MEATHOOK MASSACRE 2
Director: Dustin Ferguson
Year of release: 2017
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 70 minutes approx.
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "You don't have to go to Texas for a massacre".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Set ten years on from the original, the Meathook killer is still at large within rural Nebraska with no sign of either himself or his farmhouse butchers shop ever having been found by local police. Now going by the name of Bubba, the fiend is soon up to his old tricks in utilising his trusty hook to aid him in killing and dismembering unfortunate motorists passing through the area. No longer operating alone however, Bubba is now joined by his equally psychotic extended family whom have all taken refuge in some sort of underground cavern located not too far from the murder site of ten years ago.
Hearing about a new wave of suspicious disappearances the brother of one of Bubba’s previous victims decides to take matters into his own hands and do some investigative work. Of course it all proves to be a huge mistake as his hopes of avenging his fallen sister while bringing the infamous Meathook killer to justice only serve to lead him into the lions den.
Good points: *In comparison to its predecessor this effort has a bit more going on it terms of the script with the characters given more dialogue to work with than before. It’s still very light on story compared to most other films but it’s better than what went before with there at least being a lengthy phone conversation this time between the Dan character and his Mother as well as well as some talking parts with the newly introduced characters of Bubba’s family. These characters come across fairly well (as far as these micro budget films go anyway) and they all do a fair job of coming across as a crazed feral bunch.
Director/writer Dustin Ferguson has secured actresses Dawna Lee Heising and Deborah Dutch who have some fame in the realm of very low budget horror/B movies so fans of this type of cinema may get a kick out of seeing them.
*Maintaining his role as the main killer the newly christened Bubba has an okay appearance. He looks the same as in the original but that’s no bad thing and seeing that I’ve not reviewed that it bears touching on as a positive here. He’s a bald headed fellow clad in a black trousers and a white shirt combination together with what’s supposed to be a TCM inspired skin type mask covering his face. It definitely has a bargain basement feel to it but it’s reasonable in that some effort to give him a distinct look has at least been made and I’ll take this any-day over a completely off camera killer or one with no mask at all.
*Thankfully this time the viewer isn’t subjected to as much Dragonsclaw music which was something that dominated the original often at the expense of dialogue. So prominent was it in number one that the film came across as a vehicle to promote the band more than anything else. The music itself didn’t sound bad at all in fairness but there was just far too much of it and rock music is not what I or probably anyone else watches a slasher for. Here the soundtrack is more restrained and feels like it’s been turned down a notch. As a personal bonus the “Into its eyes” chase sequence song I actually rather liked.
*The underground cavern where the bizarre family hold sway is an interesting looking lair and is probably a step up from the more routine farmhouse type setting seen last time. Cut into orange sandstone type rock its visually striking and it helps the film stand out a bit. With this franchise borrowing very heavily from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films it’s probably inspired by the similar setting seen in TCM 2 so fans of that film may also appreciate this homage.
Bad Points: *The film kicks off with a recap of events from the original and it’s something which goes on for far too long. I’d say it drags on for around ten minutes. I thought the original was pretty terrible so for a newcomer to the franchise maybe this recap would be good as it saves them the trouble of bothering with that with all the events of note shown again here anyway. For those like myself however who did sit through the first movie this makes for a very boring opening which feels like a waste of time. It has a filler feel to it, a tactic to pad out the running time.
*The deaths are very poor mostly either happening off camera and for those that are shown you can barely see anything anyway. As bad as they are they may as well be off camera as well. With that being said it should come as no surprise that there’s hardly anything in terms of blood or special effects throughout the movie.
*Spoilers: A silly unrealistic plot point was how easily Dan seemed to stumble across Bubba and company while out in the region doing his investigating. If he were able to find them so easily then surely the police with more in the way of man power available would have been able to do so as well back when they searched the area years ago? I guess you could argue that they began hunting Dan as soon as he entered the area so they wanted to be found but the random hiker came across the cavern super easily as well so it can’t have been particularly well hidden.
Another small niggle was that during the news report that alerted Dan to the latest murders it was mentioned that the car of those reported missing had been found with scratch marks believed to come from a hook down the side. Earlier on though back when we were seeing these people attacked Bubba didn’t seem to do anything to the vehicle. Seeing that it was mentioned later you’d think it would be common sense to briefly show Bubba running his hook along the paintwork of the car during the attack. Otherwise why bother mentioning it later?
*Spoiler: I was quite confused with how the Bre character from the first film who was last seen swinging from a meat hook and presumably very much dead was in fact alive and well in this instalment. Not only that but she’s now living with Bubba and the group seemingly as part of the family. It would have made more sense had they have captured the surviving girl from the first film instead. If so it could have been said that she awoke from the catatonic state mentioned at the beginning and they then kidnapped her so to prevent her revealing their location. Instead bringing back a character presumed dead tossed up too many unanswered questions. I must confess I’ve not yet seen the latter three films in the franchise so perhaps it’s explained later on.
*The film does copy from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre a bit too much to the point where it leaves homage and becomes more of a rip off at times. The wall of text opening narrative for example and the skeleton at the dinner table felt a bit too close to the much more well known franchise. This was probably worse and more noticeable in the original however as it’s a bit more restrained here with a few more of its own ideas thrown in.
*In several places the picture either shifts to black and white or the colours become horribly washed out like an overexposed photograph. I think it’s supposed to be artistic as I recall something similar in another Dustin Ferguson film Camp Blood 5 but I just found it to be an annoyance.
Verdict: The kindest thing I can say about this is that at least it’s a step up in a quality from the truly dire original. The first entry was quite possibly the worst film I’ve ever seen so this isn’t saying much but with this one more effort has been made with the script at least which makes it slightly more watchable. The plot is still really bare bones though and needs considerable work. It’s close to the bottom of the barrel and doesn’t come even remotely close to cutting the mustard.
One thing to note is that I did actually rather like the third film which serves as a prequel. I think that had a different writer/director so that may have been why but it’s a franchise which seems to be improving as it goes.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Bald guy who picks up hitchhiker: Dragged out of car and killed off camera. Slumped body seen later.
2)Woman who picks up hitchhiker: Same as above.
3)Dragonsclaw concert guy #1: Runs into Bubba outside and is slashed with hook.
4)Dragonsclaw concert guy #2: Drugged by Aunty Deb and then attacked by Bubba and the other son. I think he may have been hung on a hook later.
5)Hiker: Foot caught in bear trap. Later hung up and slashed in the neck area with a hook.
6)Dan: Caught by surprise in his car by Bre and stabbed with a small knife.