wild bloody horror violence. If that sounds like your cup of tea then you might have as much as I did.
Picking up immediately following the first film, this sequel follows Deena and her brother Josh trying to lift the witch’s curse that has laid over their town of Shadyside for hundreds of years. They seek out the sole survivor of the witch’s last attack which happened in the summer of ‘78.
The survivor is played by Gillian Anderson. She is a traumatized recluse who reluctantly tells her story to these desperate kids. The film flashes back to her story of that fateful summer night at summer camp.
One thing I really appreciate about both of these movies is the strong character work. These movies do a great job of making me genuinely care about these people. Sadie Sink is very charming as the rebellious Ziggy. Newcomer Emily Rudd is great as Cindy, the good girl trying to hide her past. Ted Sutherland does a nice job as a kid struggling to carry a legacy. I like these characters. I love the performers.
They’re a lot more active than the classic slasher film victims. They are trying to solve the mystery of the curse. They are trying to survive. They are fighting off evil forces. They aren’t just running around in their underwear waiting to get killed.
Speaking of getting killed, good grief people get killed in this movie!!!!! The violence is gruesome, brutal, and gnarly. The killers weapon of choice in this film is an axe, and yeesh the things an axe can do to a person are on full display here. This movie doesn’t cut away when the murderer swings his axe. The movie shows us in full detail exactly where the axe lands and what it does. Technically the special effects on display are fantastic. As for audience enjoyment, your mileage may vary. If you’re squeamish you won’t appreciate this. I had a good time with it. The violence ups the danger because we know that none of these characters are safe.
I liked this one more. It has more scares in it. It has more genuine tension buildup. It has a nice escalation to the finale. It also deepens the method behind this evil witch and her curse. I find myself drawn into this story more and more. I’m excited to find out how it concludes next week.
This installment doesn’t have the same stylization or wild filmmaking energy as the first. It settles in for a more classically styled horror extravaganza. It has solid editing and camera work, but doesn’t over indulge in the neon soaked quick cuts of the first film.
My other issue is the tone. Some of the film feels like it was written for kids. The inter town conflict can feel a little over the top in an after school special kind of way, and this young adult feeling can clash with the sex, drugs, and violence of the rest of the film. it’s not a huge issue or a deal breaker. It just threw me off a few times.
Overall I think this is a stronger follow up to the first and a great lead into the final part of the trilogy coming out next week. Again, why are they releasing these in July and not during October? I don’t know. But I am enjoying it.
It is my cup of tea. A-